The Comparison Game | Social Media and Marriage

Written with love, by Karley Kiker

Oh, man. This is a topic I’ve wanted to touch on for quite some time—almost as much as the selfishness subject—but honestly, I’ve felt a little guilty about doing so because I’m so far from perfection in this area. Then I realized that the lack of perfection is kind of what this whole article is going to be about. So let’s just dive on in.

I frequently struggle with the word “enough” because I don’t feel like I have it. Enough time to accomplish everything on my to-do list. Enough energy to make dinner after working all day. Enough motivation to go to the gym. Enough creativity left in the tank to innovate. Enough emotional capacity to meet the needs of my husband. I could go on and on, but that’s enough “enough” to make my point.

 The Comparison Game | Social Media and Marriage

We live in a world of busy-ness and go-go-go, and it’s easy to arrive at a point of exhaustion. To make matters worse, we’re living in an unprecedented time of comparison. The magazine ads and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows and the “I only wear mascara and Chapstick to look this good” celebrity interviews are still out there, and can still trigger feelings of inadequacy. But, courtesy of social media, it’s also super easy to start measuring ourselves up against our friends and followers (of the real life and Facebook/Instagram variety). At least for me it is, anyway.

Have you ever seen a friend post a picture of beautiful flowers from her husband and felt a little bit sick about it? I have. Have you ever looked at pictures of another couple on some exotic vacation and felt jealous of how cool their trip looked? I have. Have you ever been in the middle of a fight with your husband and posted a picture of the two of you smiling and laughing, because showing the world a picture of you at your happiest is easier than actually dealing directly with your spouse when you’re both at your worst? I have.

Social media can be used for lots of good things, like forming new connections and discovering new inspirations. But if not used with caution, it can also creative a very negative internal narrative that goes something like this:

“Wow, their new house is gorgeous. I’m so sick of our apartment.”

“It seems like they go out all the time. We haven’t had a date night in three weeks.”

“They look so happy. I can’t remember the last time we laughed together.”

 The Comparison Game | Social Media and Marriage

Logging in to Instagram might feel like an escape sometimes, but it can quickly turn into a prison of doubt, despair, and heart hunger if we don’t guard ourselves—and our relationships—against comparison.

In my mind I know that perfection is an absolute illusion, but it’s hard to remember the truth of that statement when I’m surrounded by a pile of laundry that’s three loads high and Instagram is showing me square after square of someone else’s perfectly-kept living room. In this particular scenario, I could: A.) Start feeling really bad about my housekeeping abilities. B.) Start feeling really resentful of the fact that my husband is out playing basketball while I’m drowning in the chaos of our home. C.) Stop looking at Instagram and start giving thanks for everything good that’s right in front of me.

I’m not going to lie to you guys—I’ve chosen options A and B more times than I’d care to admit. But I’m committed to pursuing C. I’m going to give myself and my husband the gift of caring more about what’s really happening between us than how we look to other people. My likes might start to drop as I continue to log off and just live life, but you know what? I think our love will grow. And that’s a trade I’ll take any day.