Social media has changed the way we meet and interact with each other. It provides a platform to learn more about people you associate with. This can be a problem, however, when it comes to romantic relationships. Research shows that increased usage of social media may lead to marital problems, infidelity, and divorce. Social media is always changing and as a couple, my wife and I have had many discussions and disagreements about social media. I know we have both been on and off our facebook and other social media accounts for different reasons, but I have to say that if not handled properly, social media can be a breeding ground for potential problems within the relationship of marriage. Too much of anything is good for nothing. As the proverb said, an excessiveness can lead to something bad. Just like the social media, the excessive usage can be badly affected marriage
Research has found that a 20% annual increase in Facebook enrollment was associated with a 2.18% to 4.32% increase in divorce rates. The study’s model from the individual survey results predicts that people that do not use social media are 11% happier in their marriages than people that are regularly use social media. I have found this to be especially true because, when my wife and I are not on our phones and we talk to each other without any distraction, thats when we are at our happiest.
Social media also provides easy access for a jealous or suspicious spouse to seek out information about the interactions of a significant other. Whether suspicions are founded or unfounded, people often feel uneasy about their relationship after discovering something on their partner’s Facebook or Instagram account. This often leads to increased monitoring, jealousy, and conflict in a relationship. In fact, researchers have found that the more a person examines their partner’s Facebook activity, the more that person reports jealousy and mistrust.
Unfortunately, suspicions about a partner’s social media interactions are sometimes warranted. One in ten adults admits to hiding messages and posts from their significant other. Eight percent of adults in relationships admit to having secret accounts. And one in three divorces now start as online affairs. I personally had a couple of incidents with my wife where she saw a message on my Linked In account that made me look like I was doing something funny, and in hindsight its clear to me that one does not need to respond to all messages that are sent to you, and when you do, there is no need to say or do anything that gives any impression of leading someone on to something that could make you sin. Ephesians 4:27 ” and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Have you ever felt an exaggerated situation with a high stream of information from social media? You should be careful, especially if the content relates to your partner. “The more uncertain the relationship is the more fragile the emotional attachment between partners, the more someone stressed out for having various social media information about his/her spouse”
With smartphones and social media apps, it’s never been easier for dissatisfied spouses to look for a new relationship, get in contact with an ex, or seek out a fling. A whopping 30% of Tinder users are married. There are even sites online that cater to married people looking for affairs . This is just another sad fact and an attack on marriages.
A difficulty to avoid social media can make you fail to notice your surroundings, including your partner. A moment that should have been spent together is replaced by each of you scrolling down the social media’s pages. No wonder it often triggers a conflict. Working in the hotel industry, I have often seen couples coming to dinner together and spending the entire dinner on their phones, taking selfies, pictures of their food and not even looking into each others eyes to talk.
Did you know that Instagram was the social medium that has the worst effect on mental health in 2019? Instagram contributed the most on self-negative effects, such as anxiety, depression, FOMO (fear of missing out) and bullying. Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make married couples feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life. These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude. Social media posts can also set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem . Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’. I have found in my marriage that when we see other couples doing well online, it gives us the feeling that we have failed and inadequate and in most cases leads to some sort of backlash and quarrel. This is real!
Some couples are starting to understand the impact of social media use on relationships and marriage and work to limit time spent on Facebook and Instagram and be more open in their online activities. Some couples are even creating social media “prenups” – guidelines within a prenuptial agreement for acceptable online behavior, such as not friending exes and not sharing private information or photos without permission. My wife and I have exchanged our passwords and we are free to check each others social media accounts anytime. To a lot of me this might be taboo, but it took a lot for me to understand that Trust is one of the Four Foundation pillars of marriage, the others being Honesty, Love and Commitment It is actually difficult to identify the core cause of a failed marriage: is it because of the social media or a weak marriage foundation. Therefore, a good communication and an openness are the main keys to a strong relationship fundamental in order to not being badly influenced negatively by the social media. Social Media can be a great way to keep in touch or even promote your hobby or business, but please dont let it take the drivers seat of your marriage. Keep in in check!
Wilbert Frank Chaniwa