Category Archives: Hot Topics

Three Tech Challenges Faced By the Modern Couple

Frank Sinatra once sang: “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” However, Sinatra didn’t have mobile devices to contend with. If you throw technology into the mix, the traditional marital arrangement becomes a lot more complex. The fact that you love your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you want them casually flipping through your smartphone and seeing all your personal info. This is one of the many challenges facing new couples in the modern age.

Here are three more tech-related challenges that complicate modern romantic relationships:

Your partner’s devices are not your devices

Even newlyweds need a little elbow room and the need for personal space extends to personal electronics, too. You wouldn’t use your partner’s toothbrush–why have a different policy for their iPad? In a strange way, smartphones and tablets are just as personal, if not more. Contacts, text messages, Facebook news feeds, tweets, and sensitive emails are just a few of the elements that might show up on a partner’s screen when casually activated.

Even if you are more open about these sorts of things, it’s not wise to just assume your partner is. In my house, I open the mail with my name on it. My partner’s mail gets passed on unopened, unless otherwise directed. A similar policy of respect is wise for personal devices. Don’t let your first major argument be over the fact that you thought it would be okay to use her tablet without permission.

Over-sharing on social networks

Social networks are made for sharing. They are so suited for the task that sharing too much personal information is all too easy. Yet, over-sharing can create emotional rifts that damage or even end your marriage. Remember: love isn’t the only valuable commodity in a relationship–privacy and personal space are just as important.

It does not take long before you have enough information about your partner to create some major trust issues. Couples’ sharing random memories, events, or preferences can be embarrassing and even traumatizing.  What you share about yourself should be carefully considered, too. The public disclosures and exhibitionism of your single days may not go over very well in married life. Excellent advice on this matter can be found here.

It might even be prudent to sit down with a couples counselor about some of these matters before they become major sticking points in the relationship. It is certainly appropriate to seek advice from someone who specializes in your areas of interest.

For example, social networking doesn’t have to be a destructive force in your relationship. In fact, online social channels can be used to mend damaged relationships. Case in point: marriage and couples counselor, Dr. Sam Von Reiche, who believes social networks and online software can and should be used for the benefit of a relationship. Practicing what she preaches, Reiche’s unique approach offers virtual psychotherapy services that incorporate Skype, FaceTime, and G-chat.

Tech addiction

How many times have you been to a restaurant and witnessed a couple sitting across from one another gazing lovingly at… their smartphones? It’s even more awkward if only one is doing the gadget gazing. Unfortunately, tech-addicted people usually don’t know they have a problem and it’s all too easy to let a beloved gadget come between you and the person you love without even being aware of it. It’s as if the iPad becomes a third member of the relationship. This Chicago Tribune article is filled with cautionary tales about the deleterious effects of tech addiction on relationships.

In conclusion, let’s remember that technology is neither good nor bad. It is what we make of it. Let’s also remember that the modern couple faces digital distractions that previous generations didn’t have to deal with. Smartphones, social media and other tools and gadgets can present significant challenges to martial bliss. Work together and make the best of technology in your relationships.

Social Media Rules for Married Couples

Newlyweds bring together their past histories in many ways. This is includes social media history. Couples often have a shared reputation based on each individual’s past. Social media is perhaps the fastest and most common way people form impressions of us.

Some spouses may find it difficult to adjust their social media activity in married life. The reasons for this may include:

Struggle to Keep a Personal Identity:

A spouse may need time to understand the shared identity of marriage. Some newlyweds feel a loss of freedom in thinking twice about who they interact with and what they post.

Solutions: Sit down and discuss your social media profiles before issues arise. What is acceptable will vary from couple to couple.  You should get a sense of each other’s comfort level and adapt accordingly.

For instance, your spouse may feel uncomfortable how you are tagged in a friend’s risqué posts. Meanwhile, past photos of club nights, skimpy beach attire or pub crawls may no longer be appropriate as husband and wife. Your current career, family and friends may also no longer reflect these photos.

Here are some tips to adjust your social media profile:

  • Work with each other to remove past photos and posts that make you uncomfortable. Be understanding and willing to compromise. Avoid ultimatums and bullying.
  • Limit how you can be tagged in photos and posts of others
  • Control how searchable your profile is
  • Change your profile picture to portray current life stages. This photo does not have to include your spouse, but consider their input about what picture is appropriate.

