Feb 152015 5 Responses

Facebook Doesn’t Cause Divorce

The headlines are full of stories:

  • Facebook Cited in a Third of All Divorces
  • Facebook Drives the Divorce Rate
  • Couple Splits, Blames Facebook

They make for nice headlines. Everyone loves someone to blame and to be able to accuse social media for the failings of a marriage is appealing.

But it’s not true. (See: How I Predict Divorce Based on the Wedding Cake)

Facebook has never caused a divorce. There is not a single relationship which has ever ended because of Facebook, social media, or any other technology.

Technology may be the platform through which an inappropriate relationship was formed or came to light, but it is simply a platform.

Marriages end because of lack of boundaries, a failure to nourish the relationship, or a simple unwillingness to do the work necessary to be married.

The problem with blaming Facebook, or any other social media platform, is that it removes the personal responsibility from the equation. (See: Stop Breaking the Ninth Commandment on Facebook)

By displacing blame, we excuse ourselves and our spouse from taking responsibility for what caused the end of the marriage.

Social media can be dangerous for a marriage, but it is only dangerous in that it can exploit weaknesses which are already present.

If a person does not set strong boundaries in their life, Facebook can exploit those weakness which could lead to an emotional affair. (See: You Will Have an Affair If…)

If a person refuses to have accountability in their life, social media can tempt a person in a way they may not withstand.

If a person foolishly believes that what they are seeing is real life, they can be led to believe everyone else has a perfect life and theirs is horribly lacking.

Yet in each scenario, the failure would be with the person, not the technology.

Most technology is neutral. Like any human invention, it is good and bad. There are many positive aspects of social media, but there are also serious drawbacks.

Far more important than the medium itself is how a person uses the platform and what protections they put around themselves.

Show me someone who has no accountability and a lack of strong boundaries and I’ll show you someone who is a sitting duck to form an inappropriate relationship online. For some women, they would need the added element of a weakened marriage or some deep emotional needs being unmet. Most men could have the strongest marriage ever, but the lack of boundaries and accountability could just present the wrong temptation at the wrong time.

Either way, the problem is not with social media. The problem is with the person using social media.

We each choose whether or not we will have accountability and boundaries within relationships. When we refuse to protect ourselves, we are risking our marriages.

Consider the following accountability:

  • Spouses will know one another’s passwords.
  • They will have open access to all social media accounts (including private messaging).
  • Give friends not just the permission, but the expectation of asking you tough questions about your temptations. (See: Please Stop Me from Doing Stupid Things)
  • Always place your cell phone face up so notifications are open for all to see.

Consider the following boundaries:

  • Never discuss intimate details of your marriage with someone of the opposite sex unless they are a counselor.
  • Never talk badly about your spouse to others. (See: The Greatest Threat to Your Marriage)
  • Regularly speak in a positive manner about your spouse to those of the opposite sex.
  • Unfriend or block anyone your spouse is uncomfortable with (trust their judgment).
  • If you ever receive a message which makes you uncomfortable, show your spouse and get their opinion.
  • Refuse to use any social media platform which erases communication (i.e. CyberDust, Snapchat).

Some people should not be on social media. If it is any threat to your marriage, it is something a person should freely give up for the mental well-being of their spouse.

However, in most cases, with the proper accountability and boundaries, Facebook and other forms of social media can be used in a healthy way.

What is a boundary you would add to protect a person on social media?

 

For more, see:

Don’t Be a Social Media Hypocrite

Five Types of Social Media Jerks

5 Responses to Facebook Doesn’t Cause Divorce
  1. Christine Martin Reply

    What if it is not an a relationship but the spouse is on social media for hours at a time? Even after being asked to limit time on Facebook.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Christine, in that case, something needs to happen. Anytime one spouse is deeply bothered by something the other spouse does, a discussion needs to occur. When the discussion happens and nothing changes, something else is wrong. I would get with a 3rd party to discuss the issue.

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