“Whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” Much in our world is deceptive and dishonest: the rhetoric of political campaigns, for example, or the propaganda of advertising, with its slanted facts and testimonials. In a time that makes us wary, we long for honesty that breeds trust and nurtures hope.
Straight talk is important in marriage. It is easy to distort the truth when we are doing the “dating dance” and wooing one another. We parade partial truths in hopes that some of our deeper secrets will stay hidden. The tipping point comes when we enter into the deeper relational stage we call “engagement.” An older term for that was betrothal, which literally means giving our troth, an earlier variation on the word truth. In other words, dating is playing games, but engagement, or betrothal, means we are now committing to truth. We are choosing to reveal more of ourselves so we can see each other wholly and love each other in wholesome ways.
The outcome of a good engagement is marriage, when, as Adam and Eve discovered, we find ways to be “naked and not ashamed” before each other. This is more than just undressing; it is the psychological honesty that allows us to meet one another in truth, peering into each other’s souls without embarrassment or threat of one of us walking away.
There may be times when too much honesty harms a good relationship, but it is hard to know how secrets can be part of a healthy relationship. God does not turn away from us when the secrets of our hearts are brought into the healing light of divine grace. Nor should we turn from those who trust us with the intimacy of private faults, disappointments, needs and dreams. As Jesus reminds us in this brief parable about a lamp, “Whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” Especially in marriage.