Don’t worry this isn’t one of those posts about how I’m going on a social media sabbatical to find myself. As if not checking my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds are somehow akin to a hike through the Himalayas. Although maybe it is? I don’t really know as I have never done either. No, this post is about not letting social media be the focus of your expectations when it comes to your marriage.
Few things will derail the relationship with your spouse quicker than unrealistic expectations. If you let the culture of social media shape your mind’s expectation on marriage, you can get stuck in the #fomo (fear of missing out) mindset. It’s basically a “The grass is always greener” problem where you’re always convinced that everyone else has such a great marriage because of the awesome Instagram photos you see in your feed.
Social media is full of happy families who seemingly have it all together. Husbands who post pictures of their #hotwife #prov31woman, wives who can’t help but feel #blessed living the #momlife. Their kids are always smiling #minime, every woman was up at 5 am working out #beachbody #norestdays, and apparently you are the only one who didn’t get to go out on a fancy date last night #datenight #bae #foodie. I’m laying on the sarcasm pretty heavy, but my point is that social media is a snapshot of our best moments and is in no way a reflection of every moment. If we shape our exceptions based on those snapshots, we will live in a state of discontentment and then we let the #fomo seep in and the questions start. “What’s wrong with our marriage?” “Why aren’t we as happy as everyone else?” “Did I marry the wrong person?” “It’s not supposed to be this hard, is it?” Stop with that. Stop comparing your marriage to the unrealistic expectations you’ve created from looking at your Instagram feed.
A good marriage isn’t something that just happens, it’s something that has to be worked for. A good marriage doesn’t come from how you feel, but from how you act regardless of how you feel. A good marriage isn’t void of conflict, but is forged through conflict. We need to be careful that we aren’t getting caught up in the social media #fomo when it comes to our marriages. A great way to avoid this is to start hanging out with other married couples. Specifically, couples who have good marriages. Hang around them and see what a good marriage looks like between the snapshots of happiness. My wife and I love posting photos of our happy moments, but they are just that, moments. We still drive each other crazy. I still forget to do the things she has asked me 300 times to do. We still argue over stupid things, but that is all part of what makes a great marriage. And when you can get around real people who have real, good marriages, it will help shape your expectations into a healthier view.
So get rid those unrealistic exceptions. Learn to set healthy expectations, and don’t get caught up in the social media #fomo.