With all the talk about Newt’s idea of a healthy marriage, I thought I’d weigh in. Unfortunately for the purient at heart, what I mean by open marriage is an entirely different thing.
I’ve been having a great debate with another attorney at The Manely Firm, Nicole Elder. This is one of the great benefits of having excellent, bright attorneys at The Firm. Nicole is quite the Constitutional privacy rights advocate. In my argument, I assert the Constitution as well, though from a wholly different perspective.
Before I wax too esoteric, let me cut to the chase. Congress and the General Assembly, with assent from the respective Executive Branches, have determined that it is illegal to spy on your spouse. You can’t hack into their computer to find the dirt on their doings. You can’t put a GPS in their car to find out whether they are stopping off to pick up some milk or really stopping off to pick up something else. I call this law the “Legislator’s Protection Act.”
With narrow exception, tracking your spouse has become a no-no, when, until recently, it was fair game, even anticipated, understood and well accepted should the need or suspicion arise.
This is the essence of the privacy argument that Nicole makes: you have a right to privacy in your person and in your affairs, even from your spouse. I disagree. I think, once married, everything is on the table, even that which is under the table, hence the often expressed sentiment, “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t object to a little search now and then.” If the search is conducted by the police without a warrant, I, too would have my hackles up. But we aren’t talking about Big Brother, we’re talking about your spouse.
I argue that your spouse should be able to track you and hack your computer. I’m aware that this activity could be the delight of a sinister stalker, but if that is the scenario, divorce him, don’t stay married and insist on your right to hide the ball.
Hiding something creates worry. Worry cannot lead to a healthy marriage. There should be nothing to hide. There should be nothing you want to hide. This is one of the tests of how you are really doing in your marriage. If you have something you don’t want your spouse to see (besides her birthday present), then you have a problem in your marriage.
I’ve been working through this issue for some time and I’ve found a solution. We use pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements for other situations, why not this one? The future or existing spouses could agree to the ground rules. Can they have open access to everything? Can they use a GPS? Can they hack into each other’s computer? Better still, shall they agree to have no passwords kept from each other? Will they grant full access to each other’s cell phone and each app attached thereto? Can they agree to grant each other the right to know each other’s whereabouts at all times and each person with whom they are affiliating?
Write it out. Get it signed. Get it on the table so neither of you have to worry about what is going on under the table. Have a trully open marriage.
So there, Nicole. Your turn.