By Marni Feuerman
Marriage Exper, about.com
Co-Author: Malini Bhatia, Founder & CEO of Marriage.com
After months (or even years!) of planning a dream wedding, and gleefully reading endless articles, joining forums and participating in social media during the pre-wedding process, it can be a bit of a let-down when you realize that once you’re married, it seems like you can only find bad news on the Internet about marriage. Any search you do online results in nasty headlines that can easily brainwash you into thinking that all marriages are doomed, when in fact, marriage is still something most people do successfully!
You do not have to search hard to find Internet headlines focused on divorce and cheating scandals (just look at the recent Ashley Madison scandal and all of the celebrity “conscious uncouplings”). However, at the end of the day, many marriages succeed and add significant value to those who know how to have a successful relationship. The truth is, the majority of people still WANT to get married.
Even though it’s largely believed that “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce,” this “percentage myth” is actually being debunked each year. The fact is, “divorce rates increased in the 1970s and 1980s, but in the last 20 years they have dropped” according to a 2014 New York times article.
That said, there are many married people who seek the anonymous support of the internet when they want to fortify their marriages. Here are some online search suggestions for newlyweds and long-time married partners who wish to strengthen their marriages.
Be a conscious searcher
Everyone sits down at their computer at times and types in a random question. Once you are married, you may wish to be a little more selective in how you search to avoid depressing rabbit holes about divorce, break-ups, and infidelity. That’s just a downer!
The key here is to search effectively for the right type of resource. You can sometimes stumble upon pornography when seeking information on hairstyles, and you can also stumble upon divorce stories when you are looking for anniversary ideas. The critical thing is to learn how to get exactly what you are looking for when you search. Be very specific about your search parameters by using relevant keywords or phrases. Use a minus sign (-) before words you do NOT want to come up in your search like “marriage -divorce” or “happy+marriage -cheating.” This will limit the number of “non- positive” articles or sources you find.
Find like-minded people on forums
When you were planning your wedding you probably found like-minded people to discuss flowers and band choices. Similarly, now that you are married, you can find like-minded people who are interested in discussing how to be a good partner to your spouse. Just like being a “conscious searcher,” finding the right forum requires proper sleuthing. It is relatively easy by typing in “marriage forum” in your search bar, but you can also use a site like dmoz.org, which is a searchable, people-reviewed web directory categorized by language, subject, and location. From here you can view a list of topics or search your own to find both appropriate marriage forums and message boards.
Once you find a forum you feel comfortable with, make sure to abide by all the rules of “forum-ing”: respect the forums’ guidelines (usually posted at the top of the page), be polite, keep responses short and concise and always use proper grammar and punctuation. Forums can be a great way to interact with people with similar views and interests, further supporting and solidifying your goals and beliefs.
Identify a few trusted resources online
When you were planning your wedding, you probably had your go-to wedding websites. Now that you are married, do the same thing for your marriage. You’ll get to know the sites you feel especially comfortable with, but to really hone in on your particular marriage philosophy, you can search based on your individual beliefs on marriage and relationships.
- marriage.com, twoofus.org or marriage.about.com - secular
- growthtrac.com or focusonthefamily.com - Christian
- blackandmarriedwithkids.com - African American
- equallywed.com - LGBT
Help is there if you need it
The best part about the web is that it provides resources at your fingertips. In the same way that brides find wedding planners and caterers on the Internet, you can now find all sorts of marriage advisors on the web. Whether you are looking for expert articles or a marriage therapist, you can find the resources you need. If you do seek professional help, a listing of “marriage-friendly” therapists can be found at www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com and other resources at www.smartmarriages.com.
Nowadays there is no need to wait until your marriage is in distress to seek help and resources easily. Information that can keep marriages healthy is literally at our fingertips. The Internet can be marriage’s biggest supporter - you just have to know where to look and remember to follow the guidelines above when seeking support online.