Accountability or Annoying: Shared Email Addresses

Jerod Clark

It’s happened to me more than once.  I get an email from someone I don’t recognize right away.  But after staring at it for a few moments, I recognize the last name of someone I know.  So I open it and realize it’s actually from that person’s spouse...I think.  But on closer look I see the person’s name is actually on the email, squished together in some sort of Brangelina fashion, and I just missed it.  By that point, my fist is shaking in the air while I’m saying, “Silly shared email addresses!”

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.  But it’s true.  I get frustrated by shared email addresses.  I like to know who I’m communicating with.  I don’t want it to be a guessing game.  I’ve usually thought two people sharing an email address came from folks who weren’t tech savvy.  Maybe a wife likes email, but her husband can’t stand computers, so she just tacked his name on to force him into the online world.  (I realize this is a major generalization, but this is why my parents sort of share an email address.)

My opinion has changed a little bit after reading a recent article in the USA Today.  There’s a growing (but non-measureable) trend of Christian couples intentionally sharing email addresses.  For some it’s an accountability issue so neither spouse is tempted to venture into the bad parts of cyberspace.  Others say their lives are open books to their spouse and this is just a means to keep it that way.

While many people interviewed for the story say they never heard a sermon where they were told to do share an email address, Rev. Monica Mowdy has counseled couples to do so.  She says, “You get to the point where openness and daylight in a union becomes more critical than having your corner of privacy.  Whenever you have a place where you can keep secrets, the tendency is to keep secrets.”

How about you?  Do you share an email address with your spouse?  How about a Facebook account?  Is it really necessary to do this?

My wife and I don’t share an email address.  I trust her and she trusts me.  But we do know each other’s passwords for the most part.  Plus we have phones that automatically forward our mail.  If I wanted to see her emails, I could.  Same thing if she wanted to see mine.  Plus, she lets me be her Facebook friend. For me, that’s good enough.

Topics: Online, Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Home & Family, Marriage