Honesty in Marriage
How to Get Back to the Truth
Many people do not realize the degree of harm that a lack of honesty can have on a marriage. Even little white lies have the potential to be harmful.
Honesty Helps Marriages
By being honest in all areas of your life, you can create a better marriage for you and your spouse. Honesty creates a positive example for your children and co-workers as well as your spouse, and helps to make your world a better place.
Help Your Marriage With Honesty
You might be surprised how often honesty is an issue in marriage counseling. People often think they can lie or be dishonest in limited areas and still consider themselves honest. For instance:
- A person tells himself he can have one more beer, which is actually number four (but one was with "with lunch"), and if asked, he tells his supervisor he just had one beer with "lunch".
- A person tells her best friend she'll be out of town and can't attend her party, but the real reason she won't go is because someone she doesn't like will be there.
- A parent writes a sick-note for a child who stayed home to finish his or her project.
What Do Lies Elsewhere Have To Do With Honesty In My Marriage?
Chances are good that if you are lying about one thing that you are telling lies about other things, too. Some of these are probably gray areas where you are telling yourself it's okay. You're not telling an outright lie, but, rather, fudging the truth.
Too often in troubled marriages dishonesty becomes a major issue even though most couples don't recognize it at first. The dishonesty can even begin with a good intention. Perhaps you don't want to hurt your spouse's feelings and you say you had to work late at the office. The truth was that you spent time talking over fishing stories with some office mates, but your spouse might think those people were more important to you than being on time for dinner so you hid the truth and lied. Once you lied and avoided what you expected to be an argument, you were "rewarded" for lying, and likely to do it again.
Doesn't Everyone Tell White Lies?
Don't you think most people who speed imagine most others in their world do also?
Don't you think most people who tell white lies imagine most others in their world do also?
Here is an exercise to do: write down 10 white lies you've told and, if feasible, ask your spouse to do the same. Share the lists and see how many you agree are insignificant.
Dishonesty Has Other Forms
You can be dishonest in many ways other than lying, such as:
- Avoiding an issue
- Distracting your spouse from an issue
- Omitting information
- Focusing on an insignificant part of an issue
- Answering questions with anger to avoid further discussion
- Giving the silent treatment as an answer
If your marital relationship is in bad shape, chances are good that dishonest communication is part of the package.
Honesty is Essential to Rescue Your Marriage
You might not want to hear the answer you already know. However, you must understand that honesty and open communication are essential if you want to stop divorce and rescue your marriage.
If you want to restore openness in your marriage, understand that honesty is more than the absence of lies. Discuss options with your spouse on strategies you will implement to restore honesty and openness in your marriage. Regardless of what you discuss, it will only work if you accept your part unilaterally whether or not your spouse makes changes.
More Work and More Options
Of course, honest communication is not necessarily a cure-all, either. There will probably be additional repair work to get back the love you once had now that you're mired in marriage problems.
Some couples have trouble re-establishing honesty and trust on their own. Self-help sometimes works, and I have written several self-help programs that may help you in restoring your marriage. I also offer marriage counseling and marriage retreats
I wish you all success in re-establishing honesty in your relationship.