For communication to work well in marriage it requires a commitment to honesty. But not just dumping honest words in your spouse’s lap; that’s not kind nor smart.
Many misinterpret the scripture, “speaking the truth in love” to mean saying whatever you want to say under the guise, “I’m just being honest!”
No, that is just being selfish and inconsiderate.
Honesty is like attending a play. You set a a specific time to show up and both of you are ready to engage in what is said. You listen for the dialogue and follow the plot line. You grow in your knowledge, care and concern for the characters and what happens next. You’re fully engaged all the way to the final act. You may have missed how it would be resolved. You may have thought the hero was the villain or vice versa. But the end of the play is usually very satisfying. Whether you figured out how it would end or not.
In our marriage conflicts, there will be honest words that are hard to hear. There will be honest words that fall gently like a soft rain. Honesty is beautiful when done right. And it is satisfying when you both stay engaged until the end is clear.
Honesty requires something else to work as well…
Courage. I can remember many times in our marriage when there was something weighing heavy on my heart about something Tom said or did. I had been mulling it over and it wasn’t going away. The more I thought the more distraught I became. Yet I was reluctant to tell him. I didn’t want him to be upset with me. And I had false belief that saying nothing would guarantee peace. It doesn’t work that way.
Then my thoughts would be interrupted with Tom’s predictable question, “Are you okay?”
I had a choice to make; Lie or put on courage in order to answer him honestly without an attitude, and without assumptions that how I see the situation is correct. Remember we’re on the same team reading from the same script. God is the author and director of our marriage. We must listen to Him and follow His lead.
The Bible assures us He will never leave us or forsake us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and oftentimes faith requires us to do hard things, like being honest.