Many moons ago I wrote a piece about social media within my marriage; in short, it described the process Michael and I went through as we prepared for a lifetime of marriage and how we decided what role(s) social media would have in our lives together. Perhaps the biggest take home message from that post is that different things work for different couples - but any couple that is serious about making their marriage a top priority should probably (in this day and age) take the time to evaluate whether or not social media contributes to or takes away from their union with one another.
Back in April I also wrote a piece about giving up Facebook for Lent...and how it seemingly strengthened my friendships rather than weakening them. I guess you could say I've hardly hidden my strong feelings about Facebook and/or other social media outlets on here, but again - not everything is bad! It all depends on how you utilize it.
So where am I going with all of this? Haven't I said everything there is to say about Facebook and/or social media and marriage? You probably wish....
Recently I logged in to my husband's and my Facebook account (that's right, we share one account together) and saw that one of our friends posted this on their page:
Well, I read the comments people had written and they were all along the lines of how people that share a Facebook account are clearly controlling and/or suspicious of their loved one (who will cheat if they want to regardless of whether or not you try and keep tabs on them)...and said friend even jokingly commented (I'm paraphrasing here to save you the crass nature of his true words) that such couples may as well do everything, including go to the bathroom, together. Imagine that general concept but in far more crude terms and I think you get the picture.
I immediately wanted to comment on the photo and point out that - believe it or not - some people share a joint account for practical reasons that have nothing to do with not trusting one another...but I didn't. After all, if people want to assume that Michael and I share an account together for particular reasons - who cares? I don't. In a way, this small scenario echoes what it is to be married in a much larger sense - because at the end of the day what matters most is not what other people think about your marriage or the decisions you and your spouse make together. Rather, what's most important is that my husband and I are on the same page...which is precisely how and why our joint Facebook account was created in the first place.
I'll be the first to admit that some couples can have very healthy marriages while utilizing various social media outlets on a daily basis...but I'm also keenly aware of how quickly such things can be abused and/or can turn into a very unhealthy, negative aspect of a relationship as well. For Michael and me, we didn't decide to share one Facebook account together out of fear or worry that the other person may become involved in inappropriate online interactions. Instead, we chose willingly to forego our separate accounts out of mutual trust, understanding what role we wanted Facebook to serve within our married lives, and authentic love that gives our whole lives to one another. Is it important to maintain our individual personalities and friendships after getting married? Absolutely! But was it really important for us to use Facebook - of all things - to do that? Not really. Because neither of us place much value in the website and we wanted it to play a minimal role in our daily lives. By sharing our account only one person needs to check it and let the other person know if they see anything noteworthy happening with one another's friends...and we can spend the rest of that free time not wasted on Facebook on what's really important: loving God and one another.
I'm sure some of you can relate to what I'm saying and I'm also sure that several of you won't. But that's the thing - different things work for different couples and a lot of Michael's and my decisions surrounding social media have to do with not only our priorities but also our personalities. I acknowledge that even people with our same priorities may not relate to our path simply because they have different personalities and use their time online in ways that work well with their real life relationships. For Michael and me, however, we simply don't place enough value in Facebook these days to have a strong desire to maintain individual accounts when we could be doing other things. Plus, through sharing one account we can easily notify all of our friends of major life changes in one, single status update. Done and done. Less time wasted online, more time spent living our lives.
Social media can do a LOT of good in this world just as it can also do a LOT of damage. So at the end of the day, who are we to judge someone based on their approach to social media? It can be utilized in sooo many ways (positive and negative) and I believe that every individual (and married couple) should discern for themselves what the best ways for them to be involved (or not) in social media are. However big of a deal it may have seemed to our friends when we created a joint Facebook account was probably equal to how big of a deal it was not to us. So do what you do without worrying about the online world's reaction...but hopefully whatever you decide leads you to glorify God and honor any Sacramental vows you've taken.
"There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18