The Place of Privacy in Marriage Marriage is the most intimate of all relationships. Yet it is nurtured by respect for individual privacy. As natural beings, each partner in a marriage has some private space that cannot accommodate the other. Here is an illustration: A partner may know that the other is using the restroom but he or she need not witness, experience or be a part of the other's activity in the restroom. That is a private moment. The profession or employment of a spouse demands that the spouse is, at one time or the other, in a place independent of the other spouse. Such private spaces occur also in the human mind and they reflect in the way human beings act and reason. So, a husband may hold a political view that is different from that of the wife. A spouse may have experiences or mistakes which he or she does not feel like discussing or which he or she wants forgotten. Or there may be thoughts-in-progress which are nurtured in the privacy of the mind. One spouse may prefer to do a thing in a way in that is different from the way the other party would prefer, with no harm intended. A spouse may need some time alone to read a book! These private spaces are the fertile ground where the individual develops to actualize himself or herself. An invasion of such privacies by marriage partners will constitute a barrier to the development and self esteem of the partners. Where each partner is unable to develop because there is a lack of respect for privacies, there can only be a marriage of two unsuccessful and frustrated adults who are unable to make meaningful contribution to the marriage. If we understand that self actualization is one of the top needs of human beings, then it becomes clear that a marriage relationship which obstructs self actualization of individual partners through an invasion of privacies will breed resentment and the relationship will be difficult to sustain. Areas of privacy of one party could be known to the other – they are not secrets. The couple can freely discuss work, aspirations, yearnings, fantasies, fears, escapades, finances, politics, and general views, with each party respecting the position of the other. Secrets in a marriage would be what one party is deliberately doing and, for malicious, selfish or criminal reasons, hiding from the other party. Private spaces, even if not immediately known to the other party, do not bring shame if they eventually become known. While both parties in a marriage should keep their lives and relationship free of secrets, private spaces should be mutually respected. Where privacy is respected, would a partner snoop on the other? Would emails and telephones of another party be rummaged decidedly behind the owner? Wouldn't the other party be allowed some time to himself or herself – to explore talents and develop potentials? While such things as emails and telephone of one party in a marriage should not be out of bounds to or hidden from the other, they need not be pried into. The extent to which a marriage relationship will flourish is determined by the extent to which the private space of each party is respected within the intimacy of that marriage. In marriage relationships, each partner has to let the individual in the other be and blossom.
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