In an effort to help my marriage I recently deleted Facebook off my smart phone. It’s not that I have any problem with social media, it’s just the way I was engaging with it. Using my (limited) free time to scroll through endless pages of updates, photos and mundane details of my friends lives was mostly just a distraction. Occasionally interesting, more often though just kind of boring and ripe for unhealthy comparison. The biggest problem was that I was ignoring who was sitting next to me. I noticed this unfortunate trend during one point in particular, the first quiet moment after the kids went to sleep and my husband and I sat down on the sofa for what felt like the first time in 12 hours. Out of sheer habit we would both grab our smart phones or the tablet and drift off into social media land. While checking in on everyone else’s day I missed an opportunity to check in with the person who mattered to me the most, my husband. We all know the relationship pitfalls of social media, getting back in touch with an EX, making new connections outside your relationship, seemingly harmless flirting. All of these activities can spell disaster for your relationship, but can you use social media for relationship good? Here are some ways I use social media to help my marriage and you can too, because after all we live in a highly social time and there is no reason to ignore the positives that can come from the many ways we have to stay connected. So here are a few ideas:
1) Have a couple or family Facebook page that you share just between your immediate loved ones. You can use it to share pictures, funny stories or encouraging words. Plan a vacation and use your page to share ideas. Keep each other posted on what you are up to. The trick with this one is to keep it totally private!
2) Use social media to send love notes and positive affirmations to your spouse. Every year my husband makes me a Valentine’s card and posts it on my timeline. It’s so silly and yet it feels so nice to have your spouse acknowledge your relationship in public every once in awhile. Here’s a particularly silly one from a few years back…
3) Share social media time with your spouse. If you do enjoy checking in on all the funny cat videos or fun facts your friends post each day set aside time to look at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram together. Share what you find funny, interesting or terrifying. Use the time to laugh together, get caught up on the days events and stay connected to each other’s interests.
4) Turn it off when it’s time to connect with your spouse. This one is pretty obvious, though not always easy. Whether you are at home enjoying a moment of peace, a glass of wine at the end of an evening, at a party together or out on a date turn the phone off. Have a conversation. Ask each other questions and practice active listening.