Hi this is pastor Ken thanks for joining me for my Monday Marriage Message…Poor Trade off.
In every premarital counseling opportunity, I have I spend part of one of the sessions exploring a concept I call “Stupid Honesty”. As I have mentioned here before, the reason I have so named it is because if you operate your marriage at that level of honesty, your friends will think you are stupid. I understand that as I say that it is somewhat tongue-in cheek, but to some degree I am being serious. There is a common misconception out there that there are certain things we just can’t or shouldn’t divulge to our spouses. I call it a misconception because it is based on a false premise when it comes to marriage. That falsehood is that you are two individual beings who are able to decide for yourselves what level of connectedness you will have. Simply put, that’s not how this works.
In Genesis chapter two after God had presented Eve to Adam, wife to husband, Adam recognized that she was one with him. In a sense, God was offering to Adam his rib that he had taken from him in back, the form of Eve. Upon seeing her for the first time, Adam declared, “This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). They were created of one flesh; they were provided for, and presented to each other in a married state. We know this is true because at the end of the chapter God referred to Eve as Adam’s wife…And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen.2:25). In Genesis 2:24 we read God’s declaration once Adam and Eve were present before Him. God said, “For this reason [the oneness condition of Adam and Eve] [going forward] a man shall leave his father and mother [his primary loyalty will shift] and be joined to his wife [by God] and they shall become one flesh [to replicate the oneness of Adam and Eve]. Adam and Eve were not viewed as individuals in the sense that they were both parts of a greater entity with a higher purpose than they could attain separately. According to God in the afore mentioned scripture you and your spouse are no longer individuals either, you also are the two parts of a greater entity…your marriage. Jesus affirmed this understanding in Matthew 19:4-6 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
In your oneness, honesty is more than a good idea, it is an indicator of marital health. I often use the following to illustrate that idea. I ask you, could a person could hold a ten dollar bill in their right hand so tightly that their left hand wouldn’t know what was in it? Of course not. Why? The answer is obvious. Both hands share a central nervous system. They are both parts of the same body. If the scenario above were possible it would only indicate there was some mental illness present. Jesus said that in marriage the two become one and are in fact no longer two, but one flesh. If this is the case (and it is), any lack of honesty within that marriage is the presentation of a marital illness.
Much like love is, honesty is an absolute, not an average. Being mostly honest is an oxymoron. The term is indicative that some level of dishonesty exists and that contaminates the rest making it all dishonest. This is because there are two kinds of dishonesty. Lies of commission, an untruth being offered as a truth, and lies of omission, the withholding of truth to change the perceived meaning of a statement (or lack of one). Both are dishonesty, and all dishonesty contaminates honesty and renders it untrustworthy. This is why when someone is placed under oath in a court of law, they must profess to tell “The truth…The whole truth…and nothing but the truth.” You can find out more about “Stupid Honesty” in a podcast I produced by that title.
There are many reasons people use to justify operating within their marriages with dishonesty. They may believe that their spouse is too fragile emotionally and can’t handle the whole truth. They may say they are just trying to protect their spouse. They may be trying to avoid being in ‘trouble’. Sometimes people think withholding the whole truth will avoid a potential marital difficulty. Whatever their reasoning, they are thinking like an individual and not like a part of God ordained oneness with someone else. Greater still they are trading honesty for peace. The problem with this is simple. Honesty will grow and strengthen the oneness of marriage. Peace on the other hand does neither of those things for your marriage. It’s a poor trade off.
Is it always easy for spouses to interact in stupid honesty? Emphatically, NO! Will honesty avoid problems the marriage will have to work through? Absolutely not! Can honesty…genuine honesty ensure a peaceful existence? Not a chance! Will honesty over time strengthen your marriage and give it a necessary resilience that can endure even the most difficult and ugliest of truths…it sure can, and likely will, if you don’t trade it off to have a little bit of peace.
Questions to answer:
What things make it difficult for you to be totally honest (a redundancy I know) with your spouse?
Why is it difficult to be honest in these areas of your marriage?
Do you wish there was more honesty in your marriage or are you ok with the trade off?
Actions to take:
Choose just one area that you may have been less than honest and find a loving and respectful way to be honest right now.
Ask God to give both of you a desire to live in the oneness He gave you without any of the marital disease caused by dishonesty.
Commit to not accepting the poor trade off of peace for honesty in your marriage going forward.
So now, desiring to avoid marital illness and learning to live in stupid honesty with your spouse every day…Go Be Awesome!