Business:

Your work may require heavy use of social media. Facebook and Google + are time and cost efficient ways to brand your business. LinkedIn allows you to quickly network with business contacts. Your spouse may not be comfortable with the comments and interaction on these platforms. An invitation to dinner for a celebration or introduction may be misunderstood.

Solutions: Be sure to separate business and personal accounts on social media. This has benefits for your career and marriage. A Facebook page with personal and business posts has less credibility. This past summer, Film Producer Elliott Broidy had separate social media profiles for two movies, despite being filmed at similar times. The result was more effective branding for each film. Having a distinct presence for your business also makes intentions clearer to visitors.

You should be tactful but clarify the purpose of social media invitations. Ask if dinner invites and trips are spouse friendly, if appropriate.  Tell your spouse about meetings or events ahead of time. The level of comfort will vary with each couple, but being proactive is a best practice.

Friends and Family:

Marriage can be a tough transition for family and friends too. Your parents may use social media to maintain a certain level of contact. Family may post photos and comments about your spouse that cause stress. Friends may also chime in about their opinions of your husband or wife.

Solutions: We can’t control what people post, but their respect of our privacy is an indicator of friendship. You can politely ask friends and family to avoid making mention of personal matters. Avoid getting into social media spats, which simply furthers the problem.

Work with your family or friends in private (email, phone, in person) to solve the problem. If the issue persists, you may reevaluate the friendship.

In some cases, the post may be innocent and simply misunderstood by your spouse. Couples should work together and avoid being oversensitive in these instances.

Summary:

Social media continues to evolve as a business and personal tool. With basic precautions, wedded bliss can also be enhanced with posts, tweets and pins.

What’s a Deal Breaker for Saving Your Relationship?

I have read many articles and books in which couples stated that divorce is not an option. Reading that usually warms my heart, especially in the day and age of microwave weddings, marriages, and divorces. I watched a few documentaries by my friends Ronnie & Lamar Tyler, focusing on marriage and interviewing several couples. In their latest documentary, Still Standing, couples discussed the problems that their marriage overcame, and how they were still standing. Some of the issues included financial problems, career demands, blending families, chronic illness, and infidelity. Yes, relationships can be saved in spite of these challenges. So what’s a deal breaker?

We briefly talked about Evelyn Lozada and Chad Johnson/Ochocinco, and how their marriage was over about a month after it started. The reason the marriage came to a screeching halt was because of a domestic dispute in which Chad headbutted Evelyn in a heated argument. I personally am a firm believer that domestic violence is a deal breaker, and a relationship cannot be repaired afterwards, but I can’t speak for everyone. I assumed that because Evelyn filed for divorce immediately after the incident, she felt the same. I guess I was wrong.

We know the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident that happened a few years ago and how their on and off relationship / love triangle has been going on. Well when they were seen at the Lakers and Knicks Christmas game, and took a picture that went viral on Instagram and Twitter, Evelyn tweeted this:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/EvelynLozada/status/283708533797703680"]

Seeing that tweet disturbed me. Was Evelyn supporting a seemingly toxic relationship after she had ended hers? Well then I got another surprise. I saw Evelyn tweeting between people and Chad. And later saw this tweet:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/ochocinco/status/283736479811923968"]

Living together? I thought Evelyn moved out of their house together, and insisted that she would not go back to Chad, even though he was doing everything in his power to win her back.

Do people make mistakes? Absolutely. Does one bad decision dictate someone’s entire existence and personality? It shouldn’t. However, I just think there are some things you sort of can’t go back on. I can’t speak for Rihanna or Evelyn, especially because I’m not in their Louboutins. I know they both despise the fact that people expect them to be role models when they don’t want to be. But it comes with the territory. So they’re going to get some heat from it.

Some of the situations couples went through in Still Standing are deal breakers. There are many married couples who couldn’t get past an affair, financial issues, and even life threatening diseases. Someone married to their job can be just as much of a no-go as someone married to someone else. My best friend has told me that she would not put up with the things I have put up with if she were married. It’s truly to each his/her own. But where is the line drawn? Is there a line?

Again, I like the idea of divorce not being option. In order for that to work though, both parties need to have respect for the other partner, and there should be an agreement as to what is not acceptable in your marriage. Counseling can work wonders, but is there a situation that can’t be fixed?

Would you take your spouse back after a domestic dispute? What’s a situation you don’t think your marriage could survive?