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Why Truthfulness is Key to Protecting Your Marriage
In a marriage, it’s important to be both truthful and honest. It is possible to tell the truth and still not be honest. You may not have actually told a lie, but you didn’t reveal everything you needed to reveal. You need to be forthcoming with your spouse, because you hope he (she) will be with you for the rest of your life.
Sometimes you can inadvertently be less than honest about your true feelings because you don’t know how to express them fully. You are not entirely honest if you haven’t shared your feelings and thoughts. A person who never communicates with their spouse cannot be completely honest because total honesty requires good communication.
Here are some things to remember about being honest:
1. Be honest about how you feel regarding the things your spouse does. You have to express your feelings when something seriously bothers you about your spouse’s actions. If you are not honest with him (her) about this, nothing will ever change. Then bitterness and anger can build up in your heart and lead to resentment and unforgiveness. You not only have to know what to say, but when and how to say it. And God will always be the best judge of that. Anytime you need to say something important to your husband (wife) that may be hard to hear, ask God to show you the right time and right way to say it. Ask Him to prepare your spouse’s heart to receive it and give you the perfect words to say so you can speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The Bible says that there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Ask God to help you know the difference between the two. Timing is everything.
2. Be honest about the way you see things. It’s important for each of you to share your thoughts, plans, fears, concerns, hopes, and dreams for the future. You have to get these things out of your heart and into the open. Job said, “I will speak, that I may find relief” ( Job 32:20). And that’s exactly what you will find too. If your husband (wife) is the kind of person with whom it’s difficult to communicate, ask God to break down that barrier in his (her) heart. Outside of going to a counselor who will be able to help you both open up and talk, you need a move of the Holy Spirit to do that, so pray for one. A husband and wife are constantly adjusting to each other in their marriage because no two people are the same or stay the same. But they can never adjust properly to each other if they don’t know what adjustments to make. If one of you is not honest with the other about these things, you can both easily make wrong assumptions and cause wrong adjustments.
3. Be honest about your past. When I first realized that my husband and I were getting serious, I knew I couldn’t go further in our relationship without being completely forthcoming about my past. But before I told him everything, I prayed that God would prepare his heart to receive it and give me the right words and time to say it.
He already knew about my mother, even though he didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of her mental illness until after we were married and we went to visit my parents for a weekend. But there were other things I had to tell him, and I didn’t know whether he would totally reject me because of them. But he was completely accepting of what I told him and said it didn’t change his mind about me at all. It was a great relief to get it out in the open and off my shoulders.
I’ve known other people who had secrets from their past that they never revealed to their spouse until well after they were married, and this late revelation shook the level of trust that had been established early on. Being totally honest about your past helps you to live more successfully in the present. It helps you to better move into the future God has for you. You don’t want to always be looking over your shoulder to see if something is coming back to haunt you. The sooner you are forthcoming, the better.
4. Be honest about everything you are doing. Every lie breaks down trust. And when a husband or wife loses trust, the foundation of their marriage crumbles. Of course, trust can be restored again when the one who is lying confesses and truly repents. If anyone has to lie to their spouse about what they are doing, then that person’s priorities are completely out of order. They are definitely not putting God first above all else.