Check out the podcast “How Social Media Can Impact Your Marriage”
Social media is one of those things that can can be very good, or it can be very bad for you and your marriage.
We have seen many cases where social media has caused broken marriages, and it is absolutely heartbreaking to watch. So when me and my wife first got married, we set up some social media boundaries. Social media was just barely coming out when we got married almost 20 years ago, it wasn’t like it is today, where everyone was on it. It was new, and no body was aware of the damage it could cause in relationships. It was a decision that we made: do we want to get on it? what are the effects it can have on our marriage? how do we protect our marriage? … and so we set boundaries together day one.
The more we talk to people, the more we realize what a problem it truly is for a lot of marriages.
Even for relationships that maybe don’t think it’s a big problem, sometimes just out of the blue relationships can just be totally sideswiped and end in divorce with one of the spouses not even knowing it’s coming.
The poll we did for on our instagram page, we asked some of our followers if we thought that social media was harmful to their marriage.
It was about 50/50 on average, which is kind of sad to think that 50 percent of couples have a real problem with this, from the ones we questioned. We asked if they felt like boundaries helped their marriages, having those social media boundaries between each other, and 88 percent of our followers who answered said absolutely they do, which is awesome that they are setting boundaries and protecting their marriages.
Another question that we asked was: If you could get your spouse to turn off social media, would you want them to? 70 percent said they would want their spouse to turn it off, which means that it’s causing some sort of serious contention or some sort of issues that we’re going to get into.
Why social media can be such a problem.
By just reading a couple of stats online, I was kind of blown away. A lot of these stats, I found were actually on divorce attorneys websites and articles they wrote. One in three divorces now start in online affairs through social media. That’s a pretty staggering number. From the one in three divorces: 30 percent of those people that are using the app Tinder, are actually married.
Facebook has become a leading cause of divorce, according to HG.org, which is an attorney website. It states that a lot of the divorces are happening because of facebook. There was also a survey done out of 205 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82, and 79% of them reported being in a romantic relationship with someone online other than their spouse.
25 percent of couples fight about Facebook on a weekly basis. So one in four marriages are having arguments every week about something happening on Facebook and it says on average people interact, meaning they swipe, they type, they click, they tap their phone around 2617 times each day. That is a crazy ton of time.
Are we as humans really that obsessed with our phones and other people’s lives?
I think we all could and need to sit back and realize that we have probably spend too much time on the internet or social media.
It is interesting to me, when you see those screen weekly updates at the end of the each week, on Sundays, and all the sudden it tells you how long you were on your phone! “What???…I was on it 5 hours a day?”
Pretty crazy how fast it adds up with all the things we do on our phones each day.
Social media can be a good thing, and a bad thing. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t have social media or use social media, we’re saying here are some things to consider and to think about. We created the Ultimate Intimacy app for a reason, we want to do everything we can to help your marriages and relationships be better, and this is an area we feel there is a lot of issues!
We know how addictive and how much it distracts us from having other interactions and activities, which would actually make relationships stronger. I mean, if you think about if you spend an hour a day, maybe it’s even 2-3, what could you be doing instead?
Social media is both physically and psychologically addictive as it lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when using an addictive substance causing dopamine levels to rise.
I don’t think that we realize it unless we’re told how dangerous it is.
It’s very addictive and we’re human, so we get addicted to stuff easy.
Another factor of social media addiction is the fact that the reward centers of the brain are most active. It’s estimated that people talk about themselves around 30-40 percent of the time. However, social media is all about showing off one’s life accomplishments. When a person posts a picture and gets positive social feedback, it stimulates the brain to release dopamine, which again rewards that behavior and perpetrates the social media habit even more.
People love getting the likes, it’s a drug to them to see how many likes they’re getting or to see what people are thinking of their posts.
That is obviously one of the reasons it can become so addictive. Another another thing we found interesting as it says in the United States, people spend on average of two hours on social media each day. So think of how much time that is! That’s taking a lot of time away from more productive things you could be doing.
How many does that add up to over a month or a year?
We were talking to an expert one time and they were saying that the average couple only talks a total of seven minutes per day. If you and your spouse are an average couple and are only talking about seven minutes per day, but you are spending two hours on social media, where do you think the investments going? It’s not going into your relationship and especially if it’s only one side of the marriage. How do you think that other person feels when they think “that two hours could have been mine and I would have really appreciated those two hours?”
