Blog  /  Marriage  /  Five S.M.A.R.T. Choices to Protect Your Marriage on Facebook

Family Matters, Grace Filled Marriage, Dr. Tim Kimmel, Grace Based parenting

Facebook forces users to make choices the entire time they’re logged into the site.

Will you update your status or not? Should you comment on a FB Friend’s posted picture or not? Do you want to accept a Friend Request or not?

Unfortunately, without too much thought, some choices can have a devastating impact to the most important people in our lives.

A wife choosing to spend hours upon hours each day playing Farmville or browsing Profiles instead of spending time with her husband and kids can damage her marriage.

A husband choosing to move from reminiscing about old memories with an ex-girlfriend to using Facebook to rekindle their past romance can wreck his marriage.

As active married Facebookers who write and speak on social media and relationships, we’ve heard horrendous stories of marriages and families torn apart by Facebook-related activities due to a few bad choices made by a spouse.

What we have discovered is that protecting your marriage on Facebook is not just about making choices, it’s about making S.M.A.R.T. choices.

(1)    Set Safeguards With Your Mate – Discuss with your mate: What FB Friends, Pages and Groups are inbounds or out-of-bounds?  How much information about yourself and family is too much information?  Is either of you uncomfortable with potential FB Friends? Are any communication methods off limits?

Here are a few of our safeguards. First, keep correspondences with people of the opposite sex public by posting things on their Wall or commenting on their Status Updates.  Second, inform each other of Facebook emails from people of the opposite sex. And third, avoid chatting with people of the opposite sex.

Whatever the safeguards, be sure that you and your spouse agree on what is or is not acceptable for each other on Facebook.  A little bit of prevention can go a long way in safeguarding your marriage.

(2)    Make Wise Choices About Who You Friend – When first getting started on Facebook, finding FB Friends and accepting Friend Requests can be very exciting because you’re reconnecting with people from your past.  Ultimately, it is your decision to accept them into your social network.  They can be family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, associates, long-lost friends or past flames.  Once FB Friends are accepted, they see and view everything you post publicly and vice-versa.

One question we ask when requesting or accepting a FB Friend is, “would my spouse be comfortable with me being ‘friends’ with this person?”

Listen to your heart, and if you’re still not sure, ask your spouse.

(3)    Avoid Saying Negative Things About Your Spouse – A lot of banter, complaining, and sharing occurs when people post their Status Updates. It is common for FB Friends to whine about the weather, joke about a frustrating work issue or report on something new in their life.  But it is always uncomfortable when someone complains about their spouse or kids on Facebook.  While it may not seem like a big deal to the one posting, the majority of the readers don’t have enough context or information to know if something is a simple tease or an exasperated gripe.

When we started on Facebook, we made the decision not to post anything that would put each other down, complain about each other, or embarrass the other person in front of our FB Friends.

Typing is not the same as talking … so don’t use the keyboard in an attempt to resolve an issue. Talk it through in private!

(4)    Resist Feeling Something for Someone You Shouldn’t – A common pattern arises when reading a variety of news stories on Facebook-related infidelity.  A spouse starts chatting with someone of the opposite sex about their relationship woes.  Over time, the live chats turn to emails that turn to phone calls that turn to face-to-face meetings that turn to… you get the picture.  And when the adulterous relationship becomes public knowledge, the confiding spouse proclaims, “I never meant for this to happen!”

In the book, Not “Just” Friends, infidelity expert Shirley Glass writes that building too close of a relationship with someone online enters the danger zone “because it meets all three criteria that discriminate between a platonic friendship and an emotional affair: emotional intimacy…secrecy…(and) sexual chemistry…sexual contact is not a requirement for betrayal.”

We would rather learn from other people’s mistakes rather than repeating them.  That’s why we avoid discussing any of our relationship issues with people of the opposite sex or developing too close of an online confidant. And we definitely avoid being FB Friends with anyone we’re had some sort of an emotional or intimate past with.

The best way to avoid going down the slippery slope is to avoid climbing the hillside of opportunity in the first place.

(5)    Take Action by Unfriending Questionable Friends– Because you can’t judge a person by their profile picture, you may have regrets of becoming FB Friends with someone.  Their posts might be offensive or uncomfortable to you.  Or it may be that you have a FB Friend who sparks feelings in you and you find yourself looking at their profile often or looking for their next post. You may be chatting with them or flirting online with them.  Or your spouse may be uncomfortable with your being FB Friends with a past love interest.

Early in our Facebook experience, we were accepting Friend Requests from anyone and everyone. We quickly realized that that wasn’t smart and by unfriending and blocking anyone who could be a potential threat to our marriage!

Any relationship with someone else that jeopardizes your marriage is not a relationship worth keeping.

What choices will you make while on Facebook?  Real marriage threats do exist on Facebook.  Too many couples and families have experienced heartbreak, betrayal and break up because of a few bad choices by one person.

But by choosing to make S.M.A.R.T. choices, Facebooking husbands and wives can protect their marriage…online and in real time.

 

 

{Originally published in 2010}

Copyright © 2010 K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper source citation.

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K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky are social media relationship specialists who write and speak to help couples and families use common sense and healthy boundaries in this social media age. As co-authors of Facebook and Your Marriage (2010) and co-writers of many related articles, Jason and Kelli are regularly featured in newspaper articles, television and radio shows and podcasts. Their website (www.socialmediacouple.com) and Facebook Page are filled with helpful and practical tips on all things “techlationships”. The Krafskys have been married since 1994 and live in the Seattle area with their four children. You can contact them at techlationships@gmail.com.

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