Question:

I am newly married and I have an amazing husband. We were in a long distance relationship for two years before we got hitched. We’ve been married only three months now. We don’t have any kids. The only problem I have with him is that I am always open to him, but he is not open to me. I want to tell him my Facebook password and my email passwords but he doesn’t want to know. I have given him my cell phone password but he is not interested. I don’t know his phone password because he has never given it to me and whenever he enters his password he enters it discreetly. He’s very protective about his phone. When he is texting, he is very careful that I don’t read what he’s texting. I don’t like this because then it makes me feel distant from him. I want to feel close to him. Besides this, we are very open with each other and feel comfortable telling each other anything. I don’t know if it’s okay or normal for a husband to not want his wife to know his cell phone password. What should I do?

Answer:

This is becoming more of a relationship challenge these days, as we now live in both a digital and a real world. Knowing you have access to both creates more security and safety in marriage. Some might accuse you of just being insecure, as if that’s immature. However, you are feeling insecure in your new marriage because your husband is essentially telling you that you’re not welcome into part of his life.

Jason and Kelli Krafsky, authors of Facebook and Your Marriage make the following suggestion: “Share your username and password with one another. Transparency is crucial to ensure trust in a committed relationship. Exchanging login information provides accountability and emotional security for both of you.”

Elder Richard G. Scott shared similar counsel when he said, “A husband must have no private, hidden agenda that is kept secret from his wife. Sharing everything about each other’s personal life is powerful spiritual insurance.”[i]

Even though your husband may have excellent reasons for hiding his text messages from you and keeping you out of his phone, shutting you out without any explanation will only heighten your fear. It will be important for you both to take the time to understand why you both have such strong feelings about this issue. You need to hear his reasons as much as he needs to hear your feelings about being shut out.

The process of merging two lives in marriage isn’t something that automatically happens at “I do.” The marriage of two individual lives with different backgrounds, tendencies, personalities, needs, and preferences is a lifelong process that requires tremendous patience, humility, gentleness, and trust. You’ve stumbled on the first of many realizations that your husband isn’t you and doesn’t see things the same way you do.

You can try demanding that he give you his passwords, and he may go along with it dutifully. However, it’s not going to help reassure you about your fears. My hunch is that he has some strong reasons for keeping you out of his phone.

Instead, I encourage you to start by giving him the benefit of the doubt and talk with him about his need to have electronic privacy. He may not even understand his motivations, but talking about it can help you both better understand his and your reactions.

Healthy marriages are built on the secure knowledge that our spouse is accessible and responsive to us. Having access to each other’s lives does provide more security, even if we don’t always know everything our partner is reading, writing, or saying. In fact, the more you’re shut out from your husband’s life, the more you’ll want to know in an effort to know you’re safe in the relationship. Hopefully he can see that the more access you have to his world, the less need you’ll have to see everything he’s doing.

You might find that as you both talk that his reasons for needing privacy make sense to you and it will be easier to give him the space he’s seeking. The reason this will be possible is because he’s now opened up his internal world to you, which gives you more reassurance that you’re safely connected to him. I know you’re not interested in reading every text message or email on his phone. Instead, you need to know he’s open and available to you, even if he needs some personal space. If he continues to block you and won’t talk about this, I encourage you to get some help for your new marriage so you don’t set up long-term patterns of insecurity and mistrust.

Geoff will answer a new family and relationship question every Friday. You can email your question to him at geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Geoff will be holding a 2-day couples workshop in St. George, Utah on April 25-26 to help couples deepen their connection and strengthen their marriages in a fun and interactive setting. Visit www.geoffsteurer.com/marriage-workshop for more information. This workshop is limited to 10 couples.

HMT

About the Author

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in St. George, UT. He is the owner of Alliant Counseling and Education (www.alliantcounseling.com) and the founding director of LifeStar of St. George, an outpatient treatment program for couples and individuals impacted by pornography and sexual addiction (<a href="http://www.


<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />lifestarstgeorge.com/”>www.lifestarstgeorge.com). He is the co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity”, available at Deseret Book, and the audio series “Strengthening Recovery Through Strengthening Marriage”, available at www.marriage-recovery.com. He also writes a weekly relationship column for the St. George News (www.stgnews.com). He holds a bachelors degree from BYU in communications studies and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Auburn University. He served a full-time mission to the Dominican Republic and currently serves on the high council of the St. George, Utah young single adult second stake. He is married to Jody Young Steurer and they are the parents of four children.

You can connect with him at:

Twitter: @geoffsteurer
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[i] Richard G. Scott, “The Sanctity of Womanhood”, April 2000 General Conference