Instead of working on the relationship, the time is being spent on more of a fantasy. An unhealthy relationship with social media, which a lot of us probably have to some degree can really keep us locked into a fantasy. We all know that fantasy is better than reality. When we when we engage in social media, we’re looking at things that aren’t always realistic. We’re looking at people post pictures of buying a new car or a new house or being on vacation and although they’re experiencing those things, we’re only seeing the good side of things.
We’re not seeing the bad side of things, and that can cause us to look at ourselves and feel worse about ourselves. Why don’t we have that? Why don’t we vacation like that? Why I can’t I have that life? This puts us in a mode of feeling sad for ourselves and can cause depression. Don’t do that to yourself! Get outside, get a new hobby! Do something else! Work on your relationships!
We don’t really know how to handle this yet either. This is all new. 20 years ago, we didn’t know what our neighbors were up to every second of the day or where they were going or how great their vacation was or how fancy the inside of the car was or you know what I mean?
And why does it matter? Really?
We’re getting this drug of competing and comparing.
Do you have boundaries when it comes to social media?
It is easy to fall into some traps, so to speak. When we first got married, we realized that this social media thing could turn ugly really quick. Several people we know have had affairs because they connected with people of the past and it happens quickly. If you think about it, all it takes is you’re having a week long argument with your spouse or something is really hard. You have some massive trial hit and the romance isn’t good. The intimacy isn’t good in your marriage and some ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend says, I’m going through the same stuff with my wife or husband, blah blah blah, someone to talk to. It’s just so simple, it’s naive and then all of a sudden those feelings get rekindled… and it doesn’t take much. Suddenly both marriages are both destroyed.
No one goes into this thinking, “I want to cheat on my spouse or I wanna have a ex relationship get lit up again.” That’s the scary thing about social media is you can’t control who’s contacting you, you’re basically giving everyone access to you. And it’s really easy for those things to come up, especially when you’re in a vulnerable situation, and maybe you had an argument with your spouse or things just aren’t going good and it’s easy to seek comfort somewhere else.
Past relationships can bring in unwanted temptations or feelings from the past.
especially with ex-relationships that aren’t even present in your life today. The best thing that we did for our marriage is when social media was just started, is that we realized the temptations that could come with exes who might try to contact us and we put down boundaries, we said “let’s just protect our marriage and our emotions and all that, and let’s not except anyone of the opposite sex.” Now, you might think we’re insane for that. You might think, well, there’s no trust there… That is what we decided, we would never even put ourselves in a place to get tempted or to bring back feelings. To not even get tempted to make the other person jealous, or to not start fights over it, or spend too much time on it.
Personal story: At the time I had a brand new business about 15 years ago, I had agreed that we would not add opposite sexes to our facebook.
We had both come up with that idea of not adding any opposite sex to facebook accounts. This was almost 20 years ago. Instagram didn’t even exist. I had a thought that if I add this certain person to my facebook, it will help my business and not really thinking anything of it, I added this person. This woman was very big in this industry and I added her strictly from a business standpoint. And after I added her, she started posting pictures of herself in bikinis and inappropriate pictures. My wife came to me and said, you know we agreed not to add people of the opposite sex. The point I’m trying to make is you know, I didn’t have any intention of doing anything to hurt my wife but as we’ve been talking about a little bit, whether you have the intention or not, it allows things in there that then starts causing the trust to be gone. I now had to get her trust back because I broke a promise to her. Although it was something that was innocent on my end, I betrayed her trust and it caused a small issue in our relationship at that time.
It wasn’t really even about what she was posting or who it was or anything. It was just the fact that was we made a decision to not add anybody of the opposite sex unless we talked about it. It was naive decision, and was added for a business reason. What should have happened is we have a simple conversation about it before and talked about it. My wife would at least have had input and probably would have agreed to it knowing it was for business.
What I realized through that experience is that I have no control over what someone else posts. So I had this person I followed for business and then all of a sudden they’re posting, you know, inappropriate personal pictures and it’s showing up on my side, which I had no control over. I was naive and now I can really see why something innocent can turn into all of a sudden something that could cause a lot of trust to be broken among your spouse.
There’s so many ways that social media can just get into your relationship and cause harm to your relationship, even if even if you’re not looking for it.
Fake friendships. I think social media really creates artificial friends. I was reading this article and the guy made a great point and he said, you know, All of a sudden it’s my birthday and I’m getting all these birthday messages from 20 or 30 people that I haven’t talked to in in 20 years or more. Do you really think those are the kind of friends that if I needed help and called that they would come to my rescue or do you think they really even care? And so the point he was trying to make is, we have all these fake friends that pretend to be our friend or pretend to care about us, but really it’s our friends that are sitting in the same town or sitting next to us or people that we can interact with that are true friends. It’s not someone sitting behind a 24 LCD screen, that’s that’s our true friend.
