Is Honesty in Marriage Over-Rated?

How honest are you in your marriage? I often hear from spouses that they want and expect “100%” honesty in their relationship.   Is that a fair request? Depends on what criteria you use.   Are you okay with your partner saying something negative about something you take “pride” in? Your loved one’s opinion may not “jive” with your view and what you hear could hurt your feelings. Where should you draw the line in your marriage? Or, is there even a line to draw?   Here are a few areas that contribute to how honesty unfolds in a marriage.

Moral and Value System

Where does honesty fall in your view of the world? Spend a little time reviewing your morals and values. It can be an eye-opening experience. Are you willing to be completely honest in your relationship? Don’t ask (or expect) it if you aren’t willing to give it.   Do you think it’s necessary to be 100% honest in your marriage?   I’ve heard spouses say that they want honesty but when they hear it they find it difficult to digest. If you are going to ask for openness, will you be open to hearing some (or many) things that my turn your stomach?   In reality, if you are not living in a way that is in alignment with your moral and value system you will not be happy. Keep this in mind as you define what honesty should look like in your marriage.


Do you respect yourself enough to be honest in your marriage?   Your level of honesty with yourself will influence your honesty in your relationship.   Loss of individual respect will contribute to your level of honesty in your marriage.   In a long-term marriage, individuals who respect themselves make choices that maintain individual respect. If you have respect for yourself you are highly likely to act in an honest way in your relationship. Of course, the opposite is also true (lack of respect = lack of honesty). It’s really all about choices.

Emotional Connection

Can emotional distance in a marriage contribute to dishonesty? Of course it can. If you are not feeling emotionally connected to your loved one you may be less likely to honor them.   When we coach couples its quite clear that couples that are emotionally distant are more likely to make individual choices that are not in alignment with their relationship. The focus is more on their own happiness and less and the happiness of their relationship. So, a spouse may just say what sounds good (a.k.a. – lie) just to keep things calm. When you are walking on “egg-shells” you are less likely to authentic. If you are in this position, how long can you continue to “curve the truth” and head down the road of deceit? Over time, you will get more frustrated and distant.   How healthy can this be?

Your decisions about how open you will be in your relationship will set the tone for how things unfold. Honesty reveals the underlying layers of thought and feelings that often remain hidden, and, often get in the way of having a stronger marriage.   Do you want to play “full-out” or maintain a façade? It’s all about choices.   Which path will you take?

How do you know if your relationship is “hanging by a string?”   Get your free copy today of the 5 Critical Signs Your Relationship is on Life Support!

About author

Dr. Jeff Kane
Dr. Jeff Kane

Dr. Jeff Kane is a Doctor in Marriage and Family Therapy and the founder of Relationships Unscripted. Over the past 20 years he has helped couples re-ignite their spark, passion and have great sex in their relationships. Learn more about the couples coaching programs, free webinars and Ask Dr. Jeff your burning relationship questions at

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