5 Facebook Fights in Marriage

Written by K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky

Kids. Sex. Money. According to therapists, these are the most common topics married couples argue about.  After recently talking with a number of counselors and clergy about common marriage problems they’re dealing with, Facebook should be added to that list.  In fact, Facebook is one of the most popular relationship conflicts for today’s married couples.

Why would that be? With over 400-million users, Facebook has become the preferred communication vehicle for connecting with friends and family, and has quickly integrated into the daily routines of adults of all ages. In its wake, many spouses are grappling to keep up with their feelings towards their mates’ rate of reconnected relationships, degrees of convenience connecting to the online social network, and their level of devotion to the website.

In fact, based off the research for our book, Facebook and Your Marriage (which included personal interviews with Facebookers, conversations with therapists, surveying many blogs and websites, and reading the dozens and dozens of comments on Facebook) we’ve discovered that when a spouse says “Facebook is an issue in my marriage,” it is a cry for help without an understanding of what the real problem is.

They mistakenly blame the website when it is most likely one of these five common Facebooking issues.

#1) Time spent on Facebook
Users spend over 500 billion minutes a month on Facebook. (That’s just short of a million years!) Whether they’re playing Mafia Wars or Farmville, corresponding with people or browsing profiles, the amount of time spent ON Facebook is often viewed as time spent AWAY from the family. And for some, they lose all track of time. Too much Facebook attention can create face-to-face tension between a husband and wife.

#2) Facebook Friends
The average user has 130 Facebook Friends. While the master computers at Facebook try to identify connections between users due to common interests, related friends, and past experiences, it is up to the user to “accept” or “decline” a Friend Request. Married Facebookers can unknowingly create a “situation” with their spouse by friending ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, old flames, former crushes, or past love interests. Other problem Facebook Friends include: a nosy in-law or parent, a wacky family member, a friend who is a bad influence, or a toxic co-worker. All of whom, because they’re online friends with one spouse can affect the real-time life of the other spouse.

#3) Facebook etiquette
Not only is Facebook the largest and fastest growing online social network, it is also the most active with half of all users logging in at least once a day. With so many people passing on so much information at such a rapid pace, many can find themselves regretting or second guessing an update or comment they made for the world to see. Some married people forget that the rant against a spouse, the complaint about their marriage, or putting down their mate in an update can create a tense situation on and off of Facebook.

#4) Facebook updates and comments
On average, users create 70 pieces of content on Facebook per month (updates, uploaded pictures, comments, etc). This opens the door for miscommunication, misreading a comment, inappropriate interactions, and more. For married Facebookers who write border-line comments, offer “TMI” on updates, or chat with questionable friends it can create problems on the home front with an embarrassed, hurt or angry spouse.

#5) Discussions about Facebook
For many of those over the age of thirty, this is their first time ever being a part of an online social network. The feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are fairly normal and valid as they try to understand how to operate and function in a 24/7 online community. If they’re married, they are also viewing what their spouse is doing on Facebook. Any expressed concerns about friends, comments, or communications may be quickly dismissed by the other spouse with, “it’s only Facebook,”, “it’s just a website,” or “it’s not real, I’m just having fun.”

With these common Facebooking issues, the sooner couples learn how to talk about setting up boundaries and using common sense in this social media age, the better off they will be. Especially since being a part of an online social network is not going away anytime soon…or ever.

Our new book, Facebook and Your Marriage, combines our Facebook experiences, marriage education training, and fifteen years of marriage to help couples handle all five of these Facebook-related arguments.

Here’s how Facebook and Your Marriage can help:

#1) Time-saving tips, time-balancing input, and a framework on how to talk about time spent on Facebook and set boundaries without turning it into a lengthy, never ending argument.

#2) Insightful input on sending and accepting Friend Requests and how to set up boundaries surrounding Facebook Friends to protect marriages from potential problems including high-maintenance people or the chances for an emotional affair!

#3) Basic rules for (online) civility and practical ideas for couples to create their own Facebook etiquette so that both husband and wife can decide what is and is not acceptable to post on Facebook!

#4) All sides of the issues related to public and private correspondences, as well as no-nonsense advice on what should and should not be written in updates and comments!

#5) Successful tools and skills that work so couples can have discussions about online issues, share concerns, and talk about their relationship so both sides are heard, understood and everyone wins!

Facebook and Your Marriage reads like a series of online discussion boards in book form, making it easier for couples to find answers to over 120 common questions and issues ranging from Facebook basics to marriage stressors!

Hopefully, Facebook and Your Marriage can help bring peace between husbands and wives…on Facebook and at home.

Buy the Book here:

http://store.powertochange.org/p-392-facebook-and-your-marriage.aspx

 

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11 Responses to “5 Facebook Fights in Marriage”

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to renisha it is a good topic, it is nice to see, very refreshing. thank you k jason and kelli krafsky for this article God bless you both

  • Kate Kate says:

    Hi Samantha,

    I was just thinking about this sort of thing yesterday. A lot of simple things, like facebook, food, exercise and so on, can be very seriously abused if we do not acknowledge that they are a temptation to us. The point is not whether I can come up with excuses, or whether lots of other people have excuses too – the point is that I have to recognize when I am crossing the line, allowing something that can be good to turn into a weapon against me, sucking me in a downward spiral.

    To be responsible, I have to admit that I am vulnerable. When I let down the walls in one area, and make excuses in one area, then other healthy boundaries begin disintegrating too. It is when we are in precisely this position that we most resent being questioned — we know that we have compromised ourselves, but we don’t want to confess it, be clean of it, receive mercy and grace, and start fresh. We don’t want to be accountable for our choices.

