We all know there are pros and cons to everything Internet. The digital world is literally at our fingertips, and that means everything — from restaurant phone numbers to inappropriate relationships—are easily accessible.
These are some digital pitfalls that can potentially cause problems within a marriage:
Excessive game or social media use/addiction.
Being constantly interrupted by notifications from social media, texts or games and apps.
Seemingly innocent chatting online or via text can cross boundaries into infidelity.
Relying too heavily on non face-to-face communication can lead to misinterpreted messages and unnecessary hurt feelings and arguments. So much of communication is not in the words alone, but in tone, how it is said or meant and body language.
Airing your dirty laundry is never a good idea. Venting marriage problems in public will likely make things worse, not better. Friends and relatives can fuel the fire or remember the negative things about your spouse long after the conflict has been resolved.
To protect your marriage from these pitfalls, it takes trust and joint effort. Some ways you may be able to help avoid the above dangers are to share passwords, turn off notifications, have plenty of screen-free time together, work together in private to solve marriage problems and avoid seeking out extra-marital relationships.
If you're not comfortable with your spouse knowing everything you are doing online, then you probably shouldn't be doing it. Additionally, if you can't have a conversation without your phone going off or checking notifications, you're not only being completely rude, but you're showing your spouse they are less important than your games or social media.
Using technology isn't all bad. In fact, you can use it to support and show love for each other, if done correctly. "If we use our digital resources positively, they can enhance our relationship and save us time as well," according to www.careforthefamily.org.uk.
Anniversaries, birthdays, job promotions or changes, graduations and other accomplishments can be enjoyed in a way that promotes supporting and loving each other. Make sure you are boosting each other up. However, excessive lovey-dovey comments or revealing intimate details isn't the best idea. It can be pretty annoying, inappropriate or embarrassing to others who read it.
Using Skype, Facetime or other video communication can enhance your relationship while you're apart.
When business meetings, military service or other responsibilities take one or both spouses out of town, being able to have a digital face-to-face conversation can be a nice alternative to just talking on the phone, and sometimes a much cheaper option. Seeing your spouse enhances communication and also helps keep you focused on each other. They've already seen you in your pajamas, without make-up and first thing in the morning, so you don't even need to worry about that. And, no morning breath!
Joint calendars, budgets or to-do lists can keep you up-to-date and on the same page
There are many digital forms that can keep everyone — spouses and children (where applicable) — informed about what is going on. Some online calendars can send reminders about appointments and special events so no one forgets. This can be especially useful for spouses who struggle to remember special dates, keeping them out of the dog house. For obvious reasons, both spouses being aware of the budget and remaining within that budget can save your marriage from misunderstandings and overspending, which can create friction.
Use social media platforms or text messaging to send little notes throughout the day
A simple, "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you" can make help spouses stay connected throughout the day. Little notes can boost your spouse's mood and make their day a little better. We all need to be loved and know that someone cares, especially your own spouse. If you're at work, make sure you only do this during appropriate times, like during breaks or lunch.
Using the digital world to strengthen your marriage is possible and can be a great tool. However, if you fall into the aforementioned pitfalls, it can become problematic. Talk to your spouse and set up boundaries for social media, Internet use and online gaming. If you're struggling, work on it together. But, above all, remember your marriage is more important than any game, app, notification, social media platform or other digital connection.
Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen