Is complete honesty really the best policy? Some people would say no. They would say that if you were always honest with your spouse, you would always be at odds with your spouse. This actually could be a true statement depending on how you define ‘honesty’ in your relationship.
Some people think it is best to be honest at all costs and in all situations. I would agree with that statement when it comes to answering questions. For example, if your wife comes out of the bedroom in a dress that was a little snug and she asks you “Honey, is this dress a little tight on me?” the answer should be “Yes.”
Some women may be gasping and clutching their chests right now. How could I, as a woman, tell a man to let his woman know that she looks tight in a dress? My response is this: if you don’t want an honest answer, don’t ask potentially hurtful questions. If you ask your husband or your wife a question, be prepared for the honest answer. On the other hand, when you are giving an honest answer, be gentle and tactful (as much as possible). “Yes, honey, the dress is a bit snug” is better than “Yes, honey, that zipper is screaming for mercy!”
So, what if you see that your wife’s dress is a bit snug and she doesn’t ask you your opinion? This is where the lines are a bit blurry. If the dress is only slightly snug and she is modest, it is probably safer to leave it alone. However, if she’s bursting out of the dress and it is an obvious modesty problem, gently recommend that she pick a different dress. She may get mad at you for a while; but, ultimately, you have her best interests in mind and she will learn to trust that you always have her back.
After you are married for a while, you will become more adept at addressing difficult things with your spouse. When Eric brings up areas I need to change (anything from having broccoli in my teeth to me needing to change my tone of voice), I am much less sensitive to his gentle criticisms as I was early in our marriage. As time has passed, I have become more secure in his decision to love me no matter what, so I can take his recommendations and grow from them.
So, why is honesty the best policy? It has a wonderful effect. What his unvarnished honesty has really given me is a strong sense of security in him – knowing that he’ll never lie to me (nor me to him). I can count on him to always tell me the truth and not to flatter me when I need to hear things straight. It is a very comforting and peaceful place to be in our relationship.
Maybe you are thinking, I have no problem pointing out that my spouse has broccoli in his or her teeth, but what if I have sinned against my spouse and I know the truth would really hurt him or her?
There are differing views on situations like these. Some would say you can’t have a close relationship when you are keeping secrets from each other. Others say that there is nothing to gain in your relationship by hurting your spouse, especially since you can’t do anything about your mistake/sin. Since I don’t claim to be a top researcher in the field of psychology and relationships, I can only give advice based on personal experience.
When I have sinned against Eric, even when he did not know about it, I could sense a divide in our relationship. There was no freedom. However, after I confessed my sinfulness to Eric, our relationship was restored. Eric listened and chose to forgive me. He could have taken my mistakes and used them against me, but he embraced me and forgave me.
When your spouse comes to you and contritely confesses that he or she has done wrong to you (e.g., viewing pornography, disrespecting you with friends, lying about where he or she has been, even affairs or otherwise), keep some restraint and show them grace in the moment. Even if you are deeply wounded, show them grace. Why? Because we as Christians are God’s representatives – and think of how much grace He has lavished on you. However, depending on the situation and infraction, counseling may be necessary. You may need to weep openly; but, just as God does not despise a contrite heart, don’t despise your spouse’s contrite heart (Psalms 51:17).
As you prepare for marriage, make it a point to have a no secrets policy with each other. This does not mean that you have to tell everything you think about to your future spouse (though, put yourself in his or her shoes and express it if it is something you would want to know); however, if it is asked, you should not be hiding anything. And before making behavioral choices, ask yourself if the action would please God and your future spouse. If the answer is no to either, you can be assured that it’s likely not a good decision.
A marriage with no secrets is a marriage that has potential for boundless emotional and physical intimacy. When you allow secrets to creep in, you can be assured that peace and connectedness will leave your marriage until the secrets are revealed and reconciliation occurs.
Commit to keeping your marriage secret free and enjoy the joy of a clean conscious before God and your future spouse. If you have the tendency to tell white lies or withhold information from your significant other, resolve this issue and restore complete honesty to your relationship before getting married.
Are you in the habit of keeping secrets from your boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé/fiancée?