Can Facebook Cause Marriage Problems?

Yesterday I looked through some of the referrals on my blog. Those are the little stats that tell me what people were looking for in Google that brought them to my blog.  Here were a few I saw within seconds…

  • “How to tell my wife she spends too much time on Facebook”
  • “Husband is hiding stuff on Facebook”
  • “Is being friends on Facebook with an old girlfriend wrong?”

Then yesterday, Smart Money puts out a article called, “Does Facebook Wreck Marriages?” that has some shocking starts. What shocked me the most was the statistic that last year OVER 1/3 of the divorce filings included the word “Facebook.”  Here’s a little of what they said …

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed his status to “married” Saturday and received over one million “likes” from his followers. But the site he founded isn’t always so marriage-friendly.  In fact, lawyers say the social network contributes to an increasing number of marriage breakups.

More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a  legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,” says Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Conn. Of the 15 cases he handles per year where computer history, texts and emails are admitted as evidence, 60% exclusively involve Facebook.”

See how important it is that our marriages have some rules, guidelines and accountability for things like Facebook?  Maybe you need a refresher on a few guidelines for married couples. I’ll call them the “10 Commandments for Facebook and Marriage.”

  1. Don’t spend more time on Facebook than you should. How much time is that? It depends on what your spouse says. Communicate with your spouse and ask them, “Am I spending too much time online?”  You want to make sure your spouse is your number 1 relationship, not your buddies on Facebook. Pursue your spouse more than you pursue online relationships. Don’t Facebook during “couple” time (ie. When your wife asks you to watch a movie with her, do you Facebook through it? Or don’t facebook every night instead of going to bed with your husband.).
  2. NEVER hide things from your spouse on Facebook. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a 1000 more times; openness and honesty is the glue of your marriage. When you start hiding friendships, conversations, chat sessions and comments from your spouse, THAT IS UNHEALTHY. If you’re not allowing your spouse to know what you’re doing on Facebook or online, that’s a sign that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Cheating on your spouse online is JUST AS WRONG as physically cheating on your spouse. If you’re doing it … STOP IT!
  3. Share your Facebook password with your spouse. I share every password with Lea … from my Facebook account to every email address I have. Why would I want to do that? It’s called trust, and it’s also called accountability. Knowing my wife can open my laptop at anytime and read anything I’m doing, or see any place I’ve gone, keeps me accountable. Nine times out of ten I don’t even sign out of Facebook, so I know when Lea gets on the computer she can see anything she wants. It’s very healthy. Don’t hide things from your spouse. Make sure you regularly tell them, “You are welcome to see what I’m doing anytime.” 
  4. NEVER EVER EVER befriend anyone of the opposite sex that your spouse is uncomfortable with. SERIOUSLY, befriending an old boyfriend or girlfriend should NEVER be done without fully discussing it with your spouse. AND, if they are even in the slightest way uncomfortable with you befriending anyone of the opposite sex … don’t do it.  Don’t search for old boyfriends and girlfriends. Simple communication with your spouse about this is best.
  5. Defriend anyone who crosses normal boundaries. If someone is saying things, doing things or asking questions online that make you uncomfortable OR would make you uncomfortable in person, then that’s not a good sign. Listen to the little voice in your head. If something tells you “this isn’t right,” then it’s probably not. Never be ashamed or afraid to defriend someone that may have ulterior motives.  You marriage relationship is your #1 concern, not the feelings of an old Jr. High flame.
  6. If you’re married, PROUDLY set your “Relationship Status” to married. Seriously … proudly shout to the world … I AM MARRIED!  I wish there was a “Happily Married” status or for that matter, an “I’m madly in love with my incredibly gorgeous wife.” I’d change my status to that in a heartbeat. :)
  7. Post pictures of you and your spouse on your Facebook, OR use a “couple” picture as your profile picture.
  8. Don’t be afraid to proclaim your love for your spouse on Facebook. Someone of the opposite sex won’t question your love for your spouse if you occasionally brag on your spouse on your Facebook status. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do … to brag on your spouse, and doing it in public conveys your love for your spouse to the world. It doesn’t bother me one drop to tell the world just how much I love my wife.
  9. NEVER  use my status to complain about my spouse. Not smart! Facebook is not for you to air your grievances to the world about your spouse.
  10. Think before you type. Don’t make comments on statuses and pictures of other people that come across as suggestive. Men, THINK how it’s going to look before you click “like” on some girl’s picture that was taken at a swimming pool. Wives, think before you praise another man on Facebook more than you would your husband.

