“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
~ Virginia Satir
With more than a billion people tuning into Facebook for an average of 15+ hours each month, relationship-building professionals are more actively turning to the social media giant to promote skills that help couples improve communication, problem-solving, and deepen emotional and physical connection.
There’s nothing new in religious groups and personalities such as Focus on the Family, Rick Warren, and MarriageWorks offering scripture-based advice through social media or publishers such as MarriageToday and Thriving Family using Facebook to connect with their readers. But a growing number of secular groups are increasingly turning to Facebook to promote relationship skills research has found effective for strengthening marriages and families.
With more than 16,000 Facebook followers, the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation is among the most popular of relative newcomers to social media. PAIRS offers links to more than a dozen free exercises through Facebook that help visitors learn to improve communication, boost self-esteem, understand and resolve differences, evaluate relationship strengths, craft love-making scenarios, and learn to build the balance in “love bank accounts.”
Author Gary Smalley offers contests and advice to nearly 7,000 fans on topics like improving the honeymoon, dealing with negative people, and choosing words that heal instead of those that hurt.
Another author, Michele Weiner-Davis, helps resuscitate “flat-lined marriages, even when one spouse wants out” to 6,500 fans of her Divorce Busting page while Healthy Relationships California promises to “help make yours great” to their Facebook page’s 5,600 fans. First Things First offers inspiring quotes (“Marriage is a ‘We’ business) and points their 4,900 fans to recommended books and marriage classes.
It’s a safe bet that many thousands of people who are reluctant or unable to learn relationship strengthening skills from counselors or classes will go online to discover practical skills for giving and getting more hugs.