Truth is a rare commodity in our world. It is so much easier to shade the truth or out-right lie when we want to get something. But are the costs worth it?
Truth and Marriage
We know that in many marriages, truth is sacrificed to maintain peace and comfort. So why is that?
#1 Truth can be scary. It challenges our assumptions and beliefs.
#2 Truth can lead to conflict. No one likes conflict so there is the temptation to hide/ignore the truth and hope that the peace will continue.
#3 Many of us are people-pleasers.
# 4 Many of us grew up in families that did not respect the truth.
The Fruit of Truth
When we face our fears, learn healthy conflict and allow truth in our marriages we find many good things.
We are challenged to change and grow.
There are fewer secrets that later create conflict.
- The status quo doesn’t become the norm.
- We find greater intimacy in our relationship.
- We develop deeper appreciation and affection between us.
- We have fewer temptations that we face alone.
- We both develop stronger conflict resolution skills
Most of us know God’s word is about truth.
Instead, we should speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
Truth in Love
So what does it mean to share the truth, in love? How do we learn to do this?
My recommendation is to practice by starting with a low-emotion issue.
First, determine the root issue. Focus on that.
Pray about your motives.
- Choose the right time and place.
- Share the issue as a concern.
- Allow your spouse to process the concern.
- If your spouse is defensive, ask what is behind the emotion. Seek to understand. Be patient.
- If your spouse is open, ask them what next steps they would like to take. Be supportive but not controlling.
- Ask how you can help.
- Be a cheerleader for your spouse’s efforts to change.
- Be willing to own your part and make changes too.
Any relationship is only as intimate as the level of truth between the two individuals. – Rob
Then work hard to avoid these common intimacy-killers.
Pointing out the “truth” anytime you feel like it.
Focusing on your feelings when discussing the issue.
- Arguing with your spouse to make a point or win.
- Threatening or demanding they change without owning your part.
- Addressing multiple issues in the same conversation.
Hiding the Truth
Some couples avoid truth because there are hidden rooms in their life. These are secrets, sins, mistakes and embarrassments from the past. We all have them.
We fear that any exposure will embarrass us, make us look bad or cause our spouse to reject, leave, punish or distrust us forever. But that is not true because a loving spouse recognizes the need for grace and forgiveness.
And when we hide we ignore a painful reality. In most marriages, the truth is going to be revealed with or without our help.
And when it does, your spouse will always wonder, “What else has been hidden from me?”
For that reason, your relationship must become a safe place. Each of us must ensure our spouse knows that we will accept and love them regardless of what is revealed. Without that underlying trust, the relationship will continue to avoid truth and keep secrets.
Avoiding the Truth
Many of us have grown up in families that are experts in avoiding the truth. We know how to ignore it, twist it, tip-toe around it and even deny it. Yet we know that those approaches are not godly examples for our marriage.
If that’s your situation, I urge you to get outside counsel and create a plan for bringing truth back into the relationship.
One option is to attend re|engage. It is a great place to practice speaking the truth with our spouse. Plus it is a safe place to reconnect and get counsel.
Devaluing the Truth
Some families cannot conceive of expressing the truth. They believe that white lies and other avoidance techniques are the secret to a happy family.
They might say that it is “no big deal” if they omit or twist the truth in their conversations. But there is always a price we pay when we don’t obey God’s word.
Weaponizing the Truth
Truth can also be used as a weapon to harm others. If our motive is to embarass, destroy or punish someone by using the truth, then we are acting like our enemy who uses a similar technique with us. Truth is not a weapon but a way of life that deepens our relationships.
Questions to Consider
When do we usually avoid the truth in our conversations?
- What do we fear about speaking the truth in love?
- What are examples where our white lies caused problems?
- How can we create a more accepting environment for truth?
- What do we need to change in how we communicate the truth?