I think our society is so stuck on these fake friends and followers
…and “now I’m so popular and everyone likes me,” maybe they’re feeding them some kind of ego. If you really think about the time you spend wasting time trying to get fake friends, what if you spend that kind of time making friends in your neighborhood or your community, or spending that time with your spouse, I really think that you find it that you’re happier.
Why would you spend several hours a day worried about people that you think are your friends that you haven’t seen in 20 years or more? Why would you invest your time and energy in that when you can invest your time and energy into a relationship with your kids or your spouse or the people that actually are your friends and are important in your life.
This was a wake up call for me.
I had two friends that passed away unexpectedly that were young, mid thirties, they were very different. One of them was very engaged in social media, spent her time behind a computer screen trying to be a somebody online. The thing is, she was already a somebody to her close family and friends. The other one spent her time serving the people around her making friendships, being kind and being there for people to talk to people making real friendships. Now when they both died, it’s a wake up call when you go to a funeral to find out, one really did something for her neighborhood and community, she was very loved. The other one had nobody at her funeral because all her fake little followers, we’re not going to be there. That’s a wake up call when you think: If I died right now, how many people are going to be there and say that I was a good person and a good friend? Make it a priority in your life to work on true friendships.
Fake friends…. or same thing with fake fantasies. Social media like we’ve talked about makes everyone’s life look way better than yours. They are there on vacation there out of doing fun things… you’re like, why in the world is my life not like that? But you don’t ever see the negative things are the trials are the different things that they’re going through in their life. Of course they’re not going to post that because you know, that’s not what people want to see. Several years ago we talked about this and we said “let’s get rid of instagram other than our family members and things like that.” Because we were definitely falling into the trap like, look at all these people and all the fun things are doing and we could see that it was affecting us. We were going through financial struggle. So I I was starting to get upset and the thoughts come creeping in.. well why can’t you give me that? OR why cant we live like that, or do that?
When we are not comparing ourselves to other marriages or what other people are doing, that doesn’t create an issue because we see that our spouses are working hard. That should make us feel grateful and happy for what we do have.
We have control of what we’re looking at, what we’re seeing and what we’re taking in. We have 100 percent control of what we’re putting in our minds and how we’re feeling about it.
Getting rid of social media personally has been a huge blessing in our lives because we don’t have to compare to everyone else. We are focused more on our relationship and what we’re doing, and we still have trials and difficult things in life, but instead of focusing on how good everyone else is doing and you know, maybe feeling like we’re not we’re not experiencing all that, like we don’t even have to worry about that anymore. It truly has been a blessing in our life.
We would rather spend our nights being with each other, hanging out with each other and talking to each other. We would choose be making love, watching a movie and cuddling, or just having a good conversation over being on phones, social media or any technology. We choose each other over scrolling through pictures of other people.
If we truly love our spouse, that should be a pretty easy decision and an easy sacrifice to set boundaries. All things in balance for sure. Social media is not always bad, it does have it place in life, and as long as it is not negatively affecting your relationship, it can be a blessing in so many ways.
Examine your life and the things that you and your spouse are dealing with with social media and sit down and set boundaries and talk about those things as well. Getting back to the fake fantasies, a lot of everything that’s posted in some way is a little bit fake. You’re only seeing what they want you to see and the perception from that standpoint. Obviously the natural thing is your going to start to think that everyone’s lives are perfect and the grass is greener on the other side. People like to idolize what they can’t possess. I think that’s just a normal thing in life. Social media is a wealth of the unobtainable.
I ran into a post on the internet yesterday from a guy named Chris Adams that shared his facebook story. His story is pretty much that he was emotionally cheating on his wife with people that hardly spoke english. He said “I had a beautiful wife at home, yet I settled for women that were unattractive and ultimately prostitutes” which is really sad. Obviously had a real addiction and a real problem. He realized after years of ruining his life and his marriage, that he had broken her trust. He had provided no blanket of security for her heart. He had no compassion. They fell apart. This addiction had destroyed them, which is doing to a lot of people. He stated that “as humans, we need to feel safe and secure. The occasional affirmation goes a long way. In a lifetime of the partnership, we will fight. It happens. It’s how we recover. When needs aren’t meant, they will be found somewhere else.”
