The Importance of Being Honest with Each Other
Two of the most important character traits you need to possess if you want to have successful relationships is to be honest and trustworthy. There are of course diplomatic ways to be honest so you don’t hurt each other’s feelings.
But in general, being trustworthy is all about each person in the romantic partnership feeling that you prioritize the relationship, want them to be happy, and value the relationship enough to not do anything to jeopardize it.
Honesty Is the Best Policy — Most of the Time
Honesty is almost always the best policy, except in certain circumstances where a white lie might spare the other person’s feelings.
For example, if your wife says to you, "Do these jeans make me look fat?" there is really no good answer other than, "You look great, honey."
But in terms of really important things, hopefully you will discuss them before you ever commit to living together or getting married, rather than finding out the hard way afterwards. Examples where honesty is definitely required include:
* Your career
* Living situation and what the other person can reasonably expect
* Past relationships if there is unfinished business, and particularly if there are children involved
* And so on
This refers to you being honest about where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing. Around 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce, and 30% of those are due to infidelity.
It’s easier than you think to drift into an affair without even realizing it. Discontent at work can lead to you leaning on a colleague to the point where a "spark" starts.
Add to that any discontent about your romantic relationship you are willing to share with the other person rather than your own partner, and you have a recipe for an emotional if not a physical affair.
Thinking through situations like this can help you avoid them. If you are not sure you are doing anything wrong, ask yourself if you are hiding any emails, calls, texts and so on from your partner. If you are, then your level of trustworthiness and commitment is rapidly dropping.
Having Each Other’s Backs
While many people say they married X, not their family or friends, the truth is that family and friends are part of their past and present lives and it is unreasonable to expect your partner to give them up just because you say so or don’t like them.
Your resentment might be based on insecurity about their past, such as an ex-girlfriend who has remained a friend. It could also be because their family and friends don’t treat you with the respect you feel you deserve.
This can be very painful, and has even been known to cause severe stress in a relationship. Cultural or class differences, as well as racial or educational differences, can cause some people to look down on others - making it tough for the relationship to survive.
One of the best ways to ensure that it does is to make sure you have your partner’s back and that you know it. You could say something like, "You’re entitled to your opinion, Mom, but I’ve already heard it.
I don’t agree with you, and my partner deserves my respect, so I would prefer it if you kept your criticisms to yourself."
Trust is the sum total of all the big and little things you share in a relationship. As long as you show how much you value your partnership, no mistrust should creep in.
Why It's Important to Listen to Each Other - Really Listen
Listening is a vastly underrated skill as compared with good public speaking, but think about it. A good speaker is nothing without people willing to listen to them.
Many people are in such a hurry to explain their ideas or express themselves that they rarely let other people get a word in. This is not a great way to treat friends and colleagues. It is an even worse way to treat your significant other.
If you seem to be struggling with communication issues, it might be time to assess how good a listener you really are.Being a Good Listener
It often helps to know what being a bad listener is in order to understand what you are aiming for if you want to become a good listener.
Here are a few illustrations of the difference between a good and a bad listener. Making Time
We are all busy, so, "Have you got a minute," is often the way we open conversations at work and with friends.
They mention what is on their mind, and your response is likely to be one of several things, all unlikely to be conversation openers, but rather, communication closers.
You might go into full problem-solving mode and tell the person what you think they should do, even though it might not match their skills or abilities. It is important to consider not only the other person, but also the reason they are speaking to you.
Your colleague or partner might not want you to "solve" their problem. They might just want you to be a willing ear and really hear them.
You might respond negatively with an abrupt, "I really don’t have time for that now." The risk is shutting down the conversation not just at that point, but forever.
They might think you don’t care or really don’t have time for them and they are on their own.
A different approach might be to say, "I’m just finishing up something now. Can you please give me X minutes, and then I will be able to give you my full attention."Listening without Judging
Telling someone what to do after they have told you something is judging them and the situation - usually in relation to your perception, not theirs.
However, this is rarely helpful because we aren’t all the same, and what may seem like a minor issue to you could be a big deal to your partner.
A good listener will therefore try not to comment or problem solve, but let the person explain the situation from their own point of view.Repeating What You Think You Hear
For a bad listener, what the person says is not always what you hear. Again, this might be a value judgement on your part, such as that the person is always complaining, is never happy, and so on.
This devalues the person’s trust in trying to come to you for help, and real communication will not take place.
An alternative is to really listen to the person, and when they are finished speaking, to repeat what you think you have heard.
You might phrase it like, "So what I think you’re saying is that you’re worried we haven’t been spending enough quality romantic time together, and you would like us to schedule a regular date night without the children around."Defensiveness
No one likes to be criticized. If you’re correct about what you’ve heard in the example above, you might be furious that they are complaining they are not getting enough time with you; you already think you have plenty of quality time, and so on.
But remember, this is their perception. They are telling you the truth and hoping you will be willing to discuss the issue and work with them to resolve it.
You’ll never know what’s on a person’s mind if they give you the silent treatment, so practice being a good listener and see how much your relationships improve.What’s your biggest issue?
How do you handle it – or can you think of any additional tips you can share with others if you don’t have an issue with this in your life?
Share them with us in our Comments – or share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you feel it could help someone you know.
Cheers, Helene Malmsio
Related Reading: https://www.discoveryhub.net/how-to-build-a-lasting-relationship.html