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 read this piece, take a moment right now, and examine your relationship.
Do you think you have been honest with your partner? From childhood to adulthood, our parents taught us 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 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 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 must implement important practices that involve speaking the truth, not intentionally omitting information, and never intentionally misleading them from the truth.
Why Practise an Honest 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; if they do, it takes a lot of effort to regain trust.
Also, for the two of you to build a meaningful relationship 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 open and honest communication with your significant other.
At this point, it’s important to mention that you will also have to exercise discretion as you attempt to be an honest partner in your relationship. Being honest shouldn’t make you rude, unkind, or insensitive to 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 more sensibly.
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 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 must let them understand your feelings.
They will understand you better and put you at ease talking about it.
There should be no secrets in an honest relationship. That’s what marriage counsellors keep telling us repeatedly. But as a partner in the relationship, you may have 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, the Real, and the 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 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.
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 grey ones.
Let’s break down grey lies into two categories: Ambiguous and justifiable grey lies.
Ambiguous grey lies are completely false, but you could use them to help someone. For example, telling your boss or employer a full-blown lie to cover your colleague.
So they have grey 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 for certain reasons.
A justifiable lie is one 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 and use these lie types unknowingly to cover our asses. The question is, which of the three types of lies and consequences are you and your partner comfortable living with?
Think about it as you navigate your honest relationship journey.
How to Practise Honest Relationships
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 shut up. Honest communication with your partner saves them the trouble of second-guessing your thoughts or next move.
Sometimes men find it difficult to express 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 always to express how you feel.
2. Communicate Effectively
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 yourself. 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 to be honest about your relationship with your partner.
An honest relationship is achievable. If you are a young couple 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.