NOT AN ADVICE #1: Defense for honesty.
Facing the hard facts
"I am not going to make new meals for us every day like your mom. I will try to learn but am not good at it. I don’t actually like to be in the kitchen and my baking is always a disaster. Last time I tried to make cookies, they turned out salty!"
I managed to spill this out to my fiancé after another amazing meal at his mom’s house. We were both from Slavic culture where ability to cook was high up on the list of must-haves for future wives. These two factors made me a bit uneasy.
But this bold confession on my part (and a few more to follow) did not stop my future husband from wanting to tie the knot. If anything, it gave him a small forewarning about a few tough years ahead – clumped pasta, burned chicken and lots of frozen dinners as a result of my lack of culinary skills.
What can I say? I was so bad at playing the game I saw other girls play. Smiling, holding my tongue and bringing baked goods to our youth meetings was not my forte. I couldn’t pretend even for my own good. Instead, I would jump right into the heated argument if I felt strong about something. I would burn the ramen noodles at our campout and laugh about it. I would sulk if I wanted to.
No wonder guys were not in a hurry to court me. But my husband said he did not care. He saw enough of what he did like to overlook my faults. Apparently, he found a few qualities that were more important to him.
Basing love on truth
After more than a decade together, we both improved a bit. We learned to handle our weaknesses, got a better understand and patience for each other’s limitations. But in an essence, we remained the same individuals that fell in love in the first place. Being forthcoming helped to get us through the first couple of years of adjusting to each other. At least we knew what we were getting ourselves into.
Knowing how to live with another individual well took time and hard work. It was not always pretty (at times it was outright ugly). Love is what held us together but love based on truth is what helped us last. It got us through the hard times.
Being honest from the start about who we were meant our initial attraction was not founded on false pretenses. Of course, it was impossible to get to know each other completely right away but we saw enough to make a big decision.
Avoiding the social media trap
I have noticed over the years that honesty is less and less popular.
With social media people got really good at presenting themselves in a certain light. They tend not to post their messes on the Instagram or tweet about their tantrums. All we see is a person smiling happily with a perfect cup of coffee in a ray of sunshine. What we don’t see is a messy kitchen counter with a pile of dishes, banana pills, dry pieces of pizza and somebody screaming on the background – it was all cut out from the initial shot (and don’t forget about the virtual makeup).
This goes even further when words and action get filtered and unrealistic perfection is demanded from others.
Living with honesty
Why are we so afraid to be ourselves?
What is this constant need to appear better than in reality?
Yes, it can be a bit scary to open up to the world but the strength of the bond with another person, especially in the romantic relationship, depends on it. Incompatibility is the top reason for divorce but this can be avoided if two people are being real with each other up front.
We don’t have to take a forty-page-personality-matching test or read articles about "Five must have qualities in the ideal mate". We just need to start living our lives with authenticity and find somebody who appreciates it.
Sooner or later our faults start crawling through the cracks of self-control. It is nice to have somebody close by who sees us for who we are, still loves us and is able to help us become better and stronger. Of course, the ideal candidate for this job is God :) but it is nice when significant other is on the same page as well.
So, let’s drop the masks.
Let’s not be so concerned about how good things look on the outside.
Let’s not expect other people to change for us but accept them for who they are.
Let’s take an honest look at who we are and admit to our weaknesses.
It is never too late to face the truth. Then maybe we can avoid a few misunderstandings and disappointments in the future.
P.S. Most articles about relationships make me roll my eyes but I really liked this no-nonsense blog I recently read. I recommend it for a dose of honesty :)