|One in ten interactions in a marriage is not honest. White lies or deliberately omitting information and not admitting mistakes – is being less than honest.
The criterion for a person being honest with you, is that they practice “no deceptions, lead no life apart from you, and do not lie to you.” (The Science of Trust, p.336, Dr. John Gottman)
Honesty is the foundation of relationship. It’s what allows us to lean in and turn toward each other. To have and protect our trustworthiness and create from this, a secure base together.
Why then do we avoid it?
We avoid it in part because we feel vulnerable. We believe we might lose connection with and approval of, our partner.
So some of us might try to stay connected instead by keeping hidden what we imagine won’t be acceptable. Crazy huh? Yep. It’s a short term choice with a significant negative impact. Especially over time.
If you do this because you are afraid of having a conflict, or hearing “no”, or want to avoid punishment or a sense of unhappiness in themselves or their partner – much as that makes sense at one level, when you refuse to stand in honesty, then you have a mask in your life and relationships.
You may indeed have good reason for avoiding the ructions your honesty could lead to. Like emotional or physical safety. That requires even deeper honesty and exploration within yourself in my humble opinion.
There is no doubt being honest can be scary. If you compromise honesty though .. it’s gonna end in tears. I’m unapologetic about how important honesty is. Love is honest – that’s how I see it.
If you are not willing to face or feel or connect in these situations, the common outcome is emotional distance inside you, and a lack of intimacy between you. Basically things get weird! And dull.
On the flip side – if you want more honesty, offer more emotional safety. Modify how you react. Learn to regulate your reactions. In other words if you have trouble not being critical, frustrated or angry, work on that, so you are a safe haven for honest expression.
We build trust and honesty through our response to stuff that is hard to hear, but true.
- Be upfront with your reactions rather than storing them away
- Be ready to hear the truth – even if it isn’t what you like
- Stay up to date – have honest conversations little and often
- Stay out of judging each other – so it is a safe space
- Whatever it is you will handle it or get support to handle it