If there is one rule that I believe is important in marriage it is the privacy rule. That rule states that there is no privacy in marriage. This is hard for some people to accept, but marriage is the type of relationship that requires transparency.

Secret cell phones or credit cards are a good way to destroy your marriage. That cache of shoes that he doesn’t know about? Not a good idea. If you get nervous when your spouse looks over your shoulder while your on the computer, you might want to reconsider what you’re doing. And while privacy sounds like such a basic right and something that should never be compromised, there is no secret worth losing your marriage over.

Every rule has exceptions, though. The following are some notable exceptions where privacy may be allowed within a marriage.

1. The candy cache – If there is a sweet tooth in your relationship, allow them the simple pleasure of hiding candy. In our marriage this is my wife. I’m convinced she has candy hidden throughout the house. Some of this candy will likely be found by future generations when they renovate part of the house. Every once in a while I’ll stumble upon some of it. Her usual response? “Oh, I forgot I put that there.”

2. Childhood collections – This item is for the men. I think one of the first things pre-marital counselors should tell a newly engaged man is “hide your collectibles”. It doesn’t matter if the collection is baseball cards, action figures, comic books or bottle caps. If it can’t be worn there is a high chance the wife will try to throw it out. The best way to avoid that confrontation (one that the man will eventually lose anyway) is to keep the collection’s existence a secret.

But seriously: Do you routinely keep secrets from your spouse? Do you value your privacy more than you value your relationship? Marriage is all about striking a balance and finding what works for you. Just make sure that what works is what works for both of you and promotes an atmosphere of openness and honesty.

What do you think? Are there other exceptions that should be allowed?

6 thoughts on “The Privacy Rule”
  1. I agree with this rule. My number one rule in relationships is RESPECT. If you’re hiding something, it’s either because you don’t trust your spouse or you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. I spend A LOT of time online and I use more than one name online. There is a lot of danger for relationships on the internet. As a matter of fact, I know more than one marriage that has ended in divorce over it. One way we avoid issues with that is that we have each others passwords to EVERYTHING–email, Twitter, Facebook, forums, bank accounts, EVERYTHING. It doesn’t mean we run around checking up on each other (who has time for that), but if one or the other is uncomfortable for any reason, he/she can simply check for themselves what’s going on in their partners cyberworld.

  2. My wife and I have spoken long and hard about this, and we’ve come to broadly the same conclusions reached in the comment above. We’ve learnt that a do-as-you-would-be-done-by guideline works for us, and the intimacies we value in our relationship aren’t for public consumption. We are not the Osbournes.

    The main problem has been discovering exactly where the line of privacy lies, and the only solution we have found that works is talking it out. I don’t think there is a magic short-cut here, and given the surprising things that we discovered about each other, assuming you know how your partner feels about something is asking for trouble down-the-line. I would always ask first, and I know my wife would too.

    1. Assuming is never a good option, is it? Especially in a relationship. I like the fact that you point out this should be a conversation. Too many couples don’t take time to have that discussion.

  3. Totally concur. My hubby is not all that computer literate, he uses my facebook, my email, and can check my twitter stuff anytime he choses. When you have nothing to hide, who cares?
    I once found a stash of cigars, but when I took one for myself he never noticed. ;P

    1. Maybe cigars should fall under the category with the candy cache I mention above? Sometimes I take Kristy’s candy (if I can find it) and she doesn’t seem to notice. 🙂

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