Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fighting on Facebook?

I came across this really intriguing article in the New York Times recently that I thought I would share:

When Couples Fight on Facebook

If you don't have time to read the whole article, the gist of it is the growing population of couples who have taken their fights to Facebook in the form of status updates and wall posts. The article highlights one couple who got so direct and blunt in their Facebook argument that a friend had to double check that they knew they were posting things that everybody could read. Another friend expressed concern about their relationship and felt that all they did was fight, based on their Facebook activity.

It's a really interesting article that asks the question if this is healthy activity or not. Never before have marriages been able to air disagreements as quickly and as publicly as they can on Facebook. What do you think? Healthy or not?

Here are some thoughts:

First, what would be the motives of posting an argument on Facebook? For many, as expressed in the article, I think the motive would be to make a case for your argument and gathering support to help you win the argument. This is really not a healthy way too fight. One of the best pieces of advice we have ever gotten about fighting was that too many couples put an issue in between them and both try to win the other person over to their side. But what is better, is to take an issue and put it in front of both of you as you then sit side-by-side to work through an issue together. The previous makes the issue about being right and winning. The later makes the issue about, well...the issue and working through it together.

Second, knowing what it is like to try and work something out over e-mail or text, I would assume that Facebook would be just as difficult, if not worse. You can't read body language and tones; nor can you facial expressions or see emotion in the other person's eyes.

On top of those things being missed, you will also have multiple other voices speaking into your argument. Which, on the one hand can sometimes be helpful but on the other hand we're not talking about a good friend sitting down for an hour or two to give you some honest advice. We're talking about Bill from work whose been divorced twice and is currently dating two girls without their knowing. Do we really want to give him space to respond to our arguments with advice?

I think I would lean towards fighting on Facebook not being a healthy thing.

What do you think?

Jake

4 comments:

  1. Fighting on facebook seems very passive-aggressive to me, and passive-aggressive behavior to me means you're not talking about an issue directly. All not good.

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  2. Not too long ago another article was published about how marriages are destroyed when people start communicating with old flames (or sometimes create new flames) on Facebook. Fighting on Facebook gives people information that they do not need to know. There are people out there just looking for an opening, and if they see a couple are having problems... well, you get the picture.

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  3. Wow Mark, we didn't even think about the fact that Facebook fighting would create opportunities for past relationships to start up again. Very interesting and something to consider.

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  4. I knew a couple who, from what I could see, did most of their arguing on Facebook. It went back and forth for several months, she'd change her status to single, and ask everyone to pick one or the other and unfriend the one you didn't pick. Then he'd post all kinds of terrible things about himself, like he never did anything right. Their insults toward each other were brutal! A few days later, she'd change her status to married again. This went on for months, maybe years. 2 weeks ago, it started again, and the husband killed himself. Such a tragedy, especially since they have 4 children under the age of 11, the youngest being about 2 months old. Now she's broken hearted, and the children will grow up without a father. I love them both, and in the end, everybody has been hurt. I don't see anything good about arguing in front of the whole world! God made marriage to be between 1 man and 1 woman, and their arguements should be kept as that most of the time, and if they need extra help, ask their pastor or a counselor. Maybe someone else's life can be saved.

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The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.