5 Ways Honesty Improves Marriage
Introduction: Me, the early years…
Trust is very important in relationships. Dishonesty can destroy trust, but full honesty can prove someone trustworthy. Early in my life, I attempted to do something that I knew my parents did not approve of. I was young, stupid, and didn’t fully realize what being a follower of Christ meant back then.
Do you feel the tension of the moment? Does this sound familiar to you?
I remember when I made that choice, I had a since of guilt almost immediately. Stupidly, I pushed it aside. When I was confronted about my choice later, I had an immediate since of fear and anxiety.
I remember my thinking well: “I have been found out! Oh No! What do I do now?”
It’s easy to see now what my fear was about. I was fearful of what I thought would be my punishment, and that my parents would be disappointed. In essence, I didn’t want to lose what was important to me. SO I LIED!
The minute I did that, IT GOT WORSE. I not only received a consequence for my behavior, I also received a consequence for my lying. I honestly wish I had learned my lesson that day. It would have saved me much heart ache throughout my life.
Although it has taken me a long time to grow up, I still have fear when I have done something I think my spouse would not approve of. It’s frustrating, because I do trust my spouse. However, I still am afraid of losing what is important to me. The problem though is not necessarily what I have done, it’s more about following truth than fear!
I hope it is refreshing to be honest here.
What have I learned?
In light of what I just shared, I think we all need to understand 5 principles to help us navigate the assumption that a lie is better than the truth. To go along with my post on the 5 Ways Lying Destroys Marriages, these 5 principles about honesty can be beneficial and help you not have to endure the heart ache and pain of mistrust throughout your life.
Honesty may cause pain, but avoids long term damage, worse consequences, and drawn out pain.
If I had known this truth when I was a kid, it would have saved me some grief. You see, when I told my mom that lie, I thought that I could get away with it. Instead, I endured grounding, as well as hurting my mom and decreasing her trust in me (the other “consequences”). If I only had been honest! I probably would have only received a warning.
I also wish I had understood this when I married my wife. I don’t want to deceive anyone today either. I AM NOT PERFECT. Unfortunately, I have told a few white lies in my relationship that resulted in very similar consequences: a cold shoulder for days, hurt, shame, decrease in distrust, and the need to have an uncomfortable conversation about what I had done. I don’t like to face my shame. No one does. The guilt of lying was still there, and the fear was still there too. Being honest with my wife would kept me from feeling guilt and shame. Honesty would have helped to increase intimacy and closeness. Also, I would have overcome my fear and seen that my assumptions were incorrect.
Honesty builds trust.
As stated above, when you are honest with your partner you build trust. You want to be trusted. How many times have you been upset or seen someone get upset when they say, “I don’t trust you” or “I don’t believe you”? Deception destroys trust. Lying makes your partner uncertain about what you will say or do the next time. I have heard many spouses ask in my office, “How am I supposed to trust them with anything?” However, when you are honest and you are consistently honest, others realize that you are trustworthy. It helps them see your true character and your true desire. If you are dishonest, people perceive your character to be one way and if you are honest, others perceive your character to be another way. You show your true colors as a person depending on which one you choose. More mature and trustworthy people, have little problem telling the truth, despite the consequences. This helps them to be trusted more and more.
Honesty diminishes the need to withdraw or hide and focuses on truth and responsibility.
When I am honest, I am facing my problems head on. At the point of being honest, hiding won’t help. It’s kind of like starting a journey. If I go 10 miles of a 20 mile trip, what’s the use of turning around and going back home. Finish the trip. I need to just go the whole way. Vulnerability is hard, but once you do it, the fear subsides. One of the main reasons we are dishonest is because of fear, but once we are honest with our spouses, we may fully realize that the fear was exaggerated in our own selves. We realize the consequences are not as bad as we thought. We also may see that there are benefits that far outweigh the consequences.
Honesty allows for deeper connection and empowers couples to respond in a healthy way.
Being able to trust our partner helps us feel connected. When we are honest, your partner sees it. They get that it may have been hard for you to tell the truth. They respect your willingness to be honest. Your honesty provides a since of security. We all tend to desire security in our lives. We want to be known by our significant other at the deepest levels. Dishonesty hides. Honesty exposes. How can we know each other at the deepest levels if we hide instead of expose the deepest parts of us.
Honesty portrays selflessness.
When we are honest we let the other person know that they matter to us. How is this? Honesty cares more about how the other person feels than what you retain by being dishonest. If I am dishonest, I am fearful of losing something or receiving a consequence. If I am honest, I desire to be fully known and to disclose my true self, despite the consequences. The Bible says the greatest commandment is to Love God and Love Your Neighbor. Honesty is love for your neighbor. It does not say love your self. Being honest is showing love to your spouse because you don’t desire to hurt them. You desire more to be connected with them than to get away with whatever it is you did.
Next time you start feeling the desire to be dishonest and the fear of consequences arise, fight the urge to tell lies. Be honest with your spouse. Don’t lose the trust they have in you. It is YOUR CHOICE. You choose to hurt them or build deep security with them. Honesty is important to the point that some have said that the problem with humans is their dishonesty with themselves. Your marriage can be great! Honesty is a part of building a deeply connected relationship.
To read the companion post to this article read: 5 Ways Lying Destroys Marriages
My latest series: Improve your Marriage While in Quarantine.
If you need help with being honest and genuine call me 706-955-0230.