I am a member of Generation X. I did not grow up in the era of smart phones. I listened to an interesting debate today among my Millennial about the impacts of smartphones and social media on their relationships. I know we’ve talked about this before, but I thought I’d share some thoughts:
In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 we are told: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope and always perseveres.” The Scripture reminds us that keeping secrets, even if you are doing it online is deceptive. How would you feel if your spouse did this to you? If you feel an uncomfortable knot in your stomach, you have the answer! When our spouse fails to meet our emotional needs, we look to find another source. Using social media to fill the void will only fill your emotional tank up so much. You need to communicate with your partner, not flirt with an old friend on Facebook. Talk to your mate and explain that you feel a disconnection. “When communicating with your partner, if you have any doubt about what has just been said or you’re still not sure what is making your partner upset, ask,” Effective Communication Advice advised. Being open and honest will help clear the air and help find solutions to differences.
It Keeps You Connected to the Past
You already know this, but let’s be reminded that keeping up with your ex’s life is a no-no. Most likely your spouse will not be happy with this. Being friends with an old lover will not bring you any satisfaction in your current relationship. Plus, it helps avoid drama! We are told in Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Avoid putting the relationship in harm’s way and unfriend your old boyfriends or girlfriends. Marriage requires trust and having a partner who is still connected to old relationships is not healthy. Put the past away for good and focus on your marriage.
It Becomes a Distraction
How annoying is it to talk with your spouse and they’re finger swiping through images, posting or reading articles on social media? Make it a point to take a break and unplug and talk with your spouse. Make sure your spouse knows that spending time with them is important. The Bible warned us about being selfish. Philippians 2:3-4 explained that to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” When everything around us appears to be falling apart, find time for stillness, solitude and rest with each other. Use introspection to help guide you through moments of hardship in your relationship. Social media should be used as a bridge to connect with people. If you are living in the same house, and you’re both on social media, you’re wasting valuable time with each other to connect.
It Temps Us to Overshare
There is nothing wrong with sharing photos or posting updates on what you’re doing. However, we like to overshare things in our private lives. When it comes to our marriage, it is and should remain a private affair. But when you post their screw-ups on social media, it can be hurtful and damaging because there’s no filter for who they get shared with online. “Regardless of how cute you thought it was, your spouse may not want your mother or your college ex to know about it,” Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist, said in an interview with the Huffington Post. Keep your spouse’s shortcomings behind the scenes and your fights offline because it can really backfire.
It Becomes a Substitute
Feelings are up and feelings are occasionally down. Don’t go by your feelings to determine your future. Look back and see how your emotions played a role in the inconsistencies in your marriage and pay attention to see if you go to social media for a jolt of happiness. If so, start to distance yourself from feelings that are negative and distracting you from making your marriage whole. If every thought you make toward your spouse is negative, replace it with a positive thought. You could cloud your think on how they leave their boxers on the floor or choose to acknowledge that they always pick you up something from the store. Social media can’t be your friend or your therapist when you’re feeling down.