Well, Facebook, now you've done it. The latest study released by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) claims that Facebook actually causes divorce in one in five marriages. The reason? Hooking up with exes, flirting and the like are all too easy on the social networking site. However, I would argue that many marriages that suffer an irreparable "Facebook incident" had issues long before the spouses starting sending out friend requests; Facebook is merely an easily accessible tool for a wandering heart.
So does this mean that married couples should delete their Facebook profiles and swear off social media, at least in their personal lives? I don't think so and, in fact, I believe that if handled responsibly, Facebook can actually help strengthen your marriage.
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First, though, the ground rules.
The Facebook Married Ground Rules
Ground rule #1: Choose "Married" as your relationship status. Don't leave it blank. Don't choose "It's complicated." And definitely don't choose "In an open relationship"... even if you're trying to be funny. Be up front and direct. You're not using Facebook to find that special person, or even that one-drunk-night person.
Ground rule #2: Claim your spouse on Facebook. This will link your profiles and show people that your Facebook profile is something you share with your spouse, not something you're keeping to yourself.
Ground rule #3: Exchange login and password information with your spouse. That means your spouse can not only see your wall, but can also log in and read your private messages if he chooses. This gesture says, "I want you to know you can trust me," and can also serve as a deterrent should you feel tempted to start private conversations with exes or other members of the opposite sex that you know deep down would be crossing a line.
Ground rule #4: Do not use Facebook as a place to air your dirty laundry, especially concerning your spouse. We've all read posts like "My husband is so selfish! I cannot believe he went to play softball with his stupid friends instead of coming home after work!" or "No, don't worry, I looooove cooking the meal, cleaning up the table and doing the dishes all by myself!!!" Whether directly outing your spouse's faults or using the passive-aggressive approach, it's never a good idea to resort to public rebuke. Not only does it embarrass and undermine your spouse, it also most likely makes your other Facebook friends uncomfortable. No one wants to watch you and your spouse fight in real life, and no one wants to watch it on Facebook either. And once you post something, even in the heat of frustration, it's out there for your friends (and maybe even friends of your friends) to see.
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So now that we've established some ground rules, how can you use Facebook to make your marriage better?
How Facebook Can Enhance Your Marriage