You should be brutally honest with your husband, right? You should tell him exactly what you think and feel so he always knows where you stand, right? And, if the truth hurts a little, that’s just life, right?
Wrong. Sort of.
Hmm…where do I start? Well, let’s take a look a the words “brutal” and “honesty.” Brutal and honesty should never be paired together in a relationship. In fact, neither brutality, nor any other type of aggression, have any place in a relationship whatsoever…unless you are actively seeking a way to make your partner distance emotionally, withhold affection, and distrust you.
When you are angry at your partner, you are more vulnerable to unknowingly slipping into more aggressive communication. What is aggressive to one person may not seem that way to another. For example, you may hope to work through problems by giving your husband a list of all the complaints you have of him. You truly hope this feedback will provide him sufficient information to change the course of his behavior. He, on the other hand, may experience this communication as an emotional assault aimed at telling him that he is ultimately a failure in her eyes. Ouch!
Honesty is important in a relationship because it is vital to building trust, resolving problems, and clearing the air. However, it is critical to always pair honesty with qualities such as sensitivity, gentleness, compassion, and grace.
Contrary to popular thought, the truth does not have to hurt. Even when what you have to say may be tough for your partner to hear, if you have the sensitivity to wrap the message in some kindness and respect, your husband will not be wounded and may even appreciate your words.
To make sure that your honesty is something that will strengthen your marriage, ask yourself the following questions before letting the words slip out of your mouth:
- Is what I am about to share intended to make our relationship better?
- If I were on the receiving end, would I be able to hear the message without being deeply hurt?
- Especially when you are angry, ask yourself: “Am I being honest, or am I just being mean?” Answer truthfully to yourself.
- If you are revealing something that you know will be difficult for your spouse to hear, ask yourself: “How will my husband benefit from what I am about to tell him?” Be sure the benefits outweigh the potential emotional strain.
- Is this the best time for me to be honest, or do I need to wait? The timing of your message can make a big difference.
So, go head and tell the truth if it seems important, but make sure you do so in a kind and respectful way, always bearing in mind the potential impact of your words on your partner and the marriage.