Q: Can you suggest ways my spouse and I might use social media to encourage one another and strengthen our marriage?
A: Author Neil Postman says that “Every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that.” This is certainly true where online social networking is concerned. When used with wisdom and discernment, it can be an effective tool for strengthening marriages. Here are some suggestions how this idea might play out in practical terms.
- Connectivity. Social media serve marriages best when used to maintain a healthy connection between spouses. A husband or wife on a business trip can use Facebook to share new experiences with the entire family and to give them a sense of participating in the journey. It’s also a good way to hold yourself accountable by keeping family members posted on your activities and whereabouts.
- Enhancing relationships. Some research suggests that social media, when used appropriately, can actually add intensity and immediacy to face-to-face relationships. When used as a supplement to rather than a replacement for flesh-and-blood contact with another human being, online communication can add new layers of intimacy and understanding
toour interactions with those we love.
- Walking in the light. Husbands and wives who connect with old friends via Facebook may sometimes have unprecedented opportunities to enter into the details of one another’s personal histories. This can be tricky. It might become a source of tension, suspicion, or jealousy if one of the partners’ old secondary school flames decides to put in a “friend” request. But such developments can be beneficial if they have the effect of eliminating secrets and shining a light on the past.
- Community. The healthiest marriages are those linked into a strong support group. Couples need other couples, and social media can be an effective tool for networking, discovering common interests with friends, organising events, and coordinating get-togethers.
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