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What is Your Wife's Phone Number?

Updated on June 25, 2011

The Question Didn't Make Sense in the Past

Until recently the question what is your wife's (or husband's) phone number would not have made much sense for most people as, before cell phones, the average residence had a single phone line with a single phone number for the entire house.

Given the cost of phone service in the era before cell phones and before the break up of the government backed telephone monopoly it didn't make sense for most people to have more than one phone line in the house or separate numbers for each member of the family.

Of course, business people and office workers had a phone at their desk at work, but these were for work and one usually did not (and still don't) give out that number to friends for social calls as leisurely chats with outside friends while at work is generally frowned upon by management.

Do You Know Your Spouse's Phone Number?

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An English Phone Booth in Canada
An English Phone Booth in Canada

Things Were Different Before Cell Phones

In the era before cell phones people would get a phone and keep the phone and number until they moved. Even when a person moved they could often keep their phone number if their new home was in the same telephone exchange area (the exchange being the first three digits of the local phone number). And, until a Supreme Court ruling in the late 1960s or early 1970s ended the practice, most people were not able to own a telephone as phones, like today's computer software, were owned by the phone company and leased to the phone user.

Even if one did find a phone for sale on the market it was usually useless as the phone company owned the phone line and network and refused to allow people to connect equipment not owned by the phone company to the company's lines and network. The result was that people had the same phone and phone number for years. Since phone numbers were closely linked to a household for a long period, people usually remembered their own number and the numbers of close family and friends.

Touch Tone Table Phone
Touch Tone Table Phone

Practically Everyone Has Their Own Phone Today

Today, practically everyone has their own cell phone and it is perfectly logical to ask a person for their wife's or husband's or one of their children's phone numbers as each one more than likely has their own cell phone and own number. Ironically, most people won't know the answer to such a question for two reasons.

First, like shoes or other articles of clothing, cell phones have become common items that people buy, use and discard when the next style comes out and, with multiple carriers to choose from, people often get new cell phone numbers when they get new phones making it impractical to try to memorize their phone number.

Second, while recent changes in the law now require companies to transfer phone numbers from one carrier to another if the customer requests, thereby creating some durability in the numbers, many people still don't know the numbers of family or friends for the simple reason that today's cell phones give people the capability to store their personal phone book electronically in their cell phone meaning that all they have to do is pull up the name of the person they want to call and hit the call button without having to look at, let alone key in the number of the person they are calling.

There is however, a price to pay for this convenience and that is the fact that if you lose the phone or leave it home, you also lose access to the numbers needed to call family or friends.  Of course, one can get around this by keeping a list of numbers outside the phone - the best place is in your email account or other private place on the Internet which allows you to look up the numbers from anywhere in the world where you have access to the Internet.  
Just don't get arrested as the first thing the police generally do when they take a person to jail is to lock up the contents of the arrestee's pockets and then allow them their one phone call.  Reports say that police are encountering increasing numbers of prisoners who don't know the phone numbers for family or friends to call for help.  Compounding the problem is the fact that increasing numbers of people are abandoning traditional land line phones and relying solely on their cell phones for telephone service and there are no directories listing people's name and cell phone number.

Cell phones started becoming popular and affordable when my oldest son was about 16 and of course he got one as soon as he got a job and could afford it. By the time he was 22 he had had as many cell phones and cell phone numbers as I had had telephones and telephone numbers in my entire life.

Today, my wife, each of my four children and I all have our own cell phones. While I can still easily cite from memory the phone numbers that, as a child, I would recite to the operator (this was in the days when you picked up the telephone and waited for an operator to come on the line and say number please) to call my Great Aunt Helen and Uncle Walt (Butler 8 - xxxx), my Great Aunt Abbie (Genesee 5502J) or the number I dialed regularly for years to call my parents while they were still living, I don't have the faintest idea what my own cell phone number is today let alone my wife's number, which I dial regularly, or my children's numbers.

But then, I don't need to memorize my wife's number or my own number as I have both readily at hand in my cell phone.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      why don't you ask your husband what his phone # is

    • privateye2500 profile image


      9 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      I'm so happy you see the point Chuck and that you fixed the issue.

      Good on you! :}

      Best regards, Melanie

      P.S - As for the Poll, it needs 2 more options! :}

      Great Hub BTW.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      privateeye2500 - I do see the problem, now that you mention it. Thanks for the heads-up on this.

      I have removed my parent's old number as that used the same format as we have today and could very likely have been recycled an still in use today by someone else. I also replaced the last four digits of the my Aunt Helen's number as despite the use of the old alpha rather than numeric exchange ID that could be converted to today's format by anyone who knows that format and end up with a current number (there is, of course no area code with it). As to my great-aunt Abbie's number, that is from the old pre-dial days when the number was spoken to a live operator. The four digits in the number have probably been re-used but someone would have to guess the remaining part of the number to get a real number in use today so I don't think I am disclosing a recycled number with this one.

      Thanks again.


    • privateye2500 profile image


      9 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      Chuck said: The only reason I listed the numbers in article is that they have not been in service for at least ten years for my parents and decades..."

