Of all the things I know to be true, I know that a committed relationship whether you call yourself married or not can be a delicate thing at times. At other times it is strong enough to fool yourself into thinking that your relationship is indomitable. No relationship is immortal, married or not. Marriage gives the illusion of security; however, it is the commitment that are the nuts and bolts that keep people together. Those connections of assurances are built on trust, respect, and love. It takes great effort to maintain trust and security in a relationship. It may on the surface seem that love is easy, and love is easy. What is not easy is the day to day living of that adoration when life around you becomes challenging. No respect for each other is relationship suicide.
I recently read an article that listed the five things no married couple should do on social media. (I removed the link to the story as it keeps changing. You’ll have to google if you want to read it.) I found myself agreeing and thinking that four of the five things are not something that should be done at all in public or even in front of close friends in real life or online. In general, if you would not shout it on a street corner in front of your sweet little old granny do not post it on social media. I agree with the article for the most part in the reasons why social media should be considered cautiously in regard to relationships. With that said, I took some time to see past the dire warnings of the article to the practicality of it. What I discovered looking at it through the lens of my own relationships is that online or in person, give respect to your partner, all the time regardless of how you feel in the moment.
Argue in private, no exceptions.
If you and your spouse are in an argument leave it between you two. By taking it to the screen and posting how he or she refuses to listen to your side of the issue, you let your friends know that you are unhappy. The thing about arguing in front of people, on social media or in person, is that the results are the opposite of what you want to happen. You want your audience to take your side. You want to prove to your spouse through the validation from others that you are right. With that attack, you may win the battle, but you will undermine the long term interactions with your partner and whomever you shared with. When the storm passes, and you are back to bragging on your spouse, no one will believe you or worse your partner won’t believe you. Your words become empty.
Passive aggression is one of the most disrespectful things you can do to your partner.
If you are disappointed in something that they have said or done, tell them directly. Do not cloud it in ambiguous comments and posts. Contrary to what you may believe, lovers make terrible mind readers. Also, passive underhanded comments or actions hurt feelings faster than a slap in the face.
Praise in public and be sincere about the words you choose.
If you want your partner to tell you how wonderful you are to them, you should tell them how important they are to you. Bragging just for the sake of your spectators to see what a wonderful person you chose to be with is meaningless. If you want your person to know that they are worth everything to you, you must mean what you say. Also, the phrase, “Get a room” comes to mind. There is a fine line between telling your spouse how amazing they are for the world to overhear and sharing intimate things that should remain private.
Tighten the ties that bind and the seams that connect you in private.
Some things should remain between the two of you and should only be shared in cloistered moments. Yes, I am talking about physical intimacy; however, not just that but emotions as well. Every couple should have rituals, words, and actions that are solely for each other. My husband and I make time every day for each other. It is most often in the morning before we give any of ourselves to the world. I hear you, who has time for that, you ask. Couples are often lucky to have five minutes together with today’s busy work schedules. Add in kids to the mix and exhaustion that follows, time together is often slim to none. That is why some things must remain sacred to you as a couple in the small minutes that you share.
A little respect goes a long way in strengthening your relationship.
I know every password my husband has on every device and app. They are almost all duplicates of my own. I know I can pick up his phone and see exactly who he has talked too, however, I don’t. Snooping tells them that you do not trust them even if you do. Often you will see some benign comment and think it means something different than was intended. Remember that texting is a brilliant was to miss-communicate how you feel and to misconstrue what other people mean. On the flip side, when you post or text, be mindful of the words you use with people who are not your spouse. That old friend from high school may be beautiful or handsome. Do not use the same phrase to compliment them that you just spoke to your spouse that morning. Remember, keep some consecrated words just for your partner that you never use flippantly with anyone else.
Transparency for your significant other in all things is a non negotiable.
The fifth item on the do not do list for married couples and social media says do not have shared social media accounts. I disagree that it should be a blanketed no-no for everyone. For some people, it is a method of transparency that shows they have nothing to hide and the shared account thing works for them. The article argues that it is difficult for your friends. If this is what you and your spouse want to do, put that first before the convenience for your friends. True friends won’t care.
“Having transparency and honesty in your marriage is an admirable attribute, but there is something to be said about maintaining your own privacy even after you get married.”
That “something to be said” is simply this: If your privacy becomes more important to you than your love for your spouse or more vital to your daily life than your partner’s well being, you have much bigger issues. Facts are if you or your partner are hiding things online or in real life, you have other troubles to face.
Relationships and marriages built on respect, that continue to fortify that respect online and in real life are healthy happy partnerships. Love will flourish there, and trust will come unpretentious.
Believe in a foundation of mutual respect.