Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is… honesty. When talking to young couples about desires and expectations for their marriage partner, honesty is often on the list – and if honesty is not, fidelity or loyalty is. We want the security of knowing we can breathe easy and lie in bed at night without nagging fears and unsettled thoughts. Honesty is a significant part of true intimacy.
In addition to expecting and desiring honesty in our relationships, we also need to be careful to ask the right questions. If we first say, “I want you to always be honest with me” and then ask, “So, how many women were you talking to when you met me?” or “You are more attracted to me than you were your last boyfriend, right?” we are asking for a fight (or, at least to get our feelings hurt).
Eric has always prioritized being honest with me and sometimes this comes at a price. I have learned there are certain questions I should not ask if I do not want an honest answer. ~smile~ At times, if I ask a silly question about one of his exes, he might respond with, “There is no good reason to discuss that.” (He’s a smart man.) After all these years of fidelity, there is no good reason to discuss a woman in another state he never sees and with whom he never converses.
(Note: If your significant other frequently brings up questions about your ex or exes, he or she is most likely looking for reassurance of your love and commitment. Be gentle. Put his or her mind at ease. If you believe answering the question will harm his or her heart or the relationship, it is okay to say something like, “I don’t think providing the details you are seeking is in the best interest of our relationship. That was my past. You are my future. I love you.”)
However, Eric is not shy about answering other questions, such as “Do you like this shirt on me?” Knowing how much stock I take in his opinion, I know I may not want to ask his thoughts if I really like the shirt; because, as soon as he weighs in with a, “It’s not really your color,” or “It kind of hangs on you funny,” I will be back at the store, receipt in hand, ready to return it.
Prepare for Certain Questions – or Refrain from Asking them At All
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I once asked him over dinner, “Do you think we would still be married if it wasn’t for God?” (i.e., the commitment we made to God in our wedding vows). Without blinking he said, “No.” Even though I agreed with his statement, his answer still stung (we both know that without God’s grace and loving steadfastness, our marriage would have ended a long time ago). It wasn’t the answer as much as it was the matter-of-factness of his answer; but it left me wishing I had not dredged up that painful question (and his honest response).
Do You Appreciate Frankness in Your Partner?
Throughout the years, I have come to appreciate Eric’s honesty – even though it was foreign to me in the beginning of our relationship and marriage. Being from the South (in the US), we are used to telling “little white lies” to keep the peace and spare people’s feelings. So, when Eric said, “I will always give you an honest answer,” I had to experience his frankness before I fully believed him. And, though there are times I would rather hear a pleasant statement than the truth, I know I can always count on him to tell me the truth – and there is a lot of comfort resting in that.
Time for Some Date Night Questions (for your Creed notebook!)
Have you and your special someone had any quality conversations on the topic of honesty lately? Were you satisfied with what you heard, or do you need to dig deeper? We encourage you to work through the questions below and have as many conversations as you need on the topic, but we also recommend spending a great deal of time watching each other’s lives. When it comes to all the varied aspects of honesty, people need to be both honest in their words and actions.
- Am I comfortable committing to an honesty-only policy in my marriage? (Why or why not?)
- Are there lies which I will tolerate (i.e., turn a blind eye to) and lies which I will not? (Why or why not?)
- What message do I want to share with the world about God’s character through my marriage?
- Does my significant other wish to share the same message?
- Is my philosophy on honesty conducive to this message?
- What, if any, disciplinary measures will we (to the best of our knowledge at this time) use when we find our children lying to us or others?
- Is my significant other honest in situations which do not require verbally lying? Am I?
- Filing one’s taxes?
- Returning an item after realizing the cashier did not ring it up?
- Leaving a note after accidentally damaging someone else’s property?
- Was lying normal or even considered good in my family (or culture) of origin?
- Was it normal in my boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s childhood home?
- Do we want to follow in our families’ footsteps or create a new culture?
- Can I be happily married to someone who ever lies to me?
What Does the Bible Say?
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10, ESV)
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25, ESV)
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22, ESV)
Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. (Proverbs 24:26, ESV)
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18, ESV)
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV)
Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. (Proverbs 16:13, ESV)
The foundation of the Gospel is truth. Gospel means the good news! “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, ESV, emphasis mine) We believe in God the Father, God the Son (i.e., Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit because the Trinity is the truth – and the place from where we all originate. “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” (Acts 17:28b, ESV, emphasis mine) When creating your couple’s and individual’s creeds, will you represent a belief in the power of honesty? Will you promise to be honest to each other (in print for guests in your home to see)? Do you see benefit in declaring an honesty-only policy? Do you have concerns in making such a promise? Or, will your comments on honesty be related to the truth of the Gospel and its power in your life and marriage? How will you represent your beliefs about honesty in your creeds?
Happy Belated Father’s Day!!!
To all the fathers out there, we hope you had a good, restful, heart-warming day yesterday. If you did not get to talk to your dad yesterday (or someone who has been like a dad to you), it is not too late. Parents appreciate appreciation every day! Did your dad or dad-figure teach you positive life lessons about the value of truth and trustworthiness? If so, be sure to thank him. Starting adulthood with those character traits will serve you and your future family well. (cf. Psalm 103:13, Proverbs 1:8, Proverbs 13:1, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 23:22, Proverbs 29:17, Ephesians 6:1-3)
The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty. – Zig Ziglar
And if you learn to have those difficult conversations in a loving, honest, and responsible way, your relationships can become better than you ever thought they could. – Henry Cloud and John Townsend
No legacy is so rich as Honesty. – William Shakespeare
How important is honesty to your relationship?