By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Marriage is a partnership. When we say “I do,” we agree to share the good, bad, and ugly. As we go along in our marriages, we may wonder what a full partnership looks like practically? I still have my own email accounts even though I am married. I fill out my own W-2s for work. I make solo decisions about my health and the health of our kids at times. The list of things I do alone even though I am married is long! Even though I am independent in many things, every part of my life is open to be shared with my spouse.
The exact lines of what we share and what we keep to ourselves often vary from couple to couple. Some couples may be super comfortable doing most of their lives independently. They would not expect to share every detail of our days with their spouse. Often, we can become so busy that checking in on the mundane pieces of our day is just not practical.
This may be practically true, but does this mean it is okay to say certain pieces of ourselves are off-limits to our spouses? From a biblical perspective, marriage means our lives become fully open to our spouse. We don’t get to have secret spaces. You may not practically share every detail of our days with each other, but our days, thoughts, decisions, needs, and intentions are something we should be willing to share with our partners.
Trust is built on transparency. When we begin to be secretive about certain aspects of our lives, it is hard for trust to flourish in our relationships. Even if you’re innocent, hiding away parts of yourself makes you appear guilty. All that being said, our phones are where we conduct so much of our business these days!
Making matters more complex, our phones can be a prime source of potential temptation. It can be things as simple as spending too much time and money online shopping to something as destructive as using it as the place where you make plans that lead to affairs or other significant relational breaks of trust. We need to keep each other accountable for our actions on these powerful devices! If anything, we should strategically invite our spouses into the nooks and crannies of our phones to help protect against potential sin traps that can creep into our lives.
Here are some reasons your spouse should have full access to your phone:
1. Transparency Is the Bedrock of Trust
Trust is maintained as long as we are transparent about our actions with our partners. According to experts, healthy transparency in a marriage means that each spouse feels entirely comfortable or honest and forthcoming with the other so that issues are brought up directly. There is no obfuscation, lying, or hiding. This doesn’t mean that you need to be checking each other’s apps every night of the week (unless this is something you agree to and feel is necessary for your specific situation). Personal space is not the opposite of transparency.
It does mean that if your husband decides to scroll through your Instagram direct messages, you will not think twice because there is no space in your life that you need to hide from your other half. Being a trustworthy person means you are always willing to be open with your partner.
2. When Married, What Is Mine Becomes Yours
The Bible describes the mystery of marriage as “two becoming one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This means that what is mine becomes yours. We are acting in unison, sharing our lives and all that is included in them. Practically this means sharing a home, income, children, family, friends, and also means that we share freely about what our online interactions look like.
Being one flesh means that when your spouse asks about your conversations, online interactions, and more, you are willing to share. That being said, in most cases, this should come through a conversation. It just shows consideration to our spouses not to be investigating their personal space without asking. But we should be willing to freely share our space with our partners when they ask to be let in.
The key to success is to show kindness and communicate when we enter each other’s personal space. If we need to check out a spouse’s phone, pause for a second to let them know that you are using their phone. If you find you need some accountability for the actions happening on your phone, then set up an agreed way that you will give regular access to your phone to your spouse, so you both know what the agreed expectations are. Clear communication is the foundation of a strong marriage.
3. We All Need Accountability When it Comes to Technology Use
Our phones are very powerful devices! We can easily get sucked into using them to work when we should be engaged at home, shop when we should be saving money, and scroll when we should be checking in. There are countless other ways the unrestricted internet access we constantly have at our fingertips through our phones can trip us up. Your spouse can offer you digital accountability that can help keep screen time in check. Creating a screen-free time of day in your home is one way to help reduce phone usage. It could be that phones are set in their special place during dinner or after 8 pm to help make sure they don’t suck up all your time together at home.
Giving access to your spouse to your phone can help safeguard you from the temptation to engage with the more destructive parts of the internet. Sharing your messages, browsing history, apps, and more are ways to keep each other accountable.
Practically, sharing apps and phone access can help you stay organized as a couple. My husband and I share Google calendars, photos, email, and social media passwords so we can help keep on top of the many details that we manage through these tools. We also include each other in any text threads we have with opposite-gender friends too. This transparency helps us stay organized and remain accountable to each other. Boundaries, accountability, and transparency are all important things we must consider for everybody who lives in our homes now that screens and internet access are such a big part of our lives. Secret spaces are dangerous when we are striving to avoid temptation in our lives. This is true in our marriages and for our children too!
Taking time to discuss the expectations for digital accountability and transparency with your partner is so helpful. When we know what each of us feels is reasonable when it comes to sharing our phones, we can avoid the feeling that we are being “spied on” or that our spouse is not open enough with us.
If you have concerns about your spouse’s phone usage or suspect that it is a place that they are trapped in sin, it may be helpful to bring in the help of a Christian counselor to help talk through how to rebuild openness and trust in this crucial part of your lives together. We cannot underestimate how important discussing the details of how we are engaging with the digital world is to the health and well-being of our relationships.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Ridofranz
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.