Culture

Stop Hating on Facebook's 'Love Your Spouse' Challenge

Facebook’s Love Your Spouse Challenge brings to the forefront one of the more useful aspects of the social media giant — it allows users to know which of their friends enjoy kicking over other people’s sandcastles. However, while useful, it’s also one of the more annoying aspects of Facebook. Unfortunately, every playground in which some are busy at the task of frivolity and fun, virtual or otherwise, will also inevitably include those who dedicate themselves to demonstrating how grumpy they are.

If you are unsure of the type of person that I’m referencing, you’re either new to Facebook or all of your Facebook friends correctly believe that the primary function of Facebook is posting pictures of cute animals, cuter children, and soon to be enjoyed meals. For you lucky people, I would recommend waiting until late October to begin poking around Facebook while taking note of those who are oddly upset that Christmas cheer has come into their lives too soon. Except, you don’t need to wait until then. Simply search “Love Your Spouse Challenge.”

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I’m sure that in their puckered up minds, the Facebook grumps scoffing at couples expressing their love have actually convinced themselves that the rest of us find their “sandcastle kicking” evidence of their sophistication. In their minds, their cynicism and almost constant criticism demonstrate their refined tastes. For them, Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook almost solely so that they could have a platform to prove their aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual superiority over their friends.

For example, amidst the many heartwarming photos of spouses engaging in a fun way to declare their love for each other, you’ll find posts like this:

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However, unlike the above post, many of the opponents of the harmless and fun Love Your Spouse Challenge couch their rhetorical sandcastle kicking in more nuanced language. Buzzwords like “real life,” “honest,” and “cliché” are liberally sprinkled into their condescending scolding. But make no mistake, hiding behind the pretense of authenticity not only deserves the pejorative of Facebook grump, but it also reeks of self-righteousness.

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The fuel for much of this hate was generated by a blog post titled “I Cannot in Good Conscience Participate in the Love Your Spouse Challenge.” Based on the post, Melissa (Michigan Girl) apparently believes that what people post about their marriages and/or lives on Facebook is a 100% accurate representation of what goes on behind the scenes. She admits to feelings of inadequacy because others’ “written declaration of true love are forever cascading down my feed.”

I would love to have Michigan Girl’s Facebook feed!

I mean, I have zero desire to read about people’s troubles with their employers, kids, and spouses. If I wanted real life, I’d stay off of Facebook. My favorite posts from my friends are usually photos of their families having a good time, cute things that their kids said, and other ways in which they are enjoying their lives. This is why I’m a big fan of the Love Your Spouse Challenge.

The photos and posts from friends who are demonstrating their love for their spouses are encouraging. Seeing the evidence that even through life’s struggles my friends are enjoying their marriages is extra affirmation of the value of love and marriage. Of course, there are down times. Of course, the people posting pictures of themselves dancing and laughing with their spouses have moments in their marriages that are characterized by tension, disappointment, and even anger. But couples should celebrate as often as possible the moments in their relationships that are wonderful. Thankfully, the Love Your Spouse Challenge provides happy couples an opportunity to proudly state that marriage is a good thing and that it should have its goodness affirmed.

Choosing not to participate in a Facebook’s Love Your Spouse Challenge is one thing; declaring it “stupid” while lecturing people about how marriage and love really work is another thing altogether. Next to no one actually believes that their spouse will see the photos and then think, “Aw, she does love me! Silly me for thinking otherwise. Thank you for saving my marriage, Facebook!” Further, and this should go without saying, not feeling compelled to participate in something does not make that something “stupid.” In fact, calling it “stupid” might very well signal that you are, in fact, a Facebook grump who has the urge to kick over other people’s sandcastles.