It has become my habit to check Facebook updates when I wake up in the morning. One particular morning, I was greeted by a message left by an older close friend, she asked if I saw the status of our mutual friend who´s rebuking her husband for all her Facebook friends to see.
I haven´t seen the status so I went to check this friend´s timeline, and there, I read the very words she used to reprimand her husband. I was astonished. Both husband and wife are professionals. They were teachers in Bangkok until the wife moved to Canada and was recently joined by the husband and their six-year-old daughter.
The wife works as a teacher assistant in a private school in Canada while the husband stays at home, probably because he´s still new in the place and still hunting for a job. This is the message she posted on her timeline.
“It seems like you won the lottery. Life is so unfair. When you were the one working, everything even your coffee I prepared for you. The only thing I missed was to spoon-feed you. Whenever you feel like, you dine outside. But me, I couldn´t dine out by myself alone. You´re the one who has the time to cook, what did you do? You slept. I and our daughter came home late from school and had to brave the rain, when we came home I still had to cook. When you were in Thailand and I´m here in Canada, I regularly sent you money while you enjoyed both your salary and my money. What kind of life is this! You´re living so well on my expense. I pity you.”
Her friends were quick to comment on that post, adding injury to the subject, ridiculing the husband, calling him a traitor, a wise man who certainly used his head on choosing a wife, etc. The wife therefore commented that it´s clear, she´s the one who wasn´t using her head.
When the husband saw the post, he commented with contempt, “Sin commentaries.” But the wife isn´t the type to budge, she answered back, “Do you mean Security Insurance Number (SIN)?” Yet another sarcasm.
The next day, the wife posted a photo of their dinner. She captioned it, “My boss cooked. Sometimes, (Name of husband) needs an iron hand.
I shook my head. I and my older close friend chatted and we talked about how we could help this couple because we find their situation sad. My close friend is a self-confessed marriage counsellor, she tries to help young couples who are having difficult marital issues because her marriage itself has encountered serious trials in the past. (You can read about her story, Surviving Religious Differences in Marriage).
But the problem is, none of us is close enough to her to intervine. She became friends to us through acquintance. We fear that if we try to help by giving unsolicited advice, she may take it negatively and our names will also get broadcasted on Facebook. In the end, we decided we´re not in the position (or probably just not brave enough) to help.
I pondered upon this case for a few days. What could have triggered this wife to wash their dirty linen in public? Is she tired already? Is it too heavy? Would this Facebook circus seriously impact their marriage? How does the husband feel?
As I thought about it, I figured three sufficient reasons why one shouldn´t post about marital issues in Facebook.
“i don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public. they forget that invisibility is a superpower.” — Banksy
1. Washing your dirty linen in public does not put down only your partner, it also puts you down.
Think about it, if you attact your husband or wife by broadcasting your partner´s faults on Facebook, you´re bringing a lot of eyeballs to your marital issues. Not everybody is interested to help. Many of those people on your friends´list will only gossip about you, the news would spread, and some of them will laugh at you. You´re not only embarrasing your spouse, you´re also embarassing yourself.
2. Humiliating your partner on Facebook doesn´t help fix the issue, it will only make matter worse.
If you use public humiliation to bring your message across, you´re missing on one powerful tool that could help solve your issues – proper communication. Your spouse will feel betrayed and unrespected. This can even trigger rebellion feelings.
Apparently, we can´t judge this wife who sought to relieve her anger and frustration on Facebook since we don´t know much of the details. But it makes me ask, could it be that her husband suffers loneliness, if not depression, due to the isolation in a new environment and cold weather? I know how depression and isolation could impact a newly relocated person in the West. Could it be that the husband has insecurity issues given that he used to earn and now he´s a total dependent to this wife? Have they tried to talk about it? Or could it be that the wife is simply tired of her husband´s insensitive nature?
3. Even if you and your spouse will kiss and make-up, you can no longer erase the humiliating words you threw at him/her in public.
Let´s suppose that you and your spouse eventually reconcile and patch things up, do you think you can erase from the public´s eyes the humiliating words you used to rebuke him? How about from your partner´s heart? If your words managed to destroy your spouse´s credibility, would you be able to re-build it?
What are your thoughts? Do you think it´s acceptable to post on Facebook about your serious marital issues? How do you think would public humiliation affect a marriage?