Open Communication With Your Spouse
The Complexities of an Open and Honest Relationship
There are complexities to the general thought of having a completely open-book and honest relationship. Sometimes these complexities can be difficult to figure out.
Honesty is Important for Relationships
Honesty is an important part in any long-term relationship. When you think about being honest in your relationship, you have to be honest with yourself first. Some examples of being honest with yourself:
- If you don’t tell because you know your husband would be upset about your having lunch with an old friend, is that an honest omission?
- If you give a half-truth or distorted truth because you know your wife would be angry that you were late for dinner because you leisurely chatted with an office mate, could you describe yourself as being open and honest with her?
Can You Be Too Honest In Your Relationship?
After you blush and hesitate guiltily when your wife is upset at catching you secretly texting someone back-and-forth, and then you tell her the truth that you are planning a surprise party for her, is that too much honesty?
Would you hand your phone to her so she could read the conversation herself? Is that too much disclosure?
Do you tell your husband when one of the men in your office slid past you in a tight room touching you in questionable places? Is that potentially inflammatory information he doesn’t need to know?
Honesty is a Complex Issue in Marriages and Relationships
How does one answer the classic conundrum, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”
Or, how do you answer when your husband asks you to join him in his grief over the recent death of his mother who was totally nasty to you from the day you first met?
What if being completely honest hurts your spouse’s feelings, or worse, comes across as expressing your anger under the guise of being honest?
White Lies or Complete Honesty: What Do You Do?
In general, I recommend authenticity and honesty. You can see from the examples above, though, that a simple answer cannot fit all circumstances.
Even within the realm of being honest, presentation is a major influence in your relationship. My intention here is not to answer the question, but to arouse your awareness of the complexities in asking for an open and honest relationship.
My Recommendation for Honesty and Authenticity
I recommend you open communication with your spouse about honesty and authenticity.
In the dialogue, you can discuss a variety of hypothetical situations. Talk about your desires, and the challenges you think you might face. Use this as an opportunity to expand your awareness of your spouse’s expectations, similarities, and differences.
I wish you all the best in your path to a more meaningful and satisfying marriage.