Let me begin by warning you that this is probably my most controversial blog yet. I have been hearing so many things about Facebook and its role in marriage that I couldn’t help but share my thoughts on the subject.
The realization that Facebook has become a tool for meeting unmet needs is very evident to me now especially after hearing the story I am about to share with you. Recently, I was told about a married man who was contacted on Facebook by his sixth grade girlfriend. I must pause to emphasize the sixth grade part. When thinking about my sixth grade year I was a hot mess. I was light years away from who I am today; I loved wearing sweat suits and couldn’t even tell you my thoughts on any subject but the New Kids On The Block (please don’t judge me).
Ok, back to the situation at hand. This gentleman proceeded to tell me that this woman from his past contacted him and in the process began to discuss her failing marriage. She wanted to open a dialogue with him and proceeded to tell him that no one has been able to love her like he did. I pause again to remind you of my sweat pants wearing, NKOTB loving self. I was not even capable of understanding love in sixth grade, let alone making someone feel the most loved in their entire life. This made me start thinking about the intent of the conversation. This woman was looking to open a door to a conversation that would open the door to an opportunity that would open the door to a relationship that would open the door to trouble. Many may read this and find the story outlandish but the reality is that this is happening daily to many more people like this gentleman. There are many more stories like this that I have heard recently about people finding individuals from their past, and some from their present, who want to form this “Facebook relationship” creating an attachment outside of the boundaries of marriage.
The problem is that Facebook and other forms of social media make conversations like the one above seem harmless and have created the means to make these conversations readily available. If you think about what this woman said – that this gentleman was the only person who has made her feel loved – it is easy to see where this could feed an unmet need in both of them.
Sometimes situations present themselves that are designed as bait. This comment was designed for him to not only hear it but to lure him into a conversation that was headed in a very bad direction. Many situations causing the destruction of marriages have started in this very way. People have believed they are making a connection with an old friend or a current friend ultimately finding themselves going deeper and deeper into a “Facebook relationship” resulting in more than they bargained for.
So many individuals feel that their conversations via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and text are harmless. I come today to say that is totally wrong and exactly what the enemy wants you to believe about your behavior. These forms of communication have as much, or more, power than verbal, face-to-face conversation with a member of the opposite sex. Convincing ourselves that conversations happening online aren’t as detrimental, aren’t real, or aren’t a risk to our current relationships is not the truth.
I believe that if you are unable to have the conversation face-to-face in front of your spouse it is wrong, period. It is time that we take authority over our social media instead of letting social media take authority over our lives. We must guard our relationships with diligence and purpose.
The world and the enemy want nothing more to convince us that there is always something or someone better. This is not truth either. It is our responsibility to guard our hearts and our marriages. It is also our responsibility to ensure that we do not engage in conversations that could bring any doubts to our partner about the safety and security in the relationship.
If you know that Facebook or other social media channels are driving a wedge into your relationship, I strongly encourage you to deactivate your account. I encourage everyone to investigate the relationships, friendships, and conversations that take place over this form of media. If you would or could not have them in the presence of your spouse or closest friends, it’s time to make some changes.
A great source of resources and materials to not only help marriages that are in trouble or hurting but also to make your marriage even stronger is MarriageToday. Click here to watch the video “Affair-Proofing Your Marriage” by Jimmy Evans, founder of MarriageToday, which covers many of the topics in this blog. I utilize their resources for many of the couples that come to me for marriage counseling so they have something to take home and work on together in between sessions at my office.