So apparently there is a New Jersey pastor that is calling for all married people to delete their Facebook accounts. He’s kind of got a point, but I say that if Facebook can harm your marriage, you had problems before you joined the site.
Facebook is a great tool for networking and staying in touch with friends and family. But yes, it can get you into trouble if not handled appropriately. But that is true of anything.
Your marriage should be a haven of trust. If you are keeping secrets from your spouse, even little things, it could spell problems. I don’t mean keeping the fun secrets like what you are getting them for Christmas (a secret that the EvylRobot will tell you I am terrible at keeping). I mean secrets that don’t initially seem like a big deal. That innocent conversation at work. For me, when that conspiratorial voice in the back of my head says that I shouldn’t tell my hubby, I put that very thing on the top of my mental list to tell him at the first opportunity. Harmless flirtation at the office. Yep, he knows. Even if there is no chance that I might ever find myself attracted to that other person and vice versa.
I’m not pretending to be an expert, but I have been happily married for nearly 12 years now. And I am very, very serious about protecting my marriage. My husband has access to my Facebook account. I have access to his. We don’t check up on each other, but we could. We don’t need to though. And it’s because we manage our online social circles in much the same way as our real-life social circles.
Take it or leave it, but here’s Jennifer’s advice for Facebooking while married
1. DO NOT FRIEND AN EX! Just stop. Step away from your computer and hang out with your spouse right here. I don’t care that it was a long time ago and that you don’t have any feelings for them. You did once. You probably still have things in common that you would chat about. It’s a minefield that you don’t need to step into.
2. DON’T HAVE CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU WON’T SHOW YOUR SPOUSE. I don’t really care what you are talking about in chat or private messages. Share them with your spouse. If you aren’t comfortable sharing them with your spouse, why are you having them?
3. FLIRT WITH YOUR SPOUSE PUBLICLY. Don’t be afraid to be cute and sappy, but don’t embarrass your other friends with it either. And do keep it family friendly. The dirty talk will be more fun when you are in the same room anyway.
4. KEEP YOUR DISAGREEMENTS PRIVATE. It’s really the flip side of #3. Don’t air your dirty laundry. Or talk about who isn’t doing the laundry (that would be me, I’m a terrible housekeeper). I’m not saying you can’t share the funny story about how they were stealing the blankets last night, but it should be in good fun, not bitching. Present a united front. If you can’t, you need to be talking to your spouse, or a counselor, or potentially an attorney. Cyberspace is not the place for that.
If you were doing whatever it is you are doing on your Facebook account and had to walk out of the room leaving your computer up, would it be okay for your spouse to see whatever that was? If your marriage is important, that should be just fine. (Planning surprises would be the exception of course.) At this very moment, my husband could alt-tab over to my Facebook account, and I’m not even in the same zip code he is. And I have absolutely no problem with that. It’s not up because he wants to check up on me; it’s up because that is convenient for me and I trust him.