Social media can be a gift and a curse, depending on how you use it—and to be sure, plenty of us use it. Many couples complain about their spouse’s excessive mobile phone usage and social media scrolling because it prevents them from connecting. What’s capturing their attention? Very often, it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or other social media platforms.
Is social media having a net negative impact on your relationship? Keep reading to understand how this digital revolution can affect your marriage, and what you can do to establish healthier digital habits.
How Social Media Can Damage a Marriage
All those follows, likes, and scrolls might help increase your networking opportunities, introduce you to new products and information, and provide some great entertainment. But social media use can come with a downside, too.
According to the Pew Research Center, over half of Americans say their partners are always or sometimes distracted by their phones during conversations. We need to work on our etiquette, especially as it pertains to our behavior toward our spouses. Don’t think social media can take its toll on your marriage?
Here are some ways social media can damage our intimate relationships:
- Reduces the amount of attention you pay to each other during conversations
- Promotes a sense of disconnect, particularly if one or both of you are logged on while doing something together (e.g., watching a movie, going on a hike, or driving somewhere)
- Increases individual stress and anxiety invoking doomscrolling, which may lead to emotional reactivity and “taking it out” on each other
- Drives jealousy (e.g., if one partner “likes” certain photos, talks to former partners, etc.)
- Create unrealistic expectations about how your marriage should be
- Fosters shame and blame via unhealthy comparisons to other couples (e.g., “keeping up with the Joneses”)
- Triggers distrust or a sense of betrayal if one partner posts or comments about the relationship without discussing it with their partner first
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Healthy Social Media Habits for Married Couples
You don’t have to sign off social media forever just to have a healthy marriage. But there are things you can do to make sure your use of this powerful technology doesn’t have a net negative impact on your relationship. Try these.
- Monitor how much time you spend on social media. Be aware of how often and you’re plugged into social media. Can you agree on certain times in the day or places in the home where you can be tech free?
- Don’t snoop. Your partner’s social media account is part of their private space. If you’re concerned about something, speak with your partner directly or arrange a session with a marriage counselor.
- Post and comment with awareness. Before sharing something about your marriage or posting a photo of your partner, consider letting them know first so they won’t feel surprised by seeing something they’re uncomfortable with. For that matter, bringing greater awareness to any post or comment you make can help reduce awkward interactions or uncomfortable consequences.
- No posts complaining about or embarrassing your partner. Do not use social media as a diary or place to vent about your relationship.
- Put the phone down. Take phone and social media breaks often and look directly at your spouse when you’re having a conversation. Full stop. Make this non-negotiable. And yes, this might be a hard habit to change. Help hold each other accountable by reminding each other when and if you slip up.
Ready for a Stronger Connection?
If you and your partner would like to transform your marriage and build a stronger connection in an increasingly (digitally) connected world, contact The Marriage Restoration Project to schedule a consultation with a marriage counselor today.