Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Not All Roses

"I can't stop the birds from flying overhead, but I can keep them from building a nest in my hair." - Martin Luther

In many instances, Facebook is a fun application. It lets you share pictures and play games with your friends, re-connect with old classmates, make plans for the weekend with pals, and spam your best buds with crazy wall postings. There are a bazillion and one cutesy and/or convenient things you can do to enhance communication with others.

That said, the application is by no means a perfect medium for establishing a "global community," or even a "social network." Its flaws lie in its design; it allows you to search and attempt to add just about anyone who has a profile. This opens the door far and wide for people such as crazy ex-girlfriends or boyfriends and former crushes to attempt to add you, or stalk you, or just try to re-establish a connection with you, potentially in the hopes of reviving a long-dead relationship.

As a wife, I am not happy with this particular feature of Facebook. I am viciously protective of my marriage, and adamantly opposed to anything that would threaten the integrity of my relationship with Hubbs. In order to have a healthy, solid marriage, certain boundaries need to be established between a husband and wife to keep unhealthy temptations and doubts at bay. As Christ-followers, Hubbs and I both believe that we have a supernatural enemy who wants to ruin what God has created in our covenant union. Our job and our commitment is to protect and shield our marriage from this enemy and from the temptations that he throws at us.

In my humble opinion, some of these boundaries that need to be set in terms of Facebook are:
  • Ex-significant others and ex-crushes of one spouse should not be added to his/her friend list. These individuals are not friends; they are previous lovers or potential lovers. These people do not have a relationship with either spouse outside of the context of a previous romantic interest. Therefore, they have nothing to offer to a healthy marriage, and should be avoided lest they introduce an unhealthy element to it.
  • All "private" Facebook communication between a spouse and a member of the opposite sex should be shared with the other spouse. To keep communication open, and to ensure that there is no reason to doubt and every reason to trust, spouses should keep their exchanges with people of the other gender, open and accessible. No secrets.
  • Spouses should not chat with members of the opposite sex through Facebook, or email them outside of the application. Again, there is no relationship or potential for a relationship between these people of the past and either spouse; this is why there is no purpose served in re-establishing contact with any of the "exes". The desire to satisfy curiosities and see how these others are doing is poor justification for opening up one's covenant relationship to temptation or mistrust. If closure is required on the part of a previous significant other, then that discourse should be shared between both spouses, and decisions should be made together as it pertains to future communication. All correspondence should be accessible and shared between both spouses.
I found a fascinating Rabbit Blog article that was quite relevant to this topic, and contained some very insightful ideas that I totally agree with. Some of the liberally "borrowed" excerpts are:

Well, first I have to admit to a prejudice against corresponding with long-lost-friends/lovers/ wannabe lovers out of the blue, fishing for a taste of intrigue, pondering what might have been, revealing true feelings, revisiting the past, etc. Even though these things might start off on pretty solid ground – “Hey old friend! What’s happening with you these days?” -- both parties are always clear on the point where it slips onto shaky territory. “How did you feel back then? Wow, I always thought that…"

You start walking down that path, and things get weird fast. We all google old boyfriends and wonder what they’re doing, without thinking twice about it. And every now and then, maybe someone contacts you out of the blue, and it sends you back to how you felt a long time ago. Things always seem unduly romantic when you look back at them from 15 years later – or unduly tragic, or unduly mysterious.

I think that when your life is stable and predictable, there’s some part of you that wants to be back in that unpredictable, rarefied space where a look makes your heart drop, where you feel powerful and alive and full of lust for someone you can/can’t/shouldn’t have. When you make mundane decisions and complete mundane tasks for a family every day, occasionally your subconscious mind, at the very least, wants to float free in a heavy, romantic, swooning, exotic, youthful mire again.

See, these are exactly the sorts of relationships that we tend to get nostalgic and romantic about: Platonic relationships that never went further, affairs that ended prematurely, even people we always had crushes on, way back when. You’re craving that one split second BEFORE you f**k the guy, and nothing more. Most of us are hung up on that moment, thanks to being flooded with its supreme significance through every minute of our waking hours on earth. That’s the pinnacle, but it’s just one tiny moment, blown out of proportion.

And personally, I have to say that I distrust the man or woman who goes out looking to find old friends or lovers and ends up waxing nostalgic via email night after night as his/ her marriage falls to pieces. That’s the easy road, a distraction from the hard work of sticking with someone, or even deciding not to.

If you mention your spouse but the other person doesn’t like talking about him (or about his spouse), if there’s a lot of “If only we knew!” and “Too bad the timing was wrong!” and rehashing of those one or two magic moments, if you’re laying out your life philosophies like you just started dating or just fell in love, then you’re whipping up intrigue. You’re manufacturing mystery. You’re stirring up a cheap imitation of romance. You’re wanking – not waxing – nostalgic.

