Celebrating the strength of marriage in pictures


Recently, social media has exploded with the “love your spouse challenge.” There are variations, depending on the media platform, but the premise remains the same.


The challenge celebrates the strength and love between spouses.
         
Individuals who aren’t married have even taken the challenge further: celebrating something – or someone – in their lives that makes them happier and stronger. I’ve seen pictures of family members, vacation spots and pets.
 
For some, it has become a trip down memory lane as they dig up older photos to recall a special memory.

Others have taken the opportunity to highlight some of the most impressive achievements and moments in their lives: the engagement, the wedding day, the children, the grandchildren. In other words, this challenge has begun a new trend: the sharing of the importance of marriage and its outcomes – the family unit.

This trend has also reflected a positive change on social media. Rather than simply scrolling through my feed, trying to get around political posts or what I’ve begun calling “negativity about the world” posts, this challenge suggests that social media aficionados are looking for something optimistic to balance out the increasing negativity surrounding them.

It’s certainly made the last few weeks a bit more positive for me: seeing friends and family members share the love they have for one another, in contrast to watching heated debates take place in the comment sections.

So much of life is out of our hands. We literally have no control over some things that happen around us.

Perhaps, in a small way, the kinds of challenges that call to mind the strength of marriage – itself a sacrament and the first gift given by God to his creation with Adam and Eve – are our ways of combating the stress and chaos that seem to be increasing around us. In a published study last month, researchers at the University of Houston and Pennsylvania State University discovered that – for young adults – if the images posted on Facebook are happy, then their relationships are actually happy in real life.

This is contrary to the popular opinion that social media provides a sort of veneer: masking reality by making up for it with overly optimistic images and posts.

Surveying approximately 200 college students in committed relationships, the questions researchers asked measured “relationship authenticity” in reality and online.

The study found that including pictures of yourself with your loved one and admitting to being “in a relationship” predict high relationship satisfaction because it focuses on your own perception of your relationship and makes a public commitment to the relationship. In other words, these actions show that the relationship is important.

Celebrating the private relationship in public seems to be positive, at least scientifically. And why not celebrate the strength of a happy marriage? I say to keep the posts coming! With so much negativity swirling around us, why not control something positive by completing a love challenge?

Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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