When Facebook came out with the Like button, I fell in love.
Interaction became so easy. I could scroll through my news feed, clicking here and there to indicate that I appreciated what someone said, acknowledge that I’d read it, and to serve as a shorthand for LOL on a funny video.
I have always said that the thing I love most about Facebook is the way I can connect with people from such different times in my life. I have noticed, though, that my personal Facebook use has recently involved a lot more Liking and sharing than it has actual connecting.
Easy to Like
Like just makes it too easy to be lazy.
- I can breeze through my news feed without even thinking about it. How many times have I inadvertently Liked a friend’s announcement of a death or divorce?
- My interactions have become superficial. It is easy to give no substance at all. I am not adding to conversations, offering congratulations or sympathy, or acknowledging a friend’s investment of time or heart into writing a post. I have allowed Like to replace me—and I treat my Facebook friends not as people I have loved but as content providers of clever posts and interesting links.
- I interact with just about everything equally. Although I would occasionally make a comment, I give the same surface treatment to just about anything I don’t actively dislike. Instead of supporting my cousin’s bittersweet experience with her son, I gave her heartfelt post the exact same response as I gave that video of the guy cutting up the watermelon while it’s still in the rind (which actually works, by the way!).
- Like makes it easy to surf Facebook casually. Stuck at a train crossing? Standing in line at the grocery store? I can check Facebook and Like a whole bunch of stuff. I’ve treated my friends as commercial breaks from life rather than as people worthy of my time.
I know that others use Like more judiciously than I do. However, judging my comments I’ve seen from others (comments on Facebook, naturally), I am not the only one who has gotten a little Like-happy.
I ran across an interesting article last week. The author writes about what happened when she stopped using the “Like” button on Facebook for two weeks.
She identified two benefits of her experiment: a better news feed and greater human connection.
It was one of those articles that immediately intrigued and convicted me. While I don’t care much about the quality of my news feed, I do care about the fact that I was not actively connecting with people in a way that I value.
I decided I would try a Like fast just to see what happened. For the first couple days, I had a twitchy mouse finger. I had a habit of liking, and it was a hard habit to break.
Within two days, I didn’t notice anything different about Facebook–but I did notice some changes in how I used it. I began to pause to make decisions about whether or how to respond to what someone posts. My interactions are fewer, but they are deeper and have substance. I actually think about what is worthy of my time and what is not. I save Facebook for when I know I will have time to respond in genuine ways.
What About Marriage?
The funny (and annoying) thing about paying attention to one area of my life is that I also become more observant of other areas.
To force myself to not let my mouse finger do my talking, I had to pay attention to my internal processing of communication decisions—and that flowed over onto my communication with my husband, too.
Oy. Sometimes I don’t like what I learn about myself. Not only had I gotten lazy using Like to communicate on Facebook, I have gotten lazy in communicating with my husband.
- I often talk to my husband without even thinking about it, breezing through our time together with little thought to what I’m saying. Do I really want to use that time to tell him which pair of tweezers does the best job on my eyebrows?
- My words to my husband have become less substance and more surface lately. With all the distressing stories on the news recently, I had gotten into the habit of running through a list of headlines more than actually discussing any one story.
- I was treating all topics the same. Big Guy’s question about what we were having for dinner did not need the same kind of response as his question about my phone conversation with his mom—yet I gave them each the same treatment last week.
- I have realized that I am not fully present when I’m talking to my husband. He is worthy of my time and attention, yet I’ve realized that I was sometimes treating our time together more as a commercial break than an opportunity to connect with him.
Even worse than all of this, I have realized that these same tendencies have begun to bleed into our bedroom. Instead of being fully present with him sexually, I have allowed myself to become thoughtless, experience our sexual activity on the surface rather than with my heart, respond in similar ways to both quick encounters and long loving ones, and think of our time together as an interruption rather than the main event.
Shame on me.
Liking Is . . . Not loving
Song of Solomon has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is simultaneously symbolic and earthy, pointing me up to my relationship with Christ and to my physical and earthly relationship with Big Guy.
Toward the end of the book is a passage that speaks to me of the strength and depth of earthly love, reminding me not what love is as much as what love does and how it works:
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:6-7
As I have made my journey of healing, I have glimpsed moments where our love and passion for each other is a living example of this passage. Those glimpses keep me reaching for more, and our marriage grows.
Lately, however, these glimpses have been less frequent.
I have been grumbling that my husband has been sexually complacent, taking me and our sex life for granted. While his ability to do that surely is a sign that he finally feels sexually safe with me, it has been disconcerting.
Our bedroom is happy, but not filled as deep with joy and passion as it has been at other times.
It is easy to think of this as on my husband’s shoulders—yet here I am, face-to-face with the realization that I haven’t even been giving my full self to our encounters.
When it comes to sexually interacting with my husband, I have gotten into the habit of Liking him rather than loving him.
Do You Need to Break a Like Habit?
If you are on Facebook and have a Like habit, I encourage you to do a Like fast. I thought it would be an interesting thing to do and didn’t expect to learn anything about myself from the experience. I definitely didn’t expect to realize that I’ve adopted the Like habit with my husband!
Is it possible that you, too, will learn that you Like your husband just a little too much? Just think how much better it can be to experience true connection with love that is strong, blazing, unquenchable, and priceless.
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