A couple of years ago, I told my husband that I believed Facebook was the cause of the breakdown of many marriages. In that time span, I can tell you the names of seven couples whose relationship statuses have changed; and I may be forgetting a few. I am beyond shocked at some of the folks who have split, never believing for one second it would ever happen in their marriages.
Of course, Facebook is an inanimate object, so you understand I don’t mean the program itself. I do believe, however, that way too many people are getting their opinions about their life and their marriage from their “friends” on Facebook. Someone has a bad day and posts about it on Facebook, and all of sudden they receive all sorts of encouragement from “praying for you” to “let that scoundrel go!”
The opinions come in, and if your marriage is even a bit unstable or if you are feeling that your marriage is a bit stale, all of a sudden the suggestions to ditch the dude/dudette begin to foment. You look at your mate in a different light; you compare him/her to one of your “friends” and find them lacking. And before you know it, you have justified leaving that dirty, no-good, rotten spouse. Or maybe you have just decided they are boring, and you deserve better.
If you don’t believe me, you may want to read this article, which has some sad statistics. This seems to be occurring among both genders, by the way. Women aren’t the only ones being influenced by their circle of friends. I’ve been shocked as much by the guys stepping away from their marriages, as I have the gals.
This is concerning across the board, folks. It’s not just non-Christians who are being influenced by this trend. Christian folks are also falling prey to the trap of “the greener grass” syndrome they believe is to be found outside of their marriage. The institution of marriage is worth fighting for, and you may have to take drastic steps to preserve yours. I hold no degrees in counseling, but I do have some opinions on how to fight the Facebook kiss of death for your marriage.
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Your spouse should know everyone you talk to on Facebook—male and female. I have some friends who are male. I correspond with them on Facebook, and I tell my husband the conversations I have. If I wouldn’t say something to a man in front of my husband, I shouldn’t say it on Facebook.
2) Your spouse should feel safe, knowing that we would never make negative remarks about them to our friends—and basically the whole world—on Facebook. A momentary aggravation with a spouse can turn into brouhaha when others get involved. Marital matters should be kept off Facebook.
3) Compliment, compliment, compliment. Of course our spouses are human, but what I want the world to see about my knight is all the many positive things that he IS; not the occasional negative thing that he DOES.
4) If you feel that your marriage is more boring than those you read about on Facebook, do what is in your power to change it. Surprise is a fun element in a marriage. Surprise your spouse. And remember number three above. If a spouse is being true to their mate, you are seeing the wonderful things they do. You aren’t smelling their morning breath, picking up their socks for the millionth time, picking cups up from all over the house, etc. All marriage has its bumps. Do what you are able to smooth the bumps and create surprise.
5) Do everything you can to keep your marriage intact and moving in a positive direction, even if it means disconnecting from Facebook. Yes, seriously. If you want your marriage to be a good statistic, you will do whatever it takes, and sometimes that means getting away from the negative influences.
6) Get counseling TOGETHER, if possible. I understand; that can be expensive. Look around, call churches and find a pastor who has experience in counseling. Keeping your vows is worth whatever work you have to put into it to do so, even sharing your deepest hurts and fears with a stranger. Only not the unprofessional strangers on Facebook, and not without your spouse being involved.
I am not naive. I know that not all marriages will work out. I know that Facebook isn’t responsible for all marriage breakups. However, even 30% statistics (see article) is too many. Why would we let a group of folks—many of whom we have never met face to face—help us decide if our marriages are worth the effort or not? What are we thinking? WHERE IS OUR COMMON SENSE?
First and foremost, if you are a Christian, respond like a Christian. Take your troubled emotions to God. Search His Word for encouragement and guidance. Make the hard decisions. If your spouse is being faithful, if your spouse is not threatening your life, if your spouse has kept their vows, even if it isn’t what you want to do at the moment, DO THE RIGHT THING. You will be rewarded for that. Understand that God is interested in your obedience first; happiness comes with being obedient.
Dear non-religious friend, at the end of the day, the advice of the world will leave you alone and empty. Consider how you wish to look back on your life in your later years. If you don’t want anyone to be in control of your life and tell you how to live it—even God—will you be filled with regret because you did let others influence you, while you ignored that voice inside that screamed against their advice? Ultimately, you will be left alone to deal with your decisions while your “helpful” friends will have gone on with their own lives.
Beyond Facebook, I recently received unsolicited emails from a private company that promises to hook me up with a married man so I can have a “discreet” affair without fear of being discovered; because he has as much to lose as I do. I. LIE. NOT. Their billing says, “Married Dating has Never Been Easier. Have a discreet affair.”
(I saved one of these emails as proof, in case you think I’m making this up. Then I made sure they removed my name from their list.)
I am disgusted. I am disgusted that the institution of marriage has become so flimsy that companies like this thrive. People have been having affairs for years—not a good thing. Now we can actually hook up with a company that will match us up with the perfect person to have an affair with? Disgusting!
I am disgusted that people so easily give up on their spouses, their vows, and sometimes even their own children for the sake of that momentary thrill. Prepare yourself; the landing is going to surprise you. Buckle your seat belt. Reality stinks. Life with regret stinks. Life without respect from those you love…it stinks. And it’s lonely. Consider this—if you have an affair because you think you are lonely now, think about how lonely you will be when your mate discovers your infidelity. Think it all the way through, dear friend. And as much as I am disgusted, I am equally disheartened by solicitations such as these. What has happened to the state of marriage and fidelity in America?
Is it ever okay to flirt with someone other than your spouse? No. Is there any good reason to have an affair? No, nope, nada, unh unh, helk no! Is it ever okay to leave your spouse for another person? No.
Ask yourself, “If he/she left their spouse FOR me, what’s to keep them from doing the same TO me?”