He’s lying. Again. So what? Honesty is overrated, right?
Isn’t keeping the family together better than breaking us up? Is my desire for honesty so great that I will end up divorcing husband?
And what if I move on, tearing our family up in the process, in the name of honesty. Will it be worth it?
Is trusting your spouse overrated? We’re not talking big lies here. Those matter. And those have been told in this house, as well. But the little things: where husband is tonight, for example. Little lies, big lies, in-between lies. They all violate our pact of trust and honesty.
Can you build a life together with scant respect for the truth?
A lie about tonight’s whereabouts leads to tension tomorrow. We told Big Bro that we would take him and Little Dude somewhere fun with the whole family. The zoo if it’s not too cold, a kid’s museum if it is. His face lit up, his hand shot in the air, five fingers spread wide.
“The WHOLE family?” He looked from me to husband and back again. Checking. Just to be sure.
Yes, son, the whole family. Even though your daddy is a liar and I don’t want to look at him right now, we will all go have fun. For you. I will grit my teeth and clench my hands, irritated at lies, little and big. Can you sense that, my young sons? Is it better for you to be alone with me even though that stresses me out in a completely different way? Big Bro and Little Dude are a difficult combination right now. Even though I hate him, mostly, I’m still relieved when husband comes to help with the kids.
Tonight as I reflected on tonight’s lie–little–coupled with past lies–little, big, medium-sized–I actually asked myself, “Is honesty overrated?”
Just the fact that I’m considering whether I need truth and honesty in the most important adult relationship in my life makes me wonder if, in fact, I’m not the one who is sick.
Lies in a marriage are like weeds. In a healthy, thriving ecosystem a few insignificant lies are par for the course. These include: no, you don’t look fat in those jeans, and no, it doesn’t bother me that you’ve put on a few pounds, and, sure! go ahead and rest, I’m glad to finish these dishes. In this field, the flowers and natural plants still thrive.
Unfortunately, today, our marriage resembles my backyard garden. In my patch of dirt, weeds dominate, choking out the sage planted there so long ago. Come spring, weeds dominate the landscape. The weeds don’t hesitate to suffocate the little life left in my small patch of dirt. I yanked all of those nasty weeds late last summer and planted cone flowers instead. That decision was easy. It was so obvious what the best course of action was.
What I don’t know–what I can’t know–is when I’ll be able to look myself in the eye and admit that no, honesty is not overrated.
I have been selling myself short. I’ve put up with too much as it is, without adding more lies to the already poisonous stew that is my nearly defunct marriage.
This trial separation, these nights of wondering, are part and parcel of a lonely, painful process. I keep waiting for the day, the moment of clarity, when I will know, for sure, that this marriage is over.
Or another moment still, when I decide that husband–and our intact family–is worth all of this pain. I could choose to believe husband, that he is finally working the steps, that true recovery is a slow, grueling process. I know that alcoholism is a disease and that lying comes with the territory.
But how long can I wait? When will my moment come? And how could I ever trust him again?
Don’t I deserve honesty in my life?
Am I expecting too much?
Honesty is not overrated.