In a softly-lit apartment, Heather and Adam Balinski hold hands as they sit on worn chairs with their daughter curled up on Adam’s lap. Adam laughed as he joked about creating a special profile picture for the couple’s combined Facebook profile.
He could Photoshop half of his face with half of hers; after all, they were already “one.”
With wedding season ending and engagement season beginning, it’s clear that marriage relationships, especially within the LDS community, are increasingly being broadcast through the growing trend of newlyweds combining their Facebook profiles.
“It was a lovey-dovey thing to do,” said Adam, a third-year BYU law student. Adam and his wife, Heather, combined their Facebook seven years ago, not realizing it would become a popular trend years later.
For the Balinskis, it was just a matter of convenience. Heather planned on deleting her Facebook before their marriage because she didn’t want the distraction Facebook provided. At the same time, she didn’t want to lose contact with her Facebook friends. So combining Facebook profiles seemed to be the perfect solution.
“People have said Facebook can cause problems with marriages and people reconnect with love interests, and that’s kind of an impossibility with a shared account,” Adam said.
Recently engaged BYU student Kristine Bleak agrees with this side of the social issue. Her married family and friends have cautioned her that they had past boyfriends reach out and contact them through social media.
“Of course we both trust each other,” Bleak said. “But if we combine our Facebooks, there’s never going to be (a) temptation to do something else.”
For an example, Bleak referenced Sister Linda S. Reeves’ talk during the General Women’s session of the October 2015 General Conference. The talk stated that “married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media” is a tool of Satan.
None of Bleak’s non-Mormon friends have combined Facebook profiles.
In a non-scientific and anonymous survey, the Universe polled 228 people on Facebook about combining Facebook profiles, and 56 percent of respondents said this trend was “weird.”
“I rarely feel ‘strongly’ about anything on a survey, but I feel compelled to strongly word my response to this,” a respondent said. “Combined Facebook accounts are counterproductive to a trusting marriage. The case could be made that trust is the bedrock of a lasting marriage.”
In the survey, 85 people felt the combined profiles were examples of trust issues, but 59 people felt it was a good idea and a way to show transparency.
When respondents were asked what their personal reason for combining Facebook profiles would be, excluding those who wouldn’t combine their Facebook profiles, 75 percent would do so for transparency and convenience.
“(Combining Facebooks) shows that we’re a team and live one life together rather than separate,” said one survey respondent.