Yes, trust is essential, but I don’t think partners need to be telling each other the whole truth, all the time.
Marriages, at least the successful ones, are built on some basic cornerstones like trust and communication. No long-term relationship can survive without them.
Personally, I value trust and communication in my marriage. I prioritize trust and communication in my marriage. But if there’s one thing that I don’t think my marriage needs to survive, it’s 100% honesty.
Yes, trust is essential, but I don’t think partners need to be telling each other the whole truth, all the time. In fact, I believe it can be a detriment to a relationship to have full disclosure and always say what you mean and be besties who share everything. So, in my marriage, I’m not always honest. No, in order to keep my marriage happy and healthy, I lie to my husband.
And, if you think about it, you probably lie to your partner too. And vice versa.
Not to hide some grievous error or infidelity or crime against humanity, but because there are times when it’s much nicer to tell white lies, than to deal with the consequences that come with the truth. Let me explain why I lie to my husband…
I lie to keep the peace. I’m a work-from-home mom with two kids under 4, and my husband works full-time. So, the balance of childcare isn’t really equal. Of course, I sometimes feel resentful. Of course, I sometimes wish he would do more. Of course, I sometimes get pissed when he goes out of town for work. Yes, these are my feelings and they’re justified and real, but that doesn’t make them fair. I’m not going to make him feel guilty about things he can’t control, all for the sake of honesty. Where would that leave us? What can he change? Is it constructive?
He’s a loving, involved husband and father, and whatever I need from him, I ask for and I get. He deserves “me time” just as much as I do. In order for him to take care of his needs, I have to say, “I totally understand why you have to fly out in the middle of a Sunday.” I want my husband to be happy, even if that sometimes means added stress for me. So, when he asks for my permission, or apologizes when work takes him away, I say things like, “Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind at all.”
Does the resentment build up sometimes? Um, duh. But in those moments when I’m picking a fight about nothing, I choose honesty. Instead of lying and saying, “No, I really am angry that you read them the longest Dr. Seuss book in the history of Dr. Seuss books and that bedtime took an extra 45 minutes,” I will say, “I’m sorry, I think I’m just picking a fight because it was a long couple of days when you were gone.” He acknowledges it and we move on. I would much rather have one of these diffused arguments every few months, than be constantly dialoguing about his work travel and downtime.
I lie when I don’t want to talk about it. My husband knows that I didn’t come to him with my packaging intact, but does he need to hear a play-by-play of my entire romantic and sexual history? Does he even want the truth when he asks for it? First of all, I don’t particularly want to talk about every drunken mistake I made, the blackouts, or the men who I allowed to treat me like crap. I’m not proud of these things. They’re not fond memories. Of course, he loves me, warts and all, but I don’t think full disclosure does him any good and it definitely doesn’t do me any good. Nor does it give him a fuller picture of who I really am. I don’t really want to know about his past, and I don’t think he really wants to know about mine either.
I lie to maintain some mystery. For some reason, my husband loves to give status updates on all of his bodily functions, but not me. I like to at least have some boundaries. So when he asks what took me so long in the bathroom and what exactly I was doing in there, the answer is, “Nothing.” What did I do today? I’ll tell him that I worked, exercised, and ran some errands…but I might leave out the part where I got some stuff waxed, colored my roots, and had that ingrown toenail taken care of. These are the things he just does not need to know.
I lie to protect his feelings. When we’re getting ready to go out, my husband and I are usually very honest about whether or not we like how the other looks. I mean, it’s easy enough to change an outfit, so if we’re not feeling what the other is wearing, we’ll usually chime in. My husband is not particularly insecure, but every now and then, he’ll ask if it looks like he’s gained weight. I won’t touch this scorching ball of fire, and I’m fairly sure that, when presented with the same question, he won’t either. What’s the point? My husband and I both get on the scale. We know how our clothes fit. Do we need our partner to call out something that we can already see for ourselves? Hell, no!
Look, as long as he’s healthy, I don’t care if my husband has gained a few pounds or not. He always looks great to me because I love him, I’m attracted to him, and I take him just how he is. And that’s exactly what I tell him because that’s the only truth that matters.
I lie because I love him. So, yes, I’m a liar in my relationship, but I know it’s for the greater good. I lie because it keeps our marriage strong. I lie to make my husband happy. I lie to make him feel good. I lie because sometimes it’s the right thing to do. My husband has a terrible poker face, so when he lies, I tend to know it. And, I don’t really care because I know he lies to me for all of the same reasons. He lies to keep the peace and to protect my feelings. He lies because he loves me too.
At the end of the day though, I know that we both have unwavering trust and respect for each other. I know that we’re always honest when we need to be. We’re both truthful when the other insists on it. That’s what trust is and when you have trust, the little white lies, the untruths, don’t really matter.
Melissa Glass is a writer and editor based in Southern California.