In our experience, the answer is clear. Complete honesty is one of the basic foundations of every successful relationship. When we asked people about their core values, almost everyone mentioned honesty as being an important value to them.
When you know you can completely trust your partner, you can relax and truly share yourself. You develop a sense of security that what your partner says is going to align with what they actually do. You are assured that you will not have unwelcome surprises and you can be easy and safe in your communications.
Along with this issue of valuing honesty comes the question of little white lies. Is it kinder to not always tell your partner the truth if you think it may hurt their feelings? The problem is that once you start not telling the whole truth, the lines get blurry, and you will have to decide each time how much of the truth to express or what to eliminate from the truth. This will create a culture of dishonesty that can reach to the very foundation of your relationship. If your mate doesn’t feel that you are sharing the whole truth, they begin to distrust everything you say, and a loss of intimacy always follows.
Here are some quotes from our interviews with successful couples.
Diane: There is having good will toward each other what we have built up over time, and that comes from knowing you can be honest with the other person and that they may not always like what you say, but that there’s a willingness to listen. We trust each other. I don’t think Mark would do anything to intentionally hurt me and I think Mark knows that no matter what I may have said that my intent is not to hurt him.
Jacky: I need total transparency and honesty, and speaking your truth, sharing with the other person how you want it.
Michael: The key is authentic communication, vulnerable communication, a willingness to hear what might be uncomfortable, and might feel threatening to my ego, but I’d much rather hear it now than pretend I didn’t hear it, or pretend it’s not there.
James: Before I met Rita, I was dating and I would try to put up a front to be more attractive. But ultimately you have to be honest, so I just decided I wasn’t going to care anymore and I would just be completely honest and open right from the very first date. I would share everything about me, all the stuff I’d done right and all the stuff I’d done wrong – just no secrets. It really worked for us. You know what you’re getting right off the bat.
What becomes important in handling issues where honesty may cause hurt or discomfort is to pay attention to how you communicate. Speak with gentleness and make sure your partner always knows that you are both on the same side. Be sure that what you are communicating is not just an attack veiled as being honest. If you are caring and supportive, these things will only serve to strengthen your relationship and help develop deeper intimacy.
When both partners know that complete honesty is one of the cornerstones of their relationship, it will bring a wonderful knowledge of togetherness and union and they will know they can truly count on each other.