Three months ago I found out that my wife had been unfaithful to me…. We have a three-year-old daughter, so when my wife asked me to forgive her, I did and I told her that I would trust her again. But when I asked her to let me look at her social media accounts, she said no because that was private, and that my behavior was excessively toxic. What advice can you give me?

Dear Friend,

Before we make any suggestions, we are going to have to assume that you have not cheated on your wife as she has cheated on you. If, on the other hand, you have cheated, then both of you have broken your vows. In that case, forgiving each other would be a mutual decision and not one-sided, as you imply.

Secondly, we assume that when you asked her to let you see her social media, you offered to let her see your accounts at the same time. Otherwise, your request would have appeared to be an expression of power over her, and possibly even an act of revenge. That could be classified as toxic.

However, if you have never cheated on your wife, and if you did offer to share your accounts with her, then it is likely that she has something she is trying to hide. Maybe she is trying to hide the details of the affair that you have already forgiven her for. In that case, she should completely delete her accounts and messages and start over, giving you the passwords to everything going forward. And you can also delete your accounts if you wish. Either way, she should have the passwords to all of yours.

To help your wife understand why this is necessary, ask her to read Case 272 with you. In that counsel we discussed some of the reasons why it is advisable for couples to have access to each other’s social media and messages, even if they never actually look at the accounts.

To be clear, couples who share a home and family have no reason to keep their social media accounts and messages hidden from one another unless, of course, one of them works in a career that demands confidentiality or security. In that case, there would probably be separate devices for work purposes.

God designed marriage to join together a man and a woman. In fact, His Son Jesus Christ taught that the two become so intertwined that they are like one.(1) The physical coming together represents what should also happen in their hearts and minds. For when one or both of them withhold parts of themselves or keep secrets, the marriage can never be as strong as God intended it to be.

Your wife is trying to put a big virtual padlock on part of her life, and it obviously causes you to wonder what she is hiding. We believe that she has given you a reason to be suspicious.

We wish you well,

1Mt 19:5-6