What entails an honest relationship? And if you have caught yourself lying in a relationship, what triggered the lie?
Ideally, everyone wants to be virtuous, but not everyone wants to practice the virtue of honesty in their relationships. As you are reading this piece, take a moment right now, and examine your relationship? Do you think you have been honest with your partner? From childhood unto our adulthood, our parents bred us to know that lying is bad.
An honest relationship entails being honest with your partner at all times. By being open to each other, you create a loving environment that is healthy and long-lasting. According to Depaulo, author of the book Detection of Lies in Forensic Concepts, people perceive individuals with the highest number of lies as irresponsible, manipulative, and are hyper-conscious of other people’s thoughts. Besides, they are more extroverted than people who tell fewer lies.
Between you and your partner, who lies the most? You know the answer best.
Keeping Things Honest in Your Relationship
Honesty in a relationship entails being authentic and transparent with your partner on issues, including the ones you feel are most insignificant. We live in a real world, and it helps when you are more real than living in fantasy.
It’s understandable that you all come from different backgrounds and each one has their own perception of life. For you to build a thriving relationship, it’s important that you share your different perceptions and build one out of the two.
To achieve an honest relationship, you and your partner will need to implement important practices that involve speaking the truth, not intentionally omitting information, never intentionally misleading them from the truth.
Why Practise Honesty in Your Relationship?
I will be straight to the point: It’s the only way you can have an intense and intimate relationship with someone. Relationships that thrive on lies seldom last for long, and if they do, it takes a lot of effort to build the trust back.
Also, for the two of you to build a meaningful relationship, that is full of trust, honesty has to be part of the foundation. A simple way for someone to trust you is to show that you can be honest with them.
Anyone in a functional relationship will attest to the fact that a healthy relationship comes from building and maintaining an open and honest communication with your significant other.
At this point, it’s important to mention that you will also have to exercise some discretion as you attempt to be an honest partner in your relationship. Being honest shouldn’t make you rude, unkind, or insensitive with the truth.
What Honesty is Not
Truth sometimes hurts, and you shouldn’t use it intentionally to harm your partner. You can package and deliver it in a more sensible way. Now, honesty is not revealing everything you feel and think. Because you feel your friend or acquaintance is hotter than your partner, you will not tell that to them, won’t you?
Be truthfully honest and not brutally honest. I’m learning this myself.
Similarly, you may have issues you feel not comfortable bringing them out to your partner. It’s okay to feel that way, however, you need to let them understand how you feel. They will understand you better and will put you at ease to talk about it.
There should be no secrets in relationships. That’s what marriage counselors keep telling us repeatedly. But as a partner in the relationship, you may have some confidential information from a third party that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with your partner. It’s important that you share your concerns with your partner and let them understand why the information you have is confidential.
The Three Forms of Lies: White, Real, and Gray
According to Erin M. Bryant (Trinity University,2008) there are three types of lies: The white lie, Real and Gray. Of the three, the white lie is the most common. According to the research, white lies lack malicious intent and people often use them with a benevolent intent or to convey a partial truth.
For instance, you could be sick and resting, but you tell your partner you aren’t to prevent them from worrying. White lies have trivial consequences, and people always prefer using them because they find them harmless.
A similar case could be when the wife tells the husband she enjoyed his meal because she knows there will be no consequences to it. .
What about grey lies? These are beyond white lies, hmmm? But you can’t categorize them as actual lies yet. On the same knot, you can’t use the parameters you used to define white lies to define the gray ones.
Byrant broke down gray lies into two categories: The ambiguous gray lies and the justifiable gray lies.
Ambiguous gray lies are completely false, but you could use them to help someone. For example, telling a full-blown lie to your boss or employer to cover your colleague. So they have gray areas because to one party it could be a lie, while to the other party it isn’t. In the case of justifiable lies, they could be real lies, but justified within certain reasons.
A justifiable lie is one that you completely fabricate to protect yourself or the other person from dire consequences. In the context of a romantic relationship, what do you think could qualify as a perfect example? 🙂
According to Byrant, Real lies are ““unacceptable lies that are malicious, self serving, complete fabrications of the truth, that hold serious consequences”
Let’s face it, as humans we are prone to mistakes over and over and we use these lie types unknowingly to cover our asses. The question is, which of the three types of lies and their consequences are you and your partner comfortable living with?
Think about it as you navigate your honest relationship journey.
How to Practise Honesty
1. Express How You Feel
Which is easier? Expressing how you feel or bottling yourself up? It does you more good than harm when you speak rather than shutting up. Honest communication with your partner saves them the trouble of having to second guess your thoughts or next move.
Sometimes men find it difficult expressing themselves. You say, “I would rather avoid confrontation”. Well, speaking up does not outright lead to confrontation. It’s healthier for you, as it will help you avoid resenting your partner and forming a history lesson.
Have you ever reminded your partner what he/she did a year back? They may never be in a position to answer because they never remember the nitty-gritty of the event. It helps to always express how you feel.
2. Communicate Effectively
An open, honest communication is good but effective communication is far much better. To communicate effectively and understand the feelings and thoughts of your partner better:
- Make use of “I” statements
- Be clear about your thoughts and feelings
- Be open-minded
- Avoid defensive listening
- Validate each other’s feelings
3. Know Yourself
To practice honesty better, it pays to understand yourself. You won’t be good at maintaining an honest relationship if you don’t know about you. Take a step back and separate yourself from people’s opinions and the perception of society on you.
If by any chance, you embraced a harmful personality that doesn’t reflect you, then you need to drop it for the sake of being honest about your relationship with your partner.
An honest relationship is achievable. If you are a young couple and just starting out, embrace honest practices in your union and your relationship will go far. Everyone wants to be virtuous, but not everyone wants to put in the hard work that reflects virtue. Regarding honesty in your relationship, practice honesty by speaking the truth, not intentionally omitting information and not misleading your partner about the truth. If you found this piece helpful or feel you want to put your thoughts into it, let me know in the comments below.
Stay positive with honest relationships.