Blog PostsMarriageTechnology and Social Media

Should Husbands and Wives Know Each Other’s Internet Passwords?

Login credentials have become a significant part of our everyday lives.  They keep our information safe (supposedly), and allow us access to our accounts from almost anywhere.  But in many marriages, these passwords become a barrier to intimacy.

I know that we’ve all gone security crazy over the past couple of decades, and it’s quite possible you’re thinking I’m nuts to suggest married couples share their account info.  But security and privacy are two different things.  If a person tells me that they aren’t sharing their internet accounts with their spouse because they have reason to believe their spouse will harm them in some way, that makes sense.  You need to be safe.

But when a person tells me that they aren’t giving their spouse access to their Facebook account because they deserve their privacy, I’m calling a flag on the play.

What privacy?  I don’t remember that being part of the marriage deal.  When I get up in the morning, my wife sees me in all my unadorned, pudgy gutted, hairy-legged, bad-breath surrounded glory.  If ever there were a time when she might wish that I would want privacy… that might be it.  But the truth is marriage and privacy don’t really mix.

When you choose to spend the rest of your life in emotionally and physically intimate contact with another person, transparency is simply part of what you bargain for.

When you get married, transparency is part of what you're signing up for. Click To Tweet

My wife and I made a decision a long time ago to share our account information and passwords for email and social media accounts.  There are no corners of the internet to which only I have the key.  As far as I know, my wife might be accessing my Facebook right now.  If she is… good for her.

I want her to feel that she has the ability to see what’s going on in my life.  She can read my emails if she’d like.  She can view my internet history if she wants.  An invasion of my privacy?  I don’t think so.  It’s an invitation to intimacy.

And there’s another added benefit… by giving Wendy access to my internet activity, I have increased my accountability in this area.  It reminds me not to make online decisions I wouldn’t want my wife to see.  That’s a pretty strong incentive to do the right thing.

Oh, I know that we’ve all grown up hearing that “character is what you do when no one else is watching,” but character is also our willingness to invite others to examine our actions.  Chaperones may be out of style in the current dating culture, but you have to admit, their presence did have a way of keeping things G rated.

I know that sharing account information isn’t always possible.  Your work may have strict guidelines about your login credentials and email accounts.  I’m certainly not suggesting you break those rules.

And if you’re in a relationship with an abuser or user who would use your personal information against you or harm you in some way, I’m also not suggesting you give them the keys to your online presence. I’m talking to people like me… people who have recreational accounts—personal email, Facebook, twitter, youtube, etc. People who have no good reason to block their spouse from having access.

If that’s you, I’m just making the humble suggestion that giving your spouse access to your online life may be one of the greatest ways you can build trust in your relationship.

What’s your opinion?  Do you think it’s wise for spouses to share social media accounts and email?

Do you think it’s wise for spouses to share social media accounts and email? Click To Tweet

Disclaimer: This article represents nothing more than my opinion.  Every individual must ultimately determine their own best course of action as it relates to their internet security.

Jonathan Hoover

Pastor, Speaker, Author, Life Coach

Hi, my name is Jonathan Hoover and I have the privilege of serving NewSpring Church as Associate Pastor and Couples pastor.  One of my greatest passions in life is coaching struggling married couples, which led me in 2013 to release my first book “The Blindfolded Marriage.”  Here, at lifeinacrazyworld.com I blog about relationships, life challenges, and personal growth.  I’m glad you’ve come to visit my site.  If you liked what you read here, sign up to receive blog posts via email here.

 

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12 Comments

  • Vicki Berry says:

    I don’t know all of my husband’s passwords, but that is by my choice. I let him handle all the finances, because I tend to overspend, so I don’t want to know the passwords to the online banking. However, if I ask to use my husband’s computer or phone, he has no hesitation in handing it over and leaving his email and Facebook accessible. I have no problem doing the same.

  • Jennifer says:

    My husband will not let me have access to his facebook account. I don’t even ask for his password. I just would like to see who he’s in contact with being that his profile is private, but he refuses. Am I being insecure or unreasonable?

