One of the things that Ike and I have discussed a lot lately is how we can constantly reinforce the strength of our marriage. It’s a tough thing to gauge because a marriage can seem fine when the circumstances are easy. It’s not until a storm hits that the cracks in its foundation become apparent. Until then, how can you really be sure that you’re building a strong marriage?
I spoke to a friend of mine about this question the other day. She’s been married 28 years and she gave me the following advice: Never EVER lie.
This rule is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. It means that when you break your budget by purchasing that pair of shoes you really wanted, you have to tell your husband. Have you been scoping out pics of an ex-boyfriend on facebook? Tell your husband. Did you slip and tell someone a secret that your husband had shared with you in confidence? Then tell him. No matter what, no matter how seemingly small (unless it’s a surprise birthday party, of course!) you have got to be honest.
What’s tricky is how we convince ourselves that the little lies don’t matter. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right? That might be true…at first. But as soon as you open the door to one lie, no matter how small, you open the door to lying in your marriage.
Straight up deception doesn’t begin all at once. It is the culmination of hundreds of small lies that increase your boldness while decreasing your communication. Those seemingly innocent little white lies stand in the way of you and your husband having an open and honest relationship.
A marriage in which you can “tell each other anything” not only requires a forgiving spirit, but it especially requires the humility and courage to admit you screwed up, even when you know it might disappoint or frustrate your spouse. It’s easy to reason that a minor offense isn’t worth the trouble it will cause by bringing it to light, but that logic is woefully short-sighted.
Honesty helps you to protect your marriage from the chief weapon of the great Deceiver, lies. But honesty is important for other relationships as well. One of my seminary professors once said that one of the greatest challenges facing Christians today is not to lie. I think he’s right. Not only are we afraid to be honest with our friends when they need to hear the truth, but our lifestyles often reveal a startling discrepancy between the truth we preach and the way we live.
Honesty, in love, is not only crucial for a strong marriage, but for a strong community. The minute we excuse a little white lie as being harmless, we provide the Enemy a foothold. Don’t let him. And I’m not gonna lie (no pun intended!), it’s hard to be honest about those little things. Sometimes I would much rather omit them, but I keep forcing myself to come clean. It stings and I hate it, but in the long run I have no regrets, and I trust that God will use our honesty to strengthen us for the storms.