      Well that might be true for THEM Chuck but Telcos recycle ALL phone numbers, so the #'s you put up DO, in fact, belong to *someone*...and if some of them have paid to be unlisted...?

      well, you see that is a problem I hope...?

    • privateye2500 profile image


      9 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      Nice hub. I've written a lot of hubs about cell phones myself. I think I should upload my list like you did - I might get a better score!


    • gymerie profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      How sad is it that I don't even know my own husband's cell number off hand- because I just press send!

    • rajkrishna profile image


      10 years ago from Chennai

      good one

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      I too know my best friend from Jr.High School's phone number and they are still the same number after 40 years. Now I do not memorize but let the cell do all the work. I think it is not a good thing because has caused issues from time to time marches on!

      For the record, that 666 fans creeps me!

    • rwbovee profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      This is a very well done hubpage!

    • charanjeet kaur profile image

      charanjeet kaur 

      10 years ago from Delhi

      Interesting hub, its strange i remember landline numbers even my older homes one too.Me and my hubbys numbers are almost same just a difference of last two digits and i always get confused which is mine..

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      10 years ago from France

      Thank goodness we don't have to remember phone numbers any more. Between pin codes and passwords I could not remember anyone's phone number. This is a good reminder to keep those numbers in a safe place somewhere else. Thanks!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      I'm lucky to remember my own number...since the cellphone I hardly remember anyone's number by heart anymore...tsk.tsk.   :o) G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Good point. If asked the phone numbers of 95% of my friends I would not know them. They are in my contact list in the cell phone. If ever I lose that list I'm outta luck and they won't be hearing from me until they have the presence of mind to call ME:-).

      Nice take on this topic! MM

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      10 years ago

      Chuck, what is your conclusion from this hub?

    • LondonGirl profile image


      10 years ago from London

      I've had the same mobile number since 1996, when I was 18. I'm now 31. So yes, I do know it (-:

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      jkfrancis - thanks for the comment.

      In answer to your question the answer is no, I don't know my cell phone number (I do know my home phone number but I rarely call there anymore, finding it easier to call my wife or children directly on their cell phones. Actually, about the only people who I hear from now days on the home phone are recorded messages from telemarketers.

      I too remember the old phones where more than one house shared the same line and each had different rings. We never had those in the city but we did have a party line with four homes on it - however, each one rang separately. Buy, you could hear their conversations if you picked up the phone while one of the other parties were using it (they could hear the click of you picking up and hanging up) much like a home with one or more extension lines now days. My grandmother had a friend who lived on a farm and that phone was on a multiple line with each having a different ring combination depending upon which farm the person was calling to.

      Also, when my uncle graduated from college he got a job with the state highway department and was stationsed in a rural area near Watertown, NY and they had the old country phone system. He was staying with his aunt and would get mad when he called his girlfriend and the neighbors would get on and listen to their conversations. He started making insulting comments about their rudness and his aunt had to reprimand him and tell him that listening in on other people's conversations was not only the custom there but also a major form of recreation in that area.

      Thanks again.

    • jkfrancis profile image


      10 years ago

      When I was a kid - many years ago, so many years ago I don't recall the exact name - we shared phone numbers. One ring meant it was our phone, two rings (or something like that) meant it was someone else's. If you picked up the phone with the wrong ring you could listen to the conversation going on.

      Another question ... Do you know your own phone number?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I rember when I was very young and my parents were looking for a new house one of the questions was "What is the Phone Exchange and would we have to change our phone number. I have a friend, in the military, who has an internet line that is a 715 area code and she lives in Hawaii. This way her friends who have land lines can call her tol free, Her Cell phone is free for the rest of her cell phone friends. She was hoping to use her internet phone when she was stationed overseas to call toll free to people in thestates. Technology is great.

      I do know my wifes phone number it is ***-***-****, and my wife knows mine too it is B2 on her speed dial.

      Another great hub.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Anna marie Bowman - thanks for your comment. The only reason I listed the numbers in article is that they have not been in service for at least ten years for my parents and decades for the other two. Even the area code has been changed on my parent's old number. However, I did find it useful to give my parents' dead number, minus the area code, to Radio Shack when they used to insist on a phone number before they would ring up my purchase. It satisfied the computer but didn't help their market research any.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Now with government's new rule if people can retain their number across service providers then it will be very good for the consumers. One does not have to inform everyone about the new number.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Excellent Hub!!!! I still remember the phone number of my best friend growing up. I won't list it here, as her parents still live there, and amazingly enough, still have that same phone number. People ask me for my number or someone else's number, and I can't even remember it. I have to look it up!!! Every time I add a new number to my contact list on my phone, I make sure to add it to my good, old address book, just in case!! I have bad luck with phones!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      My parents had own of those phones that had been leased by the previous tenants, and when it stopped working we made a trip to the GTE store to by a new phone. It was such a big thing in 1987 to buy a phone and to pick out a new color, and one that had speed dial. Now the modern cell phones we have today just make this experience seem very quaint.


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