Remember …. no matter how many friends you have on Facebook, your #1 friend in this world should be your spouse. Strive to better that relationship on a daily basis. Work 1000 times harder to grow in that relationship than you do at finding friends on Facebook. NEVER take your relationship with your spouse for granted. THE LAST THING YOU WANT is 1000 Facebook friends, while the love between you and your best friend slowly dies out.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1164 articles by
24 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Amy O'Connor says:

    I need to print this and hang it over the computer screen! I have improved greatly but still not perfect. :) Plus, I think it would be good to discuss with my husband and talk about how some of his FB practices have bothered me.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Lea and I try and talk about this regularly. I try and always stay signed in to FB on my laptop so when Lea uses it, she’ll know she’s welcome to look at anything she wants. There’s some accountability there.

  2. This reminds me of all the complaints I heard from evangelicals in Brazil about Orkut. They insisted that the social network was responsible for divorces. In my opinion, the platform isn’t the primary problem. It’s the users who need to use common sense. If someone is cheating on his or her spouse online, or using Facebook or any other social network to facilitate adultery, that’s a sure sign there are problems in the marriage. Temptation and the opportunity to sin may originate via Facebook for some, but I really think that for the majority it’s an indication of other, pre-existing issues.

  3. Jewel Melton says:

    Thanks, Trey! As usual, those are some wise insights to go by. One of my frustrations with that article that you quoted was the statement made “I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time”.

    Um…. Facebook isn’t the issue. The heart is the problem. Facebook is just another means by which people use to engage in sin or not.

    For what comes out of the heart is what makes the person unclean… or headed towards temptation and sin.

  4. Matt Howell says:

    Saying that Facebook is the problem is much like saying guns kill people. It’s the person using it that must act responsible. Most likely if I am hiding something on Facebook from my wife than I am hiding other stuff from her outside if Facebook as well. I don’t go into my wife’s Facebook don’t even know her password I trust her! If it was not Facebook it would be something else.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      I agree, Matt. I’m not against Facebook. I’m simply saying that Facebook can cause problems in your marriage if you’re not careful. All I’m saying is that we need to be careful that we don’t allow FB to cause problems in our marriage. Do you think it would be good for your marriage if …

      * If you or your wife spent tons of time on FB instead of with your spouse?
      * Hide things from your spouse on FB?
      * Complain about your spouse on FB?
      * And so on?

      Just don’t allow FB, the computer, hobbies, kids, or anything to become more important than your marriage.

  5. Great article, I have counseled a few people through these type of issues already. I also heard a speaker talk about how to repair a relationship after an affair. One of the things he said was that the offended spouse has complete access to every thing. My wife and I looked at each other and said that should have been done earlier.

    One of my biggest frustrations though is when a spouse finds a facebook account left open and use that opportunity to make an embarrassing post. If fosters a sense of distrust and makes people want keep their passwords from you. Don’t abuse the trust your spouse has given you. (This also applies to children who you should have the same openness with).

    Thanks for the article.

  6. Facebook isn’t the only culprit. Technology in general. Spouses don’t need to be constantly connected to the Internet all the time. Put the phone down. Shut down the computer and spend time with each other.

  7. Janalyn says:

    Totally agree! Facebook makes it too easy to “escape” online and causes many people to reconnect who should not. I’ve personally seen marriages broken as a direct result of FB, not to say there weren’t already issues there, but things would have been very different without that platform of communication. As a result of watching them go through that, my husband and I joined our accounts, which was entirely too difficult. I wish FB would create a setting to allow a couple or family FB page; most of our FB friends think we’re a little weird since that’s not the norm! (But so long as divorce and heartbreak ARE the norm, I’m happy not to be a part of it.)

  8. Marcie says:

    Timely blog. Last week, my husband asked if he should get an iPhone suit. Was a wake up call for me.

  9. Cecelia Bradshaw-Marble says:

    EXCELLENT…OUTSTANDING….And I KNOW if you’ve read my posts about my husband, I’m GONE over Andrew. EVERYONE on Facebook KNOWS how I feel about him. If they don’t, then they are either blind, not paying attention or simply DUMB.

  10. Trey,
    Those are great guidelines for Facebook or any other social media, including Pinterest and Twitter. I liked what David Millican had to say about not violating trust. A practical joke on Facebook might be funny, but it’s still not smart.

    Thanks for a great post!

  11. [...] & marriage: * Does Facebook Wreck Marriages? by Quentin Fottrell; *Can Facebook Cause Marriage Problems by Trey [...]

  12. Marcie says:

    He thinks I pay too much attention to Facebook on the iPhone and if he resembled the iPhone, I might pay that much attention to him . . .

  13. I just came across your site and I love this article. Preach on!!

  14. Sid says:

    Trey,
    I have personally violated almost 7 out of 10 of these sensible rules. This have made my wife distrust me and it will be hard to get the trust back to where it was. I was being irresponsible and had taken love for granted. Spent hours and hours on FarmVille. Such a waste of time in my life.
    I am working towards correcting my wrongdoings and sorting out priorities in my married life.
    Your article is very helpful and eye opener. Many thanks, sir.
    Regards.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor ... who moonlights as the senior minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage & randomness.
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