Facebook Proofing Your Marriage

By April 19, 20106 Comments

This week I learned a startling statistic about Facebook. According to a British newspaper, Facebook is “being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns.”

The article goes on to explain that social networking websites create a greater source of temptation to cheat. Consider the following excerpt:

Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: “I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.

“The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”

Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.

Although the above statistic has not been tested here in the States, I would not be surprised if the numbers were similar.

This information was a huge wake-up call for me. In fact, as soon as I heard it I called my husband and wanted to talk about it. We both have Facebook accounts, and we enjoy using it as a source for connecting with people, seeing pictures of happy milestones, etc. but I certainly do not value those things more than the health of my marriage.

After talking through it for awhile, we decided not to pull the plug just yet but we have set up some strict boundaries on how we use Facebook. If you are married and have not had this conversation with your spouse, I encourage you to do so. The temptation to check in on ex-boyfriends or former/current crushes is very great, and while the motives may initially be innocent, you have already crossed a line in doing so.

Facebook can be a good thing but it can also be abused, so do not become complacent. I hope the above statistics grabbed your attention the way they grabbed mine. I don’t want to be legalistic but I do want to be wise, and Facebook is certainly no exception.

If you and your spouse have set up some helpful boundaries for Facebook, or have decided to get off Facebook altogether, please feel free to share your thoughts here! I have no doubt other couples will benefit from your insights.


  • mama jaja says:

    how funny- iwas just thinking about this the other day when I posted well wishes on a ex’s status update. I wondered how it may be contrued, and ultimately decided that sense dude and I very rarely email that my gesture was simply that a polite gesture.

    And my DH and I both have accounts and we have talked about this somewhat. I think our big thing is to be continuously talking about our FB friends, who is friending us and whatever, we both have ex’s who are our friends and most have befriended the other (as a sign of hey-I’m not trying to get with your wife, perhaps?)

    We have agreed that if one catches the other spending more time on FB than with the other or our son then the other has total cause to pull the plug on the whole she-bang. I gave up FB for 30 days back in the winter, as a clensing time- people were really getting ugly about the healthcare debate and other matters. I couldn’t take it anymore.

    but I definitely concur with you-couples MUST have that discussion, continuously. Which is true for not only FB, but everything within a marriage.

  • Sharon says:

    You know, it’s interesting that you should say that about posting on your ex’s wall because that’s something I’ve struggled to reconcile.

    On the one hand, I want to be wise and not make myself vulnerable to temptation. On the other hand, does that require totally freezing out certain people from my life? And while it would be easy to answer, “Yes! Don’t open yourself to temptation!” I must also remember that we’re all in the same body of Christ together, so what is my responsibility to “love” them, so to speak?

    How do we guard our marriage while also being reconciled to others from our past, instead of belittling them as nothing more than potential “pitfalls”? I really dislike any mentality that treats exes (especially if they’re a brother or sister in Christ) as nothing more than “temptations,” but I want to be wise too.

    Ugh it’s so tough!

  • mama jaja says:

    Very much so!! Especially since before FB, I had no contact with any of my ex-boyfriends. The onset brought all of them crashing forward and the awkward dance of “do I friend you first?” began.

    Reading too much into things, trying to not belittle them into just temptations…argh. I just want to say Happy birthday or get well soon with out it meaning anything more!! And I guess as long as my DH sees and understands that, then that’s all that should ultimately matter. right?

    Maybe I should start a FB group…”yeah I’m FB friends with my ex, and it doesn’t mean anything more the profile pic on my list.”

  • Shonda says:

    Facebook can cause tension in other relationships as well. My mother and sister decided to post my sister’s pregnancy on FB before they decided to tell me. I was deeply crushed. Now itstead of picking up the phone, some people communicate solely by facebook. And now that you can leave comments on news articals, people bash one another. I wish it would all go away.

  • So glad to hear that you and your husband sat down and talked about boundaries! Because of this increasing problem (however, the article is misleading because the stat came from one law firm and one study) my husband and I wrote the book, “Facebook and Your Marriage.” We had felt that common sense and boundaries have been left out of conversations of married couples who use online social networks. Here is a link to an article that we wrote on “Our Top Dozen Do’s and Don’ts for Facebooking Couples.” We also have a “like” page on Facebook and you can purchase the book on our website. Here is the link to the article…
    Thanks for bringing this issue to light!

  • Sharon says:

    Wow thanks, Kelli! I just checked out your list and it’s really helpful! That is a great resource!

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