1. Make it mutual – Honesty has to be a two-way street; you have to make it a shared commitment. Doing so implies that you are going to be open and forthcoming, to open your heart. If only one spouse expresses himself or herself in a vulnerable way, after a while he or she is going to start feeling too exposed and clam up.
  2. Don’t Justify – Some people call them little white lies. Or they’ll say they are just “fudging” things a bit to keep the peace or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. No matter how you pretty it up, it’s still dishonesty.
  3. Keep it kind – tame your tongue
  4. Check your timing.- Not everything needs to be said there and then. Timeliness is an important aspect of truthfulness. Being real with someone is about having them truly know you. So, consider when they might best be in a position to really hear what you have to say. Late-night conversations when you’re both tired can misfire; agreeing to wait until you are both brighter and clearer is wise.
  5. Silence isn’t golden – We don’t lie just with words—sometimes we can lie by withholding them.
  6. Be safe ground – Committing to being transparent with one another means being willing to be seen at your worst—when you’ve failed in some way, especially in this area of honesty. Do you make it easy for your spouse to come to you and admit it when they may have been dishonest or wronged you somehow? Are you forgiving and understanding, or do you “make them suffer” for what they did—or didn’t do?

courtesy of Mark Merrill

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