Finding ‘We-ness’ on Facebook

It all started on our first trip to visit my college friends as newlyweds . My husband and I were spending the evening catching up with my girlfriends and it came up that, somewhere between senior year and my new life as a married person, I had dropped off Facebook. The distance between my old friends and my new life, made it easy for them to guilt me into re-joining. I consented, on the condition that I could simply join my husband Mike’s account. My clever friends came up with some cheesy additions, like making our birthday the date of our anniversary, but from then on Mike became MikeandCaitlin.

CaitlinSix years later I am more connected to Facebook than I would like to be, but that random decision made one night with old friends has shaped our marriage in a big way. Our shared Facebook page has created a sense of we-ness. You see, a college professor once explained that one of best predictors of a successful marriage was the couple’s’ sense of we-ness. How does a couple see themselves as a team? How do others?

Sharing a Facebook page has fostered team spirit between Mike and I, we can feel it and our Facebook friends can see it too. There’s no message that we both can’t see and when one of us posts a status it’s coming from us both. But, whether you have a shared Facebook page or not, sharing your Facebook lives creates that sense of we-ness for a couple and others notice too! Don’t we instinctively worry when a friend’s spouse disappears from shared photos or tagged in status updates?

There is something beautifully unique about every marriage. While we all struggle with areas of weakness in our marriages, it is so important to recognize our strengths and build on them. For my husband and I, connectedness has always been the biggest strength in our relationship. Mike has always shown interest in my interest and more importantly, the people who are important to me. In fact, we have been friends since high school and one of the reasons we started dating was because we never wanted to stop being best friends. We considered that, when you are married to someone else, you can’t also have a best friend of the opposite sex. Now, in marriage, being able to connect to each other’s friends from the past and creating new friends in real life and via Facebook has allowed us to know and love each other even more. Of course, we still have friends that we are close to individually, but we try to make sure that there is never a relationship that is more connected or open than the relationship within our own marriage.

To some, a joint Facebook account may seem overbearing or to overlook the importance of individuality in marriage. But to us, it is another way to broaden our individual view to something much bigger. I have met and come to love so many great people through Mike whom I never would have known or considered a friend without him. Sure, a joint Facebook account sometimes means he gets annoyed when my new favorite blogger fills up the newsfeed and it can be frustrating when I have to give up control of status updates. But in the end, this is just one of many way we can create a sense of oneness to our marriage. It’s a small reminder that marriage means sharing your life, that I am no longer just Caitlin—I’m MikeandCaitlin.

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