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Keeping social media from killing your marriage

Social media has become intertwined with American lives -- and American marriages may be suffering as a result.

Facebook alone has had a damaging effect on a lot of marriages -- it's mentioned in about 20 percent of divorces. There are also dozens of other social media platforms out there, all begging for attention and distracting from your most important personal relationship. Is there anything you can do to protect your marriage from social media?

Of course! Follow this guide:

1. Don't air your grievances.

Nobody's spouse is perfect, but don't complain about yours on social media to other people. Public complaints about your spouse on social media can cause a lot of hurt feelings and embarrassment -- and that might not be easy to overcome with a simple apology.

2. Keep your electronic footprint visible.

Don't hide your passwords (or your phone) and don't block your spouse from seeing any of your messages. Don't routinely delete your conversations with others or stay up late to chat on platforms your spouse isn't on. Keeping secrets erodes trust in a marriage.

3. Acknowledge your spouse.

Make sure that your spouse is visible on your profile. Take time to occasionally post a photo of your spouse or you as a couple -- or simply acknowledge something nice your spouse did for you. Having your spouse visible discourages interlopers from thinking it's okay to try to make a romantic move your direction. Enforcing boundaries protects your relationship.

4. Learn to use the delete button.

If you wouldn't be comfortable with your spouse and someone else in the same room together, delete that other person. For example, would you be comfortable having your ex and your current spouse sit down and chat? If not, it's time to delete your ex off your page. You need to make sure that your spouse is the most important person in your life.

What do you do if social media has already taken its toll on your marriage? If your split is irreversible, separation or divorce is an option. With luck, however, you won't find yourself in that position.

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