Avoiding screwing up your marriage is partially a matter of avoiding situations where the lines are blurry.

That pretty much sums up what I think. I am lucky that Hubbs agrees with me (grudgingly, perhaps) ;)


tejanamama said...

tagged!! c my blog

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me lady???

Are you that insecure about your marriage that you have to know precisely when and to whom your husband is talking too?
"Spouses should not chat with members of the opposite sex through Facebook, or email them outside of the application" Holy crap, is he allowed outside the house?

Let the man breathe, let the temptations come out in the open because if he can't handle them now, he never will, and he'll just do it behind your back.
A viciously protected state is not a state I would want my women to be in.

But then again, as long as you think he's happy, that all that matters I guess!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I'm not insecure, but I am proactive. Nobody enters into a marriage thinking, "I am going to cheat on my SO one day." The road that leads to that often begins with seemingly innocent decisions which, in isolation, may not be anything. However, decisions of that nature in succession could easily lead even the strongest, most faithful person to a point of temptation, or result in an uncomfortable situation where another party ends up developing feelings for the SO.

I have known friends who have been hurt by spouses whose "innocent" email correspondence and online chats with other opposite-gender people have led to near-disastrous results for their marriage. Hubbs and I do not wish to introduce that sort of temptation into our marriage, nor do we need to. He finds enough fulfillment from our relationship that he does not need to email or chat with other women in order to be happy.

I do note, however, that you mentioned your "women" (plural) versus a single woman who might be your SO; was that a Freudian slip, or do you believe that all of the current lovers in your life should be more secure than I? ;)

Also, I have to mention that for one who argues so vehemently for trust and security, your posting as "anonymous" surely doesn't lend you very much credibility!

Anonymous said...

It's not the women you have to worry about...its time that the truth came out and that you knew about it:

Hubbs and I are in love. All those trips to Dev Teach and whatnot were just fronts for us to be able to feed sushi to each other while drinking scotch (well, he drank soda water).

Long have a yearned for a time that we could expose our love to the world and now I must make it known. As its obvious we both love Hubbs equally, I challenge you woman to a leg wrestling competition, with a mechanical bull ride set as a tie-breaker. Winner takes hubbs...and those George Michael tickets.


<3 Donald <3*

*Note - May not actually be Donald posting this.

*Note2 - May be another person who's name starts with D ;)

Justice~! said...

Wow, it's not even my birthday yet, Donald!

Justice~! said...

As to the earlier anonymous dude who was so secure in his relationships he failed to provide his name, I thought I'd chime in, since I'm the husband.

I'm actually in the same boat as my wife; I think there are certain boundaries that should be respected and while not every conversation requires a close monitoring (nor does it), I prefer having an relationship with my wife based on trust and openness. Yes, I do get "let out" of the house, etc. etc. and my life is a pretty free one. Having our relationship be founded on trust and openess means that my wife and I don't need to second-guess each other. It makes marriage a wonderful thing for both of us.

I gathered from your impassioned reply, your failure to mention a committed marriage, and your failure to leave an actual name, that you haven't gotten to that point of security yet! I sure hope you do someday.

Justice~! said...

I should also note that I am in total agreement with the Rabbit blog article. Truer words never spoken.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Anonymous "D" - it doesn't count when you're on his Freebie Five! :P

Anonymous said...

I also want to comment on Anonymous' cowardly response.

Every relationship is different and what works for one relationship doesn't necessarily work for another. However, the foundation of any marriage (and any relationship, for that matter) is love and mutual respect. In Mrs. L's case, both she and Hubbs agree they will respect one another's wishes and limit contact with exes. So obviously, it works for them and their marriage.

Just because this rule doesn't work for you in your relationship(s) does not mean it is an invalid idea. Perhaps you should broaden your views a little and consider that a larger world exists outside of your narrow perspective.


Curlz said...

I am a testament to crossing boundaries - glad you two are on the same page.

However, I've also learned it's important to NOT run (resist the devil and HE will flee from YOU)from temptation, but to stand firm - acknowledge the feelings and get to the root of them.

I've also miraculously learned what it means to be faithful to one person, and it feels wonderful!

Enjoyed your blog off and on for some time, thanx ~ Curlz

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Jo and Curlz - thank you for your comments and support. :) I'm pretty assured in where I stand on this issue anyway, but it is always very affirming to hear from others who support my position whether it works for them or not! ;)

Merci beaucoup....and Curlz - welcome to my blog! :)