The advent of social media has transformed the beliefs, culture and even the lifestyle of virtually everyone in our current dispensation to a very laudable extent. This has also cut across all phases of life – from the teenagers, to the youth and to the aged.
By deﬁnition, social media, are the various websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. They include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, among others.
The users, through these applications, are able to share pictures, videos, messages and relate with other persons. Social media is evolving at an alarming speed, with smartphones replacing simple cellphones, offering a whole new world of fast, direct and discreet communication options. Serving as multimedia data centers, smartphones manage every kind of relationship. Social media applications lower inhibition and barriers, making it simpler than ever before to ﬁnd the contact of nearly anyone. Why make a phone call when you can send a private message with a picture or video to better engage the recipient!
Although one cannot overemphasize the fact that social media has its good side, it has however affected many relationships and marriages negatively, leading to breakups and divorces.
Countless apps exist to exchange provocative pictures and messages, so it is now easier more than ever before to maintain multiple virtual and real-life relationships in secret. Emotional and physical affairs are now delivered on demand, thanks to social media and technology.
Consequently, this has brought woes and severe turbulence to lots of families all over the world. We have heard of cases where an unfaithful partner shares nude pictures with another and the latter use such pictures to blackmail and in most cases jeopardize the former’s marriage. Imagine the depth of turmoil and devastation this can bring about to the victim of such issues.
Remember, very few people wake up in the morning and think, “I’m going to look to have an affair today.” Rather, it’s something we slide or drift into most of the time and it’s even easier to do that online nowadays.
So, how do we ﬁgure out what is normal use of social media and what could spell danger for our marriage?
If your partner consistently makes his cellphone invisible to you, locks his/her phone with a passcode or never uses it in your presence, he/she may have something to hide.
The distractions and temptations presented by the digital world force us to work harder for healthy relationships. That is why it’s essential to insist on openness, sincerity and clear communication, instead of succumbing to the fantasy on your smartphone.
Of a surety, we know that a leading cause of marriage breakdown is the lack of communication between spouses. As a result, many are distracted by social media in search of a third person to meet their emotional and mental needs, which ultimately leads to cheating.
However, sound mutual communication and listening are the essences of any good relationship; without them, separation and divorce are inevitable.
Also, it’s pertinent to note that social media provides easy access to a jealous or suspicious spouse to seek out information about the interactions of a signiﬁcant other. Whether suspicions are validated or not, people often feel uneasy about their relationship after discovering something, for example, on their partner’s Facebook account.
This often leads to increased monitoring, jealousy and conﬂict in a relationship. In fact, research has revealed that the more a person examines their partner’s social media activity, the more that person reports jealousy and mistrust, which apparently is not healthy for marriage/relationship.
Below are the pitfalls that occur as a result of the negative effects of social media on marriage:
- TRUST ISSUES: The moment a partner starts engaging in inappropriate activities on social media; he or she starts to devise a means to hide such activity from the other. On ﬁnding out, the latter will become suspicious of the other always, and this will inevitably result in a lack of trust. Trust, being the pivotal force in any solid marriage, becomes displaced in the end. Amos 3:3 asks, “Can two walk together except they be in agreement?”
- INFIDELITY: With smartphones and social media apps, it’s never been easier for dissatisﬁed spouses to look for a new relationship, get in contact with an ex, or seek out a ﬂing. Really, one can never tell the depth to which a partner can reach in the bid to satisfy the escapades of illicit online activities. When one becomes so fond of another online friend, it could lead to them aspiring to have more than just the online link. They may be tempted to want to upgrade to the physical linkage, which could come about by hanging out and seeing each other. This could consequently lead to extramarital affairs.
- BROKEN MARRIAGE: The effects of the above pitfalls will eventually lead to a broken marriage, especially if the wrong done is very grievous.
Other effects are:
- Consistent suspicion
- Withdrawal of partners from each other (emotional and physical)
- Assault and ﬁghts
- Snooping and dishonesty.
How then can one not be a victim of breakup because of social media?
There are various ways to ensure that one does not become a victim of the negative effects of social media on marriage. They are as seen below:
- Be open: As a loving partner with a genuine love for your spouse, you should be able to make sure that what you say online is what you can say in the presence of your spouse. Before messaging, ask yourself, ‘Is this something I wouldn’t mind my spouse seeing?’ You may even consider letting your spouse read it ﬁrst. It’s good for accountability, and it’s a good way to double-check that what you’ve written isn’t a miscommunication of what you meant. Ephesian 5:21.
- Say what you need to say…and say it to the right person: Rather than griping about your marital problem on social media, talk directly with your spouse. If you think it might hurt feelings or get you in hot water, think of a way you can soften the blow when you raise the issue. Take a bold step to want to resolve matters rather than washing your dirty linen on social media.
- Use social media to network rightly and build others: It’s never been easier than it is now to send a note to each other for no reason at all or to brag about your spouse in front of others. Social media makes it easy to connect with each other while you’re apart during the day, and that will keep your relationship from drifting. Just make sure that what you say online is reinforced by what you say and do when you see each other in person.
- When you’re together, come together: It’s very easy, even when you’re at home, to drift to your own individual social media corners. By the end of the evening, you realise that you’ve hardly spoken a word. This happens with the parent-child relationship, too. Set your personal devices aside, and plan some face time with your spouse and your children as well. It helps and goes a long way in building family love and values.
Above all else, remember these two driving principles of building and maintaining a relationship:
- The value of your relationship is a function of the volume of commitment each of you invests in it.
- If you aren’t originally tilted towards oneness, you’re automatically drifting towards isolation and withdrawal.
Never be a victim of the negative claws of social media as regards your home and marriage. Give all it takes to guard your heart with all diligence.
Support Adura Foundation
…we have a small favour to ask.
As our reader, we appeal to you to support Adura Foundation from as little as N1, 000.00 (One Thousand Naira). Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our faith renewal journalism and helping the very poor in our society.
Adura Foundation International
Stanbic IBTC Bank