Obviously you are allowed to keep some secrets if you choose. There are some things that no partner should have to deal with, and which can destroy a relationship:
• “Truth is your fat is off-putting and your skin is blotchy. You’re not very desirable.”
• “I only married you because my parents pushed me.” One writer said the ideal is “speaking the truth in love”
Obviously even if those statements are true, there’s not much love in them. For successful conversation, we need the ability to move from one level to another as appropriate to the occasion. Some relationships will never get very deep, and that’s fine.
It’s hardly expected that you’ll walk into a sales meeting and get straight to level five. A man might never get past level three with a friend he has known for years. A woman might go straight through level three opinions to level four feelings after 10 minutes with a new hairdresser.
In a marriage, a lot of everyday conversation might be at levels two and three. But if you get stuck there, you will feel lonely and bored.
It is well known that most women find feelings easier to discuss than most men do. Yet men who become emotionally intelligent and competent are more likely not just to have happy relationships across the board, but also to achieve more highly at work and be generally happier. Having a high “EQ” (emotional IQ) doesn’t mean you are more emotional and sob down your sleeve whenever you see a daisy. It means you can read other people’s emotions as well as your own, and are comfortable dealing with them.
Getting to level five is a challenge to be real. Most of us have learned from childhood to cover up parts of ourselves that we don’t think people will like. When we’re attracted to someone, we’ll hardly walk up to them and say, “Hi, I’m Danny and I’m a bit grumpy, bossy and irrational at times.”
We show our best self. Some of us form a relationship hoping that it will change us, dreaming that we can suck in our stomachs, control our tempers and become the handsome prince or beautiful princess.
This false self is not convincing for long. When initial infatuation and the sexual starburst fade to a steady glow, we really see who we’re with and show who we really are.
That can be scary, but the opportunity to know and be known is our real chance to love and be loved. This is the aim of communication in marriage.