An unhealthy relationship with social media keeps individuals locked into a fantasy. It lets people live above and beyond their means and creates virtual persona. The camera can hide blemishes on bodies and so much more that isn’t possible in person. It doesn’t matter though. Fantasy is always better than real life as there’s no one to say no to, there is no boundaries.
It took years for him to have a wake up call and realize what he had done had created ultimate unhappiness in his life. But he says, “if you are not intimate with your spouse, they’re going to find intimacy from somewhere else… they may even determine what is behind the screen is better than anything they have at home and leave you.”
Social media creates fake relationships because the person on the other end gets only one side of the story. They obviously are going to support you or whoever because they have motives. They can get fake accounts, grow confidence from hearing how sexy they are… instead of thinking about your spouse, you’re thinking about a person from your device. How sad is that, that social media destroyed his marriage?
There’s so much of this going on. I was sad when I took the poll today to realize how many people were unhappy in their marriages because of social media. I actually had about quite a few just saying that they waste too much time on it or that it is toxic for their marriage. These are real people.
Setting Boundaries with Social Media
One lady was saying for their boundaries in their marriage, is that social media is only on her phone because she has control of it and that just helps to protect them. Her husband must have had some sort of problem and this worked for them as a couple.
A couple of people said they give each other an hour a day is all. A few other people said that they choose to stay off of it whenever they get in bed, they shut off their phones an hour before bed or two hours before bed.
Our advice is that if you sit down with your spouse and have a real, vulnerable conversation, and you’re open to each other… you express how you’re feeling. Just be honest. Have that open conversation and share your feelings: ” I am sad that you would rather look at your facebook account than me.” Maybe it’s not such social media, Maybe it’s watching too much news, maybe they’re reading too much or maybe whatever it is that’s on your phone, just communicate about it.
Nothing is ever going to get better unless you talk about it and someone might shut down at first and not want to do it. But if you really express why you’re feeling the way you are feeling, and that you really value the relationship, and if they really value the relationship too… you’re both going to want to fix the problem together.
A lot of people said that they wished they never had phones at all or any social media.
70 percent of everyone that commented said they would love to be able to shut their spouse’s social, social media down.. and it’s both sides are feeling this way. It’s not just a wife or not just a husband, both both are feeling this way and it’s a majority of people that are feeling this way that recognize there’s a problem and they wish they could change.
Ideas for Setting Boundaries
Set some boundaries together and make sure you are both on the same page. These are just ideas and you could implement one of them or all.
- talk openly and honestly with each other about how you feel technology is affecting your marriage
- be willing to listen
- setting boundaries together on time limits
- set boundaries together on who can follow you, or who you can follow. decide as a team.
- turn off phones at an established time before bed so you can connect with each other intimately emotionally and physically
- keep phones out of the bedroom
- always be there for your spouse when you wake up before grabbing your phone
- don’t follow or allow the opposite sex unless it is family
- have a joint account instead of personal accounts if needed/wanted
- take a break from social media altogether and see what it does for your marriage
Our church leader at one time once came out and gave a challenge which was: give yourself a week without social media and see what it does to your life. And of course there were some people who couldn’t do it, or lasted two days or whatever… but a lot of people that could make it that did go a week without using social media and actually ended up going two or three weeks because they loved it so much.
It was life changing for some of them because they recognized the negative impact that social media was having on their relationships and their family life. We would encourage you to try some different things and every couple in every situation is a little bit different. Find what works for you, what you can agree on what makes sense for your relationship. And we think you’ll see a pretty big change.
If you take time off social media and do a challenge, and actually shut your social media down for a few weeks.. your husband or wife might realize they’re going to get more attention and time and intimacy and even physical intimacy. Wives, if your husbands are getting more physical intimacy, they’re going to be totally excited to shut the phone down. And husbands if your giving your wives more emotional intimacy and romance, they are going to love to shut it down too, or vice versa.
That’s our challenge to you… to try different things to see what works and what doesn’t work for you as a couple. What’s worked for us might not work for you.
Social Media can be a huge blessing too!
We need social media for a lot of reasons. It’s a blessing in a lot of ways. It’s also a curse in a lot of ways. So as long as you have boundaries set with your spouse and you openly communicate and work on goals together. Social media can be okay… and your marriage can be awesome. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of commitment and communication. So just keep working at it!
You can get ahold of us by emailing [email protected]
We love to get your feedback and thoughts on these topics! Let us know what you do in your marriage to keep social media a positive thing in your life!
AND…. if you just can’t put your phone down… your super addicted to it.. then why not strengthen your marriage while your on your phone??
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