After hours upon hours of scrolling—with only an occasional glance up from the screen in my hands—Perry opened the front door.
“How was your day?” he asked.
Entranced by my phone, I mumbled, ”Fine.” Then continued my scroll to the next Instagram reel.
At times like this, two things happen:
- My husband doesn’t feel cared for.
- He hesitates to ask me the same question next time, out of fear he will get the same cold reply.
Does this sound familiar?
Social media has the power to positively (and negatively) affect how we experience our most intimate relationship—our marriage. Addressing both the good and potentially harmful areas of social media and the need for boundaries is a conversation I invite you to today.
There are many ways couples handle social media accounts in marriage. How do we navigate the space of social media and marriage well?
Social media and marriage: The good side
Let this be heard: There can be a good side to social media! I’ve seen the blessings and opportunities I’ve been given to glorify God with it. I’ve seen it be used as a tool for connection between my husband and our friends and family. Social media has the power to strengthen and sustain long-distance relationships.
So let’s talk about a couple of good parts of social media.
1. Builds connections with other couples and families.
Social media can be a space for increasing connection, whether with friends from church, work, or school. But it’s also a great tool for meeting other like-minded people.
As I scroll on Instagram, I’ll occasionally read deeply vulnerable posts, like a wife writing about a hard circumstance she and her husband walked through. I feel both encouraged and trusted as a reader. I read of their lessons learned and how they saw God move through their circumstances. Couples can find encouragement and relatability from others walking through a similar experience.
2. Cultivates gratitude in your marriage.
Social media can be a space for hearing someone else’s marriage story and looking at your marriage with gratitude. To not see just the flaws of your spouse, but also the beautiful giftings and talents and how to celebrate them.
It can be a beautiful space for building up your spouse. Not in an inauthentic way, but in a manner of complete and utter gratitude, endearment, and honesty. Is “words of affirmation” their love language? Use this space to show thankfulness for something they did or give them a public shoutout. When genuinely expressed, it can make your spouse feel incredibly loved.
Social media and marriage: The harmful side
Any good thing has the potential of becoming harmful. Social media can bring connection or it can bring isolation. Earlier, I shared the addictive nature of social media and how I was glued to my phone as Perry tried to move toward me.
So let’s explore the potentially harmful parts of social media.
1. Distracts from “us.”
The addictive nature of technology can be dangerous when navigating social media and marriage. It can become an escape from talking and connecting with your spouse, resulting in distance.
Social media can pull our eyes, minds, and hearts away from our spouses and lead us to find connection elsewhere. It’s important to understand that the comparison of your marriage to another can be destructive in not only your view of yourself, but of your spouse as well.
Social media has also become a harmful avenue in which people come across content such as pornography. The topic of pornography is crucial in seeing the harmful side of social media. With the touch of a finger on a screen, anyone can have access to it, and it can become one of the most addicting and distracting barriers to connection with your spouse. Read more about the effects of porn on your marriage.
2. Creates jealousy and can lead to unfaithfulness.
There is a dangerous side to social media and marriage. Where the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), social media can create spaces of jealousy and unfaithfulness in marriage.
Seeing another married couple on a trip to the Bahamas, having the time of their lives, may light a spark of jealousy and bitterness. Even if you are only seeing their “best” moments.
That jealousy can build, leading to a lack of desire for your spouse and your life and creating a desire for someone or something “better.” If not talked about, this is where the slippery slope may result in unfaithfulness in your marriage. Without even thinking, you’re looking at pictures or videos of someone who isn’t your spouse or even in regular conversation with them.
Not only is this harmful to your marriage, but it’s harmful to yourself. You’re chasing a false version of love you could already have with the spouse you made vows to.
Helpful tips on navigating social media and marriage
After hearing the good and potentially harmful sides of social media, you may be asking, “What do I do now?” Here are three tips to help you and your spouse navigate social media and marriage.
1. Put time limits on social media.
Putting a time limit on social media not only helps reduce potential eye strain and headaches due to the bright light of the screen. But it also provides boundaries so you can be fully present with your spouse.
2. Consider the accounts you follow.
The algorithm of social media is complex and manipulative. The accounts you follow will continue to show more accounts like it, leading to more temptation, comparison, and distance. So consider what social media accounts you follow. Block and restrict those that don’t honor your marriage and your spouse.
3. Have a conversation with your spouse about social media and marriage.
Sit down and talk through the good sides of social media and marriage, as well as the harmful sides. In vulnerability, talk together about where you’ve felt tempted to use social media in harmful ways in your marriage, and/or how social media has benefited your marriage.
So how do we protect the most intimate relationship, our marriage? We stay alert to the good and potentially harmful sides of social media. We also look to God for wisdom and discernment, remembering that being face-to-face with our spouses and engaging with them emotionally and spiritually is far more rewarding than being glued to a digital screen.
Copyright © 2023 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Brooke Wilson is a content writer and editor for FamilyLife at Cru’s World Headquarters in Orlando. She is newly married to her husband, Perry, and they have a Chocolate Labrador named Willow. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Brooke moved to Florida to pursue writing & editing content full-time. A few of her favorite things are photography, running, and sipping a warm chai latte across from a friend.