Must the truth you tell your spouse be bitter?
“You failed” was the harsh response. When the elder brother was asked why he delivered the news in such a harsh manner, his reply was “I had to say the bitter truth.”
If this young man continues saying the truth this way, and is not properly counseled, he may graduate into the class of men, who wound their wives’ feelings due to their belief that “the truth is bitter but I must say it.”
I had cause to advise a young lady, who was about getting married sometime ago that she was too hard in saying the truth. Another lady about to get married once said something like this: “I do not know how to pretend. I will always say what is on my mind, whether it is bitter or not.”
I had to ask if she could boldly say she had not had any immoral thoughts about another man since she got engaged to her man. I also wanted to know if she told her fiancé that she had some immoral thoughts if in truth she always says what is on her mind.
The manner in which the truth is dished out has caused a lot of damage to many relationships. The problem is not really about the truth being said. What makes truth to be bitter depends on the manner with which it is said.
Some spouses say their truth in a very bitter manner. The truth they are saying here is not necessarily because they want to help the other person with the truth. Rather, it is because they want to unleash their frustrations, anger and bitterness on the person.
Some make their truths to be bitter because their spouses have offended them. I do not believe that the marriage and family arena is where “bitter truth” is told. It is politicians that can tell themselves bitter truth.
It is enemies who are quarreling that can decide to tell themselves “the bitter truth”. I do not think that the wife you are living with right now is your enemy. I do not also think that the husband you are living with right now is your enemy.
Couples and families should not, therefore, use politicians and enemies’ quarreling skills and strategies on themselves. We should not import the words “the truth is bitter but I must say it” into our courtship, marriages and families.
You will discover that when your motives for telling your spouse the truth are genuine and only from the perspective of helping him/her, you will say the truth in love. Eph 4:15 says, “speaking the truth in love” is how we should say the truth. Col 4:6 says, “your speech be always with grace SEASONED WITH SALT”.
Instead of using the truth to attack your spouse, we are told to say it in love. The truth is not a tool to be used against each other. Rather, it is the key that sets one free.
Truth that is said in a bitter way is said from a heart of condemnation. But the truth that is said in love flows from a heart full of love and compassion.
How to lovingly say the truth to your spouse in love can be learnt and this learning process starts once you decide to love your spouse deeper and never to use the truth like a weapon of attack again. Love you.
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