    • Jennifer, I’m cautious here, because I don’t want to answer your question in a way that will create conflict for you and your husband. So, I think the best thing I can do is just answer it in terms of Wendy and my relationship. I do not think it’s unreasonable of Wendy to expect to know what I’m doing online, especially on social media sites. As a matter of fact, I think it’s reasonable that she prefers to have my password. I feel like if I was intentionally keeping Wendy away from my Facebook, that would say a lot more about me than about her. I don’t think that would make her an insecure person. I hope this helps.

      • Jennifer says:

        Also, he told me that he’d never let me see it because of the principle of it. He asked when were I going to stop asking. I told him, until the day I die. Should I really let this bother me, because it really does? This is very important to me, especially since we’ve had past issues with dealing with the opposite sex. I feel that this could be the death of our marriage because we’ve lost transparency. It is also like this with banking and credit cards. It’s like I just have a roommate now. In our over 10 year marriage, it didn’t start like this. I’m really frustrated.

  • Sharon says:

    I used to have the password to my husband’s account and I did not even log on to go snooping but for our taxes then curiosity got the best of me and I did anyway. I saw old emails from when we started seeing each other from his ex about having sex. We were not officially dating but we were seeing each other and I was under the impression that he was not seeing anyone and was done with his ex. This was four years ago, so I was upset and when I brought it up to him, he said he couldn’t remember. He doesn’t believe that was happening and it doesn’t matter it is the past and look where we are. But now he has changed all his passwords. He is not a big fighter and not really said anything. Do I have a right to be upset and should he give me his new passwords?

    • Sharon,
      I can see where that would be really upsetting. I do think the idea of couples sharing their internet passwords is a great way to maintain transparency, but I can’t tell you what you should do for your relationship–that has to be your call. What I can recommend is that you and your husband consider the idea of getting counseling about this issue. Trust in marriage is everything, and when trust is in danger, it pays to get the best help possible.

  • Rauld says:

    Hate to say it but if you can’t be transparent, then someone is hiding something. In these days society gets off on secrets and dishonesty. Ex’s have no respect for your relationship or family, why even keep in contact with them if your trying to build something with your spouse, that should be a chapter in you life that is closed. Having online affair can be just as pleasing as having a face to face relationship. Privacy is just an excuse. I hate social media it can really be a downer for a relationship.
    Rauld

  • Marie says:

    I just read your article and i totally agree with you.. But my fiance dont?.. One day i access into his gmail account and he flipped on me and told me he cant get any privacy??… of course you cant being in a 4year relationship, and you definitely aint getting your PRIVACY NOW that u said that. Lol.. He says im physco and im just accusing him cause im probably at guilt.. Any decent advice?

  • bliss says:

    before i can access his facebook but when i got angry because his officemate sending him some photos that i felt its seducing, he change it and he wont give me anymore.. its hurting so much inside of me specialy where in a long distance relationship…

  • Jax says:

    I’ve been married for a brief 5 months. And all of a sudden I see red flags appearing. He guards his phone like it’s a small child in danger. We’ve had various complications and arguements about the same thing. I saw he recieved a message on snapchat. I then asked him to open the message and he was hesitating. He was scrolling all kinds of different ways to get the message to disappear. I told him to open it and once it was opened he immendiately swiped the convo away. He’s been using Snapchat a lot longer than I have. And all of a sudden he forgot to work the social media account? I think not. He also adds random females on Instagram… and tells me theyre family. Mind you, his siters and other family members aren’t following this person. Just way too many red flags to sleep well at night. He then tells me im insecure and will not give me his passwords. Im being completely open with my insecurity BECAUSE of his actions. He doesnt seen to grasp the idea. Divorcing soon I guess.

    • Jax, I can definitely hear in your words that this is hurting you deeply. It’s tough not knowing exactly what is going on with someone we need to be able to trust. I do want to encourage you, though, that since your marriage is still very new, there’s no reason to give up hope quite yet. I would really encourage you to seek out some help from a Christian therapist who could help you process this–preferably as a couple. Trust issues are hard to resolve, but it can happen.

      For whatever it’s worth, I’m not a fan of snapchat. I plan to write a post on this soon, but I still haven’t found anyone who explain to me what benefit that platform offers someone that isn’t heavily outweighed by the risks.

      Let me recommend one thing to you, and to the others who’ve responded earlier to this thread: you might consider purchasing the book: “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It is like a crash course in understanding how to communicate your expectations to others in your life and respond the best way possible when someone challenges or crosses your “line in the sand.”

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