When Facebook first started, my husband and I only recently started dating. It was a great tool in our role leading a collegiate ministry. We were able to connect with old friends. It allowed better communication with family members that lived in various places. The downside was that whenever I began to have doubts in my new relationship, I went to Facebook. This unfortunately made those doubts even worse. It wasn’t until I made three very important changes that my marriage and my self-esteem made vast improvements.
First – I stopped comparing myself to other Facebook friends.
Anytime a Facebook friend posted about their romantic adventure, new baby or grand marriage announcement, my first thought was, “Why can’t that be me?” This became an issue because I became discontent in what was happening in my own life. I also started placing some unrealistic expectations on my husband. I had to 1) remember that people post on Facebook what they want other people to see and 2) remember to trust that things would happen when they needed to. My engagement, marriage, birth of daughter and new job opportunities came when the time was right.
Second – I kept only Facebook friends with positive posts or updates.
This doesn’t mean that I “un-friend” anyone that posts about a bad day or negative event in their life. I do however remove the friends that are consistently posting statuses that are discouraging, upsetting or trying to make trouble. I remind myself that in most cases these are the people I usually would not be hanging around with in person because I want to stay positive and be encouraged. By not having this present on my news feed every time I log in to Facebook, I am able to focus on ways to encourage others and not dwell on things I have no control over.
Third – I didn’t make everything in my relationship public.
When Facebook first started and things were going so well in my relationship – I wanted to tell the world. Unfortunately my husband did not appreciate that everyone knew everything that was going on – especially because it invited them to comment. It was also very hard to not post statuses when things weren’t going perfectly. This, I soon learned, was a huge no-no and there are just some things that friends, family and acquaintances really have no business in knowing. Once I changed this and kept some things in our relationship private, the openness and trust in our marriage grew and vastly improved.