Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares ten rules that will help make social networking “marriage friendly.”
Top 10 Rules for Social Networking and Marriage
1. Make Rules Together – Sit down with your partner and agree to some rules for what you both think should be taking place. By creating rules together you both know what is expected and you’ll have a better chance of actually building trust.
2. Transparency – No secrets; put everything on the table. Give your partner all of your access codes and passwords. On your social networking site, make your partner your first friend along with their family members and their friends. The more they can see what you’re doing, the more likely they are to trust you.
3. No Ex’s – I personally believe you should have a Do Not Call List of certain people that you should no longer have contact with; namely ex-boyfriends and girlfriends or anyone you’ve had chemistry with or been in past relationships with. Don’t play with fire.
4. Create and Honor Couple Time – Don’t spend time online with other relationships when you could be building your closest relationship. Couple time should always trump Facebook time.
5. Schedule! – Online relationships have the habit of expanding to fill the time allotted. If you schedule an hour it will take an hour, if you allow 3 hours it will take 3 hours. Schedule a specific time when you will be online and end it at that time.
6. Set Limits – Social networking sites are just as addictive as video games, surfing the web, watching sports and texting. Set limits for how much, when and where you can go online so your addictions don’t create problems for your marriage. Limits allow you to exercise character and can help you show your partner how important he or she really is to you.
7. Focus on the positive – Commit to only discussing the positive things about your partner when online. Never allow yourself the latitude to discuss your partner’s negative traits or your personal problems with others, no matter how close you feel to them.
8. Share what you are learning – The information you learn about friends and others can be very interesting which is what draws so many to social networking sites. Share some the “gossip” with your partner so you can both feel involved in the lives of your friends.
9. Listen to your partner’s concerns – When one partner feels that enough is enough you must listen. Social networking is something that should enhance your relationship and not detract from it. When one person has a problem, you both have a problem that must be understood and resolved together.
10. Keep it all in perspective – Don’t let your online world take precedence over your real life world. The minute you start to see a distortion in wanting to spend time online chatting instead of dealing with your real world issues, it’s time to take a break.
Matt Townsend is the founder and president of the Townsend Relationship Center, a premier relationship coaching organization. He hosts regular workshops and seminars for couples. The next “Evening with Matt Townsend” is happening on Saturday, May 30th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Noah’s in South Jordan. The cost is $20 per couple. Call to register, or for more information: (801) 747-2121.