Mishaps in Messaging


My wife is not much for talking on the phone. She prefers to text, so she often texts rather than calls. The problem is, if she’s texting someone when we’re together, I have no idea who she’s talking to, because I can’t hear her part of the conversation. This leads me to frequently ask her, “Who are you texting?” (I’m pretty sure she hates this question.)

It’s not that I’m insecure or think she’s up to something secretive. I trust her completely. But it’s like being somewhere with two other people and having those two people talk exclusively to one another while ignoring you. When my wife and I are together and she’s busy texting, I feel like there’s someone else present and I’m cut out of the conversation.

Now let me say up-front that this is not a post telling you to put down your devices, and spend more time talking to your spouse…although we should probably do more of that. But that’s not what this post is about. Neither is this a post about the dangers of on-line emotional relationships or pornography. These secretive practices are most certainly destructive to spouses and marriages. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about making sure there’s full disclosure when it comes to your on-line practices and dialogues…even the simple and seemingly harmless ones like texts, messages, and emails.

You may be thinking, “What’s the harm in that?! It’s just a text from our son, or my boss. Am I suppose to report on every text or every message I receive from everyone?! Every time my phone dings, am I suppose to announce who it is?!”

To be honest with you, I don’t know for sure. I know I’m not talking about implementing some sort of militant and suspicious monitoring of all electronic messaging in marriage. But, at the risk of coming across as some sort of paranoid, electronic messaging nazi, I do believe that when you and your spouse are together, and your phone dings or you’re engaged in a digital conversation with someone, you should let your spouse know who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about.

And as a side note, unless you have some legitimate confidentiality issues related to your work, I do believe your spouse should have the freedom to look at any of your texts, messages, posts, or emails. There are two things that can promote trust in a marriage. One is your behavior and the second is your honesty and openness. Giving full discloser of your electronic conversations to your spouse will help build trust in both of these areas.

This kind of full disclosure when it comes to your digital communication will not only promote trust and accountability, it will have the added benefit of including your spouse in the conversation, and fostering more communication between the two of you.

It’s a simple as letting your spouse know who is texting or messaging, and the gist of the conversation. For example:

  • When your phone dings, you could say, “Oh. It’s Jane. She wants to know how things went at the doctor.”
  • “Bill sent me a message asking what time they’re suppose to be there.”
  • “Oh, it’s my mom. I think she’s a little down today.”

So the next time your with your spouse and your phone dings, be considerate. Remember they’re there and keep them in the loop. Make them a part of the conversation. It may seem unnecessary to you, but it will help to keep you close. And it will keep them from incessantly nagging you with questions like, “Who are you texting?”

P.S. I love you Honey!

Let me know if you have some good suggestions for handling digital communications in marriage…or if you think I’m off track.

Copyright © 2018 Bret Legg