From the Mailbag: Spousal Privacy

From the Mailbag: Spousal Privacy

I saw this question on ImaMother too. I find it interesting that the person posted there and emailed me too. Hmmm. Or maybe someone else emailed me the question for the mailbag? Who knows.

Anyhow. This is the question:

Do you think a wife/husband should have access to the other one’s email and cell-phones? Do they have the right to keep it private or should they be obligated to let them browse their stuff when “in the mood”? I am curious what your opinions are.

Post Written by


  1. Lady Lock N Load says:

    I think that is up to the individual couple.

  2. BS”D
    I see no problems with it. I’m not married yet but I don’t think my feelings will change after it either. If I’m married I hope I’ll trust my husband like I trust my mum and twin sister today. Yes, they’ve all my passwords and usernames, and I’ve no problem that they look in my mobile phone either. I can only talk for myself tough.

  3. Well, it would a problem if one is organizing a surprise party for the other. :)

  4. Rachel says:

    As a general policy in our home (this goes with the kids as well) – we ask each other before borrowing items, using items or perusing notes/phones/computers. It’s a matter of respect for each other, not invasion. If someone (again, kids included) does not want to share/permit access, and noeone has any reason to be concerned, we let it go. If we are concerned about the other person, we may try to encourage them to talk and/or share because we are worried about ‘xyz’. Some things are private and everyone in the house knows not to invade. My daughter has a ‘treasure drawer’ and no one accesses it. I have a folder on my computer labelled “Rachel’s Private” no one accesses that either. We trust each other that there are no secrets (aside from surprise party plannin of course!). and since we respect each other, we respect each other’s space and personal privacy; to which everyone is entitled!

  5. tesyaa says:

    There are laws of lashon hara about megaleh sod (revealing secret information), and I don’t think spousal relationships trump that.

    If your best friend tells you her marriage is in trouble, for example, do you get to share that with your spouse just because she confided in you by email?

    And there are good reasons for personal privacy even when a couple is close, loving and committed. We don’t give up our private sense of self just because we are married. I guess that is along the lines of Rachel’s comment.

  6. I like the way Rachel put it. Asking for permission is the way to go.

    Tesyaa, you nailed it. I started writing exactly what you wrote until I noticed that you had written it.

    Just because a spouse may have no problem sharing their emails with each other, people who send and receive emails to them may very much be bothered by it. Emails are considered a private form of communication and giving access to other parties is not as simple as giving permission to their significant others.

  7. I agree with tesyaa. Many times friends tell me private things, and they don’t expect that they will be shared with my husband. Same with things I tell others.

  8. Babelfish says:

    I think spouses should respect rabbi gershon’s ban on reading other people’s mail. If the spouse agrees, it’s something else…

  9. Ronnie Fein says:

    We never had a rule for this but I would never read my husband’s (or anyone else’s) email or snail mail. We are still two people, after all, even if we are “one” in a marriage.

Leave A Reply