    So, what I would do – consider asking your husband to whom he is being accountable? Would the Lord approve of every choice he is making? Also, would he consider asking a mature Christian man to be his accountability partner, or join a small group? Confess to him that you have an area of weakness too, where you know that you are vulnerable to temptation and so you will take action to guard yourself in this area too — say, for example, keeping a food diary, or posting your bank/credit card statements on the fridge, having your own accountability group, so that you are being held accountable in your vulnerable or weak areas too.

    This is certainly not about attacking your spouse, it is about defending him. The enemy knows that when he can get a foothold, he can very quickly steal our blessings (joy, peace, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, mercy, patience, and so on) and even destroy our lives. Tell your husband that you know he loves you when he pulls you back onto the sidewalk because he sees a speeding car approaching — what you are doing is the same. Your heart is to protect him, and to know that he is also protecting himself against unhealthy relationships, from which only pain and distress will come.

    I want to pray for you now:

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Samantha and her husband. Thank You for Your grace and mercy, and Your willingness to help us with ALL things. Father, I pray that You would soften Samantha’s heart so that she can speak softly and lovingly to her husband, I pray also that he would have ears to hear what Your Spirit is saying, and that they both would be doers of Your word, not just hearers. Father, I ask that You guard their marriage, guard them both from poor decisions, help them to turn back when they have gone astray, and teach them both to be the kind of marriage partners You have designed them to be. I pray that their relationship, including how they deal with this sensitive topic, would blossom and bear much fruit for Your glory. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.

    Blessings and grace upon grace to you Samantha!

    Kate

  • Samantha says:

    This was a great article! Facebook has caused a lot of stress in my marriage. I do not have a Facebook account because of all the issues which this article addressed. The number one concern I have is that it’s a time-waster. My husband on the other hand spends a lot of time on it. He gets upset whenever I ask him who he’s talking or what he’s looking at. These are questions I would not normally care to ask, except that when I start to notice that he’s been on it for a considerable amount of time.
    I have tried to express that I don’t feel comfortable with him having so many female friends and chatting with them, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. He also doesn’t see a point in having to answer when I ask him who he’s talking to or what he’s talking about. He thinks that it is none of my business.
    Anyways, it is not like I don’t trust him, but his behavior on Facebook is causing me not to want to trust him. It is also making me exhausted and feeling uneasy about his relationships. What to do? I don’t want to be a police officer or a patrol officer!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So Lila do you think that the problem is Facebook or could there be other issues in your marriage and your husband’s use of Facebook is just a symptom of those issues? I think sometimes we spend so much energy dealing with symptoms and never get down to the real problems. You can get your husband to stop using FB by freaking out in the counsellor’s office but that is not going to fix the problems that have contributed to your husband’s use of FB. And if you do fix the underlying issues suddenly FB will no longer be an issue.

  • Lila says:

    it’s so true that facebook is damaging to relationships, my husband is semi-retired and spends probably 2-3 hours a day on facebook. I am still working full-tme and extremely frustrated at all this unproductive time he spends on the site. We have actually been to counselling over FB, but he acts as if he thinks I psycho and says that the counsellor just doesn’t get him. He has had inappropriate FB relationships that he promised he would end put didn’t until I freaked at the counsellor’s office. (our daughter that lives overseas even wondered what was going on with him, she was pretty embarrassed by all the flirting that was going on where everyone could see.) It’s now to a point where if I bring anything up or question a choice of his I get the silent treatment for days. This book seems perfect for me…but how can I reach him, I almost feel like going to an alanon meeting

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Oh interesting, in two comments we have two totally different sides of the issue – one wants total access, the other doesn’t even want to be friends. I think it’s important to remember how public Facebook is. If you wouldn’t say something about your husband in front of his boss, don’t say it in your Facebook status.

    I tend to agree more with Sandy, openness is a good way to ensure that there isn’t a hidden place for comments. At the same time, husbands and wives do need to have trusted confidants of the same gender that they can talk through issues with. Facebook status updates are not the place for that, but private Facebook messages might be. Much like TV and movies, each couple needs to decide for themselves what they will and will not allow into their home.

  • Urban Hermit says:

    I think married folks should not be friends on FB at all. I’ve been there, and it caused consistent problems. Somehow or the other, the state of your personal life always percolates down into FB for public display. Those in the know about the problems you’re facing can read between the lines easily enough, and jibes and unsolicited ‘advice’ follow. Also, there always seem to be exes waiting in the wings and raring to move in the minute they see trouble, ready with a ‘helpful’ hanky to wipe away the tears in heaven. In any case, one tends to get sick of the veiled taunts in the status updates when there’s a marital spat. I think married people should do their relationships a favor and block each other on FB instead of giving themselves one more club to hit each other over the head with – a spiked one in this case

  • sandy says:

    This is a good topic that is well needed. But just as you should be able to check your child’s accts, you and your spouse should know how to get into each others facebook account and email. why? you shouldn’t have anything there to be ashamed about. You might think of it as a way of sharing with each other. You should never have anything that you would be ashamed of your spouse seeing. This would also be smart in case anything happened to either of you. So I say either share an account or look at each others.

  • B. Miller Brenda says:

    I agree, Renisha, that there are so many issues that Facebook can raise in a marriage! Sometimes we just do not think as a partner that we can be insensitive to our spouses feelings regarding how much time we spend sharing with friends, who those friends are, or if we are opening ourselves up to temptation that the Lord warns us to stay away from in His Word. This is a great article and a great warning for all of us to take into consideration. Thank you so much for your post, Renisha, for this great article, K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky! God bless you!

  • Renisha says:

    This is really a great topic…share with everyone you know.

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