When I go to a party with Rob, we tend to go in separate directions and talk with different people. The high point of the evening is always when I wander over to his elbow and intrude on his conversation—seeing the way he connects with, listens to and amuses other people gives me fresh eyes on the qualities I love about him and makes me happier and prouder than ever. The same thing happens when I drop in on his Facebook page or Twitter feed—there he is, entertaining people with his latest quip, offering a word of support to a great cause or cramming a wise and poignant note into 140 characters. Tracking your sweetie's blog, photos or Facebook page is a great way to keep him in your heart and enjoy that renewed appreciation for his wonderful qualities.
Build a Community of Supporters
It takes a village to sustain a marriage as surely as it takes a village to raise a kid. When you know folks are rooting for you, it helps you get through the inevitable hard times and gives you a community to share and amplify your joys. Your online community can be a great, encouraging fan section, especially if kids or work keep you from getting out much as a couple. Rob and I tweet back and forth so frequently that we get lots of affirmation: "It's hard to think of a cuter Twitter couple than @robcottingham and @awsamuel," one person tweeted recently. "Even though I don't know either of them!"
Agree on Limits
When Rob had surgery to fix his double hernias, I was in the recovery room as he woke from his anesthetic. We checked out his incisions together, and he suggested I snap some pictures with my iPhone. "Want me to tweet the photo?" I asked, and he nodded. A few weeks later, a friend commented on the gory snaps, much to Rob's surprise. The anesthetic hadn't fully worn off by the time of our shoot, apparently, and Rob had no memory of the tweeting. In some relationships, tweeting bedside photos would be a major violation; in ours, it was a cause for amusement. Agree on clear boundaries for what can go online and what needs to stay private, or at least offline.
Whether you're looking at your 10th wedding anniversary in the rear-view mirror, or wondering if that guy you just started dating could be the one you'll be with 10 years from now, the Web can help nourish your relationship. Love isn't easy, but the Internet can make it a little easier.
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Alexandra Samuel, PhD, is the director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University and the principal of Social Signal, a social media agency that has launched more than 30 online communities. The mother of two young kids, Samuel blogs about how to make technology a meaningful part of your life, work and world. Follow her on Twitter @awsamuel.