Basic Concept #6: The Policy of Radical Honesty
If you and your spouse are to be in love with each other, you must give honesty special attention. That's because it plays such an important role in the creation of romantic love. It's one of the ten most important emotional needs, so when it's met, it can trigger the feeling of love. On the other hand, its counterpart, dishonesty, is a Love Buster -- it destroys love.
But there's another reason that honesty is crucial in creating love: Honesty is the only way that you and your spouse will ever come to understand each other. Without honesty, the adjustments that are crucial to making each other happy and avoiding unhappiness cannot be made.
It isn't easy to be honest. Honesty is an unpopular value these days, and most couples have not made this commitment to each other. Many marriage counselors and clergymen argue that honesty is not always the best policy. They believe that it's cruel to disclose past indiscretions and it's selfish to make such disclosures. While it makes you feel better to get a mistake off your chest, it causes your partner to suffer. So, they argue, the truly caring thing to do is to lie about your mistakes or at least keep them tucked away.
And if it's compassionate to lie about sins of the past, why isn't it also compassionate to lie about sins of the present -- or future? To my way of thinking, it's like letting the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. Eventually you will be dining with the camel. Either honesty is always right, or you'll always have an excuse for being dishonest.
To help remind couples how important honesty is in marriage, I have written the Policy of Radical Honesty:
about yourself as you know; your thoughts,
feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history,
daily activities, and plans for the future
Self-imposed honesty with your spouse is essential to your marriage's safety and success. Honesty will not only bring you closer to each other emotionally, it will also prevent the creation of destructive habits that are kept secret from your partner.