Truth and commitment. Without these two qualities relationships would be much easier. They would demand less time, energy, and thought. They would create less discomfort, frustration, and friction. Truth and commitment are so demanding that many people attempt meaningful relationships without them. The only problem–no relationship is meaningful without truth and commitment.
For a relationship to flourish, these two elements must be present. While it’s tempting to bypass them, without both elements our relationship may appear meaningful on the surface but lack the depth of honesty and meaning. Truth and commitment are the difference between people being acquaintances as opposed to actual friends. Yet both qualities complicate our lives enough that we are tempted to try relationships without them.
The Problem with Truth
The difficulty of truth is that it creates conflict. As long as I can lie without getting caught, I never have to experience friction in a relationship. I can pretend to agree with you, act like everything is okay, and fool you into believing that I’m being real. While our interactions will be smooth, the relationship will be fake. (See: If This Offends You, I’m Not Sorry)
A real relationship demands honesty. Whether in friendship or marriage, we have to show our true hearts in order to have a real connection. Without honesty, it’s a pseudo-relationship. It might be easy to get along and without much conflict, but it’s fake. One or both parties are not revealing their true selves. By hiding their thoughts, opinion, and beliefs, they are refusing to fully engage with the other person.
The other person deserves the truth. They have a right to assume you are investing your whole self. That doesn’t mean we are brutal or hurtful. Truth should only be shared within the context of love, but it does mean we engage the totality of who we are. We don’t lie, evade, or deceive. Instead, we courageously engage in reality, the truth, and facts. Only when two people interact with the truth, can they experience a real relationship.
The Problem with Commitment
The trouble with commitment is that it demands we stay in the relationship when things aren’t easy. It forces us to engage when we want to run, to confront when we want to hide, and to keep working on it when we want to give up. Commitment will cause you to have conversations you don’t want to have. When others run from issues, being committed to someone forces us to talk, listen, seek understanding, forgive, and reconcile. (See: Commitment–A Healthy Marriage Starts Here)
The absence of commitment is what results in a string of broken relationships. We stay with someone for as long as they make us feel good, but the moment there is a strain in the connection, we move to another friendship, partnership, or marriage. But others deserve better. They should know they can’t walk over us, but we also won’t run away at their first mistake. They should find comfort in knowing we will be full of grace whenever they need it.
Without commitment, individuals will never feel secure enough to fully engage in the relationship.
When Truth Weds Commitment
Healthy relationships are characterized by both truth and commitment. They feed off of one another. Commitment woos truth out of hiding; truth confirms that commitment is real. When the two are present, friends/couples feel empowered to handle whatever comes their way. When either is missing, the relationship morphs into a false form.
Sadly, many people avoid both elements because of fear. Having experienced the heartbreak of broken relationships, they write the false story that avoiding truth and/or commitment will protect their hearts from sorrow. It doesn’t. All it does is rob them of real relationships. But when the two are wedded together, relationships flourish. (See: You Hurt My Feelings)
Marriage. A couple who develops truth and commitment within their marriage will be fortified against outside threats. Every conflict will drive them closer to one another as they learn the value of both qualities.
Friendship. Just like a marriage, a friendship will include times of misunderstanding, frustration, and friction. As two people deal with the issues rather than deny their presence, they will learn to trust one another more.
Work. When truth and commitment are present at work, companies thrive. Nothing hurts productivity and success in a business like failing to face the facts. When an organization trains their employees to live in deception, the bottom-line is damaged. But when they can confront the truth and work through it, the possibilities are endless.
On the surface, it’s easier to conceal our hearts and engage in surface level relationships. By doing so, we hope that life won’t hurt as much. However, nothing contributes to our emotional well-being, life satisfaction, and overall happiness like meaningful relationships. To experience life-changing connection, we must deal with the truth. To handle the truth, we need commitment because without it we will be tempted to run as soon as things get uncomfortable.