Posted by: Wendy Shalit
Topic: Is complete honesty necessary in a successful relationship?
I think a lot of what passes for honesty these days is just plain rudeness. No, people don't actually need to know that they've put on weight, or that you've never liked that lamb dish they've served for years! (Unless, of course, you're the one who's been eating it for years, and you really can't take it anymore.)
In today's relationships, there is often a temptation to "overshare" the small things under the guise of "honesty," while at the same time concealing the really big things. I'm not pointing fingers here--I've done it myself. Yet I've also found that intimacy tends to thrive more when we're honest about the big things and overlook the small annoyances. It's more about letting people into our hearts and making ourselves vulnerable; less about just criticizing.
Since we're being honest, though, let's admit that there is a big difference between a married relationship and a dating one.
I find that nowadays, people have a tendency to rush into a physical relationship and not be honest with themselves about what the relationship is based on. Is there genuine compatibility of values? Who cares, will often be the reply--I'm really attracted. Unfortunately, this often doesn't last.
In contrast, the same people will believe that marriage is the time for brutal honesty. Now that you have the ring, goes the thinking, you can really "let it all hang out."
To make love last, I think we need to reverse this conventional wisdom. Be critical, honest, and probing when you're dating, and certainly don't rush into a physical relationship. Be as clear as possible on who the other person is, and what your relationship is based on.
Then, if you decide to marry, that's the time to put on those rose-colored glasses!