THE MARRIAGE ABCS
Copyright © Ufuomaee
I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said “Honesty is the best policy…“, and I would have to agree. Many people feel that there must be an exception, as it seems that to every rule there is an exception. They suppose that it is not always wise or kind to be totally honest, and argue that it is not always possible to be totally honest either. Some have even gone on to say “be honest about your dishonesty“, because of this belief that absolute truthfulness is impossible and foolish.
There seems to be some wisdom is this reasoning that honesty may not always be the best policy. There appears to be wisdom in the saying that “what they don’t know won’t hurt them…” There appears to be some wisdom in the counsel that “telling him/her the truth now will only make YOU feel better, but will make matters worse!” But again, I have to agree with Thomas Jefferson who is credited with the saying “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom“. Also, Jesus, the wisest of all, said “the Truth will set you free!” (John 8:32).
So, however wise or kind or loving it may feel to think that some deception, some lies, some half-truths is necessary to keep the peace…don’t believe it! The Truth is a powerful Redeemer! Even if it offends you, even if it hurts you, even if it breaks you…it will heal you and restore your relationship, and set you free from captivity to the enemy of your soul – “the father of lies” (John 8:44)!
As Christians, we cannot accept any other policy for intimacy in our marriages. Honesty is the best and only policy. In the absence of honesty, there can be no intimacy. There can be no trust, and as such, there can be no relationship! We should be weary of accepting worldly wisdom, which appears to be wise, but is just foolishness! The truth will hurt, it may even kill you…but within it is resurrection power! Remember, “do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28).
For us to be honest with others, we need to first be honest with ourselves! If we are not being truthful to ourselves, we have no hope of being honest with others. We may begin to apologise, but still justify our actions. We may say we are sorry, but still blame them or someone else for our mistake. We may say we accept responsibility, and own up to everything we did wrong, but still tell ourselves that we were not as bad as all that, and we only confessed for their benefit! No, we need to strip it all down before God and see the truth about ourselves clearly, if we are to sincerely confess and repent of our error.
When it comes to confessing your sin with others, it is best not to overthink it. If you do so, you may want to pad up the truth with lies…to make it easier to swallow, or maybe even deceive the person, by allowing room for misunderstanding, so that you are essentially off the hook – because you did tell them the truth, but they thought you meant something else. It is best to come right out with it. After you have owned up to your error and confronted your dishonesty – speak the truth, owning your fault. Be sincere and humble.
The Bible says “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). If it is good enough for God, it is good enough for men! When you are broken by the truth, and confess your sins to your spouse, they will know that God has forgiven you, and they will be compelled to do the same…because if they do not forgive, they know that they will not be forgiven (Matt 6:15).
Yes, it may take time… They may still be angry and want to vent. Allow them. Don’t run from the consequences of your actions. Face the music!
But what if the issue is not about your fault…what if they are at fault, and you want to confront them about it? What if it isn’t a matter of who is at fault, and just a difference of opinion on an issue? You may wonder if conceding on a disagreement is being dishonest. Or if it would be dishonest to not thrash out every issue when addressing sin in your spouse. This is where applying love and wisdom comes in. Be brutally honest about your faults, but be gentle and tactful with others!
Why the difference? Because you are not God who knows all things, and you may very well be wrong in your assessment! You must always give them the benefit of the doubt, and not take on the role of the Holy Spirit in your spouse’s life, by trying to convict them of sin.
When you have brought up the issue, speaking the truth in love, pray and trust the Holy Spirit to work in them, to bring them to humility and submission to the truth… And when He does, they will come to you freely, broken and contrite to lay all things bear. But if you wrestle with them to be as brutally honest as you have been with them, you may simply cause them to hide more for fear of your judgment and rejection. Persevere to show them, through your example and unconditional positive regard, the way of truth and love.
If you are both Christians, and are led by the Spirit of God, then your relationship will be characterised by:
- Humility. Humility is essentially being honest with yourself. You can’t be humble unless you are honest with yourself. You will see yourself the way God sees you, and you will be convicted of sin, and will confess your faults, even without others pointing it out. If you are humble, you won’t be quick to judge others, but will be gracious towards them, and pray for God to lead them to the knowledge of the truth…and be ready and quick to forgive and restore others when they come for forgiveness and healing.
- Sincerity. Sincerity is an attitude of truthfulness that abides with an honest person. A sincere person is open and free from deceit. They speak the truth with ease, without needing to think of how to present it to others, even when they know that it would hurt. If they are also humble, their words will always be filled with grace towards others, so that though their words convict, they never sting.
- Honesty. Honesty is the absence of deception. A relationship that is characterised by honesty is one where BOTH are humble and sincere. They are open and free with each other, and this makes room for trust to grow!
- Trust. Trust is a seed that only grows in a haven of honesty. As the sincerity of both are tested overtime, their trust in each other grows…and is not easily broken where there is a firm character of humility and sincerity already established. Even if one was to falter, trust may wane, but with the entrance of truth, it will stand strong again!
- Peace. This is the sweet fruit of a relationship where trust grows and abides. You will never need to second guess your spouse. You won’t need to question them on their behaviour. You will KNOW them, in the deepest and truest way. You will have real intimacy, and because you trust them completely, you do not keep anything hidden from them either. And you will be KNOWN, understood and appreciated for all that you are.
If you allow dishonesty to thrive in your relationship, you will never experience this kind of peace and intimacy. Your relationship will be infected with distrust, and will crumble at the slightest infraction. If you personally lack humility and/or sincerity, you have little hope of establishing honesty in your marriage. Even if your spouse is humble and sincere, your insincerity will remain a hindrance to growth in trust and intimacy in your relationship.
Your secrets will become your bedfellows, and they will widen the gap between you and your spouse. First spiritually, then emotionally, mentally and ultimately, physically! They will become your burden, your curse and your nightmare! Don’t give place to the enemy (Eph 4:27). Honesty is the best policy!
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