Why Being Honest May Not Be the Best Option in Your Marriage – Inspirational Reads Chapter 9

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I think it would do us all well to filter the things we think before we say them. It seems that it is so common to think that speaking what is on our mind is always a good thing, especially if we are speaking the truth in love. This can be damaging, especially within the context of a marriage.

This brings me to the following question:

Is being honest the most important thing when it comes to communication in your marriage?


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Before you answer yes, let’s talk about this a bit.

While honesty is a vital component in communication with your spouse, I am not sure that I am ready to say that it is the most important thing in that communication. At least not all the time.

I try really hard to teach my kids that speaking the truth in love is not the green light to say whatever you think or feel as long as you say it in a loving way. I think sometimes this is a hard concept for adults to grasp, especially within a marriage.

In general, wives are the communicators in a marriage while the husband seems to have a certain number of words to speak each day. Communication and feeling understood is way up there on the list of things that a wife would say she needs from her husband while I am not even sure that would show up on my husband’s list anywhere, and I think he is in the majority of husbands on that one. However, words are equally powerful to both husbands and wives when we are talking about words that build up or words that tear down.

There certainly is a reason that God created us with one mouth and two ears, and I think it has a great deal to do with how He intends for us to use these things. I believe that we as humans truly should listen twice as much as we talk, at least if we knew what was good for us.

So, back to my original question. Does being honest trump the other parts of communication in a marriage – or in any situation for that matter? hand-83079_1280

I would propose that being kind is the most important key in effective communication in a marriage, and it took me a lot of years to discover this.

There is a difference between telling the truth and choosing to examine whether the things we want to say are truly necessary. There are many, many times that the truth is simply not necessary if we have kindness as our primary focus.

I think it takes a certain level of maturity to be able to discern when to speak and when to remain silent.

Sometimes, one spouse shares something, airs a complaint, or states an opinion in the name of “just being honest,” and greatly damages the relationship in the process. They may think in their mind that they are simply saying something innocent, but in reality they have “just been honest” at the expense of causing hurt for their spouse.

Criticism that is based in selfish concerns, “truth” that is only self-serving, and prolonging an argument in order to get the last word are all situations when a spouse should refrain from being honest.

Relationships are so complex that it would be impossible to cover every possible dynamic here, but the purpose of having this conversation is to challenge the common thinking that all is fair in being honest. Being honest in a marriage is not giving permission to put common sense, selfless compassion, or unconditional love on a shelf while we exercise our “right” to be honest.

Our jobs as wives is to love our husbands, and our husbands are called to do the same. This means that at times we will have to filter our honesty through the lens of being kind. We will have to choose one or the other because there are plenty of times that honesty and kindness just won’t coincide.

The next time you think you are just being honest, pause, and then decide whether you are being kind first and foremost. Determine whether your words are self-serving or are they words that will enrich your marriage.

Choose kindness over being honest when your words have a selfish agenda at its roots. For this reason, there are plenty of times within the life of a marriage when being kind will trump being honest in your marriage.

In chapter 9 of Breaking Busy, the author speaks of effective communication and how it doesn’t include venting. Make sure that you are not just venting words that would be better left unsaid.

This post is reflection of the book we are reading as a book club community. This is the book we are reading.

Breaking Busy

Here is a bit more about our book club…

inspirational reads

This book club is a way of encouraging others to carve out the time to read at a pace of just two chapters a week because I’ve learned that finding time to read never just happens on its own.

Generally, every Monday and Thursday there will be blog posts here with Monday’s Inspirational Reads somewhere in the title with my reaction to each of the two chapters for the week.

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