Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Foibles of Facebook Folly - Part 2

To prevent your fascination from Facebook from morphing into a wedge driven between you and your spouse the following must be exercised continually:

1) Remember the rules. Mignon McLaughlin said “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." Remember why you fell in love in the first place and the vows you quoted on your wedding day. Recommit to the vows daily and to making your marriage successful.

2) Rejuvenate the relationship. When I make a point to schedule in date nights filled with conversation and hand holding, and evenings alone on the couch with my husband, our marriage grows. When I work on making my marriage better I contribute to our growing together as a couple as opposed to our growing apart.

3) Refocus when temptation tickles. I joke about the fact that we need to invite John Stamos for dinner, however, if he did come for dinner and my husband left me alone with John, I may decide that John needed a back rub. Case in point, I won’t ever ask John Stamos over for dinner. I avoid situations that may cause my massaging fingers, or thoughts, to wander. No one is immune to temptation, but we all aware of the illuminated exit signs.

4) Regulate media intake. Set a timer. When I limit the amount of time that I spend on Facebook, I make a point to connect with real friends instead of searching for new ones. Since I realize that in just a few clicks I could potentially be on a page I should avoid, I circumvent clicking by staying put and by not sitting in front of the computer for an uncommon length of time. I also turn off my "chat." I don't want to be chatting or exposing my self to being open to chat with just anyone.

5) Realize the repercussions. I imagine sitting my four children down at the kitchen table and telling them that everything that they believed to be true about me and my relationship with their Dad was a gigantic lie. The damage, guilt, tears, anger, and harm, that would ignite because of an affair aren’t worth the cheap thrill.

There are no doubt voids living deep inside stay-at-home moms, overworked spouses, lonely people, and those experiencing marital misery. A door harmlessly unlocked could be pushed open to reveal a myriad of harmful opportunities, when in essence the unlocked door should be a cry for help.

Whether my first love Craig, has grown to resemble Johnny Depp or Ben Stiller doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that I married a man who adores me, thinks I’m sexy, can cook better than Bobby Flay, and is a Christ following man. Although I may be prone to wander, I choose to stay.

"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility." Leo Tolstoy

"I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I'll be the first to admit that it's possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you." Zig Ziglar

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." I Corinthians 13:7

Marriage is more than finding the right person. It is being the right person.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Foibles of Facebook Folly-Part 1

Craig was my first love, and my first kiss as a slight, fourteen year old girl, full boy curiosity. I would walk the mile or so to his house on weekend nights and the two of us would escape to the cab of his father’s Ford to talk. [Ahem]. We were going to get married. This I knew since most of the entries in my yearbook made this future prediction.

After a year into our relationship, my parents divorced. My heart and I moved 20 miles away, and my relationship with Craig ended. I dated other guys, had short and long term relationships, got married, got divorced, fell deeply in love, married again, had four children, and rarely cast a thought in the direction of Craig or our time together. As a happily married woman of 20 years, I had no reason to think about Craig.

One night my husband sat watching a drama on the television in the other room as I sat visiting with friends on Facebook. I began reminiscing about my junior high days and wondered what had become of the friends I held such tight bonds with prior to our move. As I began typing names into the search bar, Craig’s name came to mind. How did he look now after so many years? Was he married? Did he live in my town? Was he fat and bald? These questions plagued me so I typed out his name expecting current photos and information to pop up curing my curiosity. No results. I was still wondered about his whereabouts, so I typed his name into the search engine on my computer, still no results.

I considered for a moment the $2.99 payment which popped up promising more information about Craig but just I was about to probe deeper into my search, I heard my husband’s laugh fill the living room. I stopped what I was doing and rethought my motives. What was I doing? Why was I so curious about Craig, and what would my husband think if he sensed my frantic search. I turned off my computer and joined my husband in the other room, where I confessed the details of my search and assured him of the futility of my actions.

I had no intention of chatting with Craig if my search was successful; however, I am not alone in my being tempted by the titillation of Facebook folly with former lovers and other interesting men who have since been blown into my distant past. It's no wonder that Internet extramarital affairs are rampant, and according to statistics, 1 out of 5 divorces site Facebook as the culprit.

A staggering 79% of the people who cheat on their spouses via Facebook are women. What starts as a curious search often progresses into fantasizing about further connections and physical interaction. The fantasy escalates into chatting, where an emotional relationship is developed, and over time, a physical encounter takes place, resulting in a dissolved marriage.

Although a fascination via Facebook which begins to advance is often difficult to discontinue, Facebook doesn’t cause people cheat on their spouses. Facebook is an instrument, when used incorrectly, can causes men and women to wander, and marriages to disintegrate.

Everyone, while on the computer, should ask themselves, “If my spouse walked in the room and stood behind me, would I feel awkward or embarrassed by what they saw?” Of course the embarrassment of having an 80 pound pig and golden egg on Farm Ville is the exception. Curiosity is often an excuse for something deeper.

Join me for Part 2 tomorrow where I explain the ways to keep your facinations from turning into folly.

Friday, May 13, 2011

White Squares

My kitchen is home to a large, white board, calendar listing the month and each day written with bold, bright colors. Monthly, I scroll the name of each month, grab my desk calendar, and fill in the appointments and scheduled dates for the entire month.

I use the color red to indicate school information; days off, free dress, and hot lunch, among other things, and black is used for baseball; practices, games, batting cages, and snack bar duty. Anything outside of baseball and school is written in purple, brown, green, or blue. With four children living in our home, the calendar is stuffed, the colors pop around the board, and live appears to be chaotic.

Each day our kids look at the calendar to find out what is happening. If the squares were big enough I would include what I am serving for dinner. Wait, if I knew in advance what I was serving for dinner, pre 5:00 p.m. and the squares were big enough, I would include our meals. This would stop our children from asking immediately after they wake up, "What's for dinner tonight?" Does anyone else find that frustrating?

My favorite part of our family calendar are the blank, white squares. Although they are infrequent, I love them. Yesterday was one of those days. I was giddy. We had no place to go, I had no games to attend, we had no appointments, no practices, and the entire day was blank, and white, with a bold black border. Pure joy.

Blank squares are important. Filling up our kids' lives with too much activity isn't good for our family. They need blank squares, and I need to make a concerted effort to place those blank squares deliberately on our calendar.

Are there enough white squares in your life?