One of the wisest things I remember my grandparents saying was, “Be honest, even to the portion of a thought.” It didn’t seem like revelation when I first heard it, but as various situations arose, I could see its value even more. Ted and I agreed full honesty was the only way for us.
Honesty gives you freedom to be yourself. It’s the kind of freedom you might feel when walking around your house in your underwear and not caring one bit. There’s full transparency and full acceptance.
Since Ted and I committed to be 100 percent honest with each other, this also meant we shared what we were struggling with. That sounds good in theory, but is quite difficult in practice. I remember one day early in our marriage, maybe just after the first-year mark, Ted told me he needed to talk. This doesn’t sound good, I thought. We sat down on our couch and by the look on his face, I could tell this was probably not going to be a fun conversation.
He began by confirming his love for me and reminding me of our honesty pledge. That made my mind start following rabbit trails to every possible thing he could tell me, which isn’t good considering that if life were a video game, I would be level expert at worst-case scenarios. Did he want a divorce? Did he have an affair? Did he spend a bunch of money? Did he get in a wreck? Did he find out he’s sick? I had plenty of options to work with in the five to ten seconds leading up to my turn to talk.
It wasn’t any of those things, thank God. But it was something that took my breath away in that moment. He shared that he was struggling with lust. Again, the gears in my mind started turning. Am I not attractive to him anymore? What did I do wrong? Is he going to leave me? Who is she? Am I a boring sex partner? He could tell by the expression on my face and the tears in my eyes how much this truth hurt. It hurt him to tell me, too. But when he reminded me that I was his best friend and the person he promised to be truthful to, it was a gift. It actually made me trust him more.