Trust is essential for a strong marriage. Knowing that your spouse is honest provides a foundation upon which to anchor that trust. If, on the other hand, your spouse is not honest with you, then where does the foundation lie for you to develop trust?
Honesty goes beyond simply being truthful with one another. Just as importantly it involves the capacity, and desire, to be truthful with oneself.
From time to time each of us must face something that we find overwhelming. It may be a realization about our self, or about a problem in our marriage, or with our spouse. The temptation, for some, will be to gloss over the problem. To minimize, or even deny altogether that the problem exists.
This lack of honesty takes a toll on the marriage. Problems that are minimized, or denied, cannot be resolved. When serious problems are brushed aside relationships invariably suffer.
Bottom line, you need to know that the person you have committed yourself to can be trusted to honestly interact with you, and with their own thoughts/feelings.
In any relationship that involves risk, loyalty ranks high as a prized virtue. When soldiers go off to war, the loyalty of the man standing to one’s left and right is of supreme importance. When business partners have invested their life fortunes in a joint venture, loyalty allows them to move forward knowing that each has the other’s back.
It is no different with marriage. Loyalty is essential.
Consider the traditional marriage vows: “Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?”
Loyalty is laid down in this promise as the corner stone of a lifelong relationship.
Think this is asking too much?
Without loyalty, what is your option at the alter? “I promise that for today, and maybe tomorrow, I will love and cherish this person. I may remain true during the good times, but my options remain open regarding what may happen during the tough times… and if things get really bad all bets are off.”
Find someone who is loyal, or do not marry at all.
Duty is a quality that many consider very “old school”, passé, out of style and belonging to a different era. Such characterizations badly miss the mark. A sense of duty is a sign of maturity. A willingness to sacrifice the freedom to act on one’s immediate desires and feelings in order to fulfill a higher obligation.
Every marriage has conflicts and hardships. During these difficult times, a sense of duty pushes us to do that which is best for our spouse (and our marriage).
That is because duty transcends feelings of affection, attraction, and goodwill. Those feelings, the ones that make it so easy to be generous and thoughtful to a spouse, cannot be counted upon. Emotions are fickle. We cannot simply conjure up a sense of affection or love on demand. A difficult day at work may cause them to be missing altogether.
What then? When the warm winds of affection, desire, and empathy for your spouse have gone AWOL, what is there to lean upon that propels you to behave as you should?
The answer is that duty. Like a good soldier who stands post no matter what conditions beat down upon him, duty remains. Duty carries the day until those warm feelings return.