4 Reasons Why We Deceive and How to be More Honest

Discover how trustworthy you are as a spouse, using the free inventory Beth provides that's based on Scripture. #Scripture #marriage #honest #trustworthy #reliable #dedication #spouse #Bible #verses #quotes #inspiration

I’m hooked on the TV show “The Good Doctor.” Part of its appeal for me is the way Freddie Highmore’s character—as a surgeon with autism—is so extremely honest. He cannot pretend he feels a certain way when he doesn’t like most of us can and often do daily. 😉 Although this can get him in trouble, most of his coworkers trust him implicitly because of his no-holds-barred honesty.

This illustrates what’s “good” about holding ourselves to this God-commanded standard in life. We need honesty and integrity so that others will trust us. Naturally, these choices help us become trustworthy spouses.

That’s why it’s important to identify some common reasons for why we fail to be honest, dependable, and trustworthy. First, when we know these reasons, we can understand our mate’s failures better, being better able to show them compassion in those fails as well. Second, armed with this knowledge, we can identify our own sinful motivations, helping us to resist them when the heat is on.

4 Good (understandable) Reasons for the Bad Choice of being Dishonest

  1. Fear of being rejected or causing conflict.
  2. Don’t want to disappoint or let your mate down.
  3. Want to avoid hurting your mate’s feelings.
  4. Don’t recognize it in yourself—“in denial.”

Reasons for being undependable are less straightforward or understandable. That’s because undependability typically stems from selfishness. But being dependable is just as important to building trustworthiness in marriage as honesty is.

How Trustworthy and Honest Are You?

(Click here to download the inventory.)

Hover over each Scripture to see where the questions spring from—scoring yourself using this grid: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 very often. 

1. I’m careful to keep my spouse’s confidences unless my spouse has given me permission to share for a good reason (Prov. 11:13).

When my husband tells me a secret, I keep this boundary in place, so I’ve rated myself a 5 here. However, anyone who knows Gary, knows how open he is! Whenever I feel a compelling reason for sharing his secret with trusted friends or family, Gary almost always gives me permission to do so.

If you’ve not guarded your spouse’s secrets, your spouse might stop sharing them with you. This can quickly lead to resentment and disconnection in no time.

2. My spouse would say that I can be trusted to do what I promise, following through on what I say I will do in a timely way (Luke 16:10a).

I gave myself a 5 here. It might sound like I’m bragging, but I’m really not! I’m just a very conscientious person. The credit goes to God for wiring me this way!

You, on the other hand, might not be wired this way. If not, it’s time to call in accountability to strengthen your resolve. Nothing helps quite like a trusted friend to hold your feet to the fire! #hurtsogood

3. I’m honest, forthcoming, and transparent with my spouse and others (Prov. 12:22).

Sadly, this one hasn’t always been a strong-suit for me. My husband started early in our marriage “holding my feet to the fire,” which changed my “I’m fine” answers to honest ones. In time, this helped me to be more than just forthcoming. It helped me to learn to confess and live in humble transparency. So I give myself a 4 here, with room to improve.

If you’ve been dishonest, this one can be a real dealbreaker in your marriage. We’re to not only get naked with our mates physically but to get naked emotionally and spiritually as well! 😉

4. I’m careful not to complain about or mock my spouse behind his/her back (Titus 3:1a-2).

Sadly, I’m a 3 on this. Not only have I complained to my good friends about my husband at times, but I’ve also given myself permission to joke about him—mocking him behind his back. 😦 It’s quite the ugly confession to make and a horrible habit that I’ve justified because … “It’s only a joke!” Well, the joke’s on me!

If you do this, it could be your way of lessening the pain you’re feeling—passive-aggressively blowing off steam. Though it might give you some relief, it’s the absolute worst way to respond to your disappointment or anger.

5. I’m willing to respectfully confront my spouse on his/her damaging behaviors, in order to bring healing to our relationship (Prov. 27:6).

This one is BIG in my marriage, so I’m probably a 5 here. One of our core marriage values is honest accountability, because of the healing it provides. It’s like getting that relational “splinter out.” Hurts for a moment, but feels so much better moving forward!

Perhaps you’re afraid to confront for fear of hurting your spouse. That simply means you need to learn how to move toward this respectfully and courageously. God’s word, prayer, and accountability are crucial for preparing for this task!

6. I invite my spouse to be just as honest with me as I am with him/her, knowing this is how we can grow closer and stronger (Prov. 24:26).

Because my husband and I are convinced that confession brings us closer, we do this a LOT, which also means I’m probably a 5 here.

If you’re hesitant to confess, be vulnerable, or apologize, you’re missing the opportunity to, in a sense, “kiss” your mate (see Prov. 24:26).

7. I’m careful to guard my thoughts—focusing on what is true, right, and pure—knowing this will protect my heart and marriage (Phil. 4:8).

This one’s not very strong for me, like maybe a 3, since I let my mind dwell on the negative more than I should.

If you’re doing that as well, you’re playing with fire—the fires of resentment, that is. And that can lead, like playing with fire, to so many other destructive outcomes!

8. My spouse would say that my life and what I say are consistent, reflecting a desire to pursue and honor God (Isaiah 29:13a).

I really struggled to nail this one down for myself. But I’d say I’m a 3, since I do try to reflect this desire a LOT, though I often fail because of selfishness and pride.

If you’re struggling here, you might be underestimating God’s power or not relying on Him enough—or both! Are you moody, insecure, or easily disappointed? These all point to having a misaligned dependence on self, rather than on God!

9. If I neglect to keep a promise I’ve made, I quickly admit this, apologize and work to make it right (Lev. 5:4-5).

This is rather strong for me—maybe even a 5. This reflects the commitment my spouse and I both have to quickly confess our sins to each other.

If you struggle here, reflect back on what I mentioned above are reasons why we deceive. Then ask God to help you find a way to bring Him the glory instead of remaining locked in these unhealthy patterns. Click the link to read Deb Wolf’s amazing post on bringing God glory for more on this idea.

10. I work hard at thinking before I speak, making sure that what I say about or to my spouse is not only honest but also builds him/her up (Eph. 4:29).

This one is fairly strong for me, so I’ll give myself a 4. Like I’ve mentioned before, God’s wired me this way—being cautious about what I say. The only time this goes awry for me is when I’m angry. So I watch out for the “amygdala hijack!” Read here for more on that!

If you struggle here, it might also be related to the way you’re wired. But that’s not a problem when you look to God for His help! With each choice you make to build up your mate, you’ll start to rebuild his/her trust in you as well!

My application for this week’s focus will be on #4. I’m going to work on banning complaining about my husband either to his face or behind his back. Click here to view/download the inventory to know how to tabulate your overall score. Then choose one area of weakness to formulate an action point like I did and am!

Be sure to join me next week when I’ll be examining what unselfishness looks like and how we can be improve in this area! I can already tell you, this one’s going to hurt … at least, hurt me! Lol! Click the link to find all the other posts in this Insight for 2020 Series


Which of the inventory questions do you want to make your goal and focus, and in what specific way?


Just for fun . . . What’s one of your favorite TV shows and why?

26 responses to “4 Reasons Why We Deceive and How to be More Honest”

  1. Thank you, Beth, for this heart check.
    Of all relationships, we should be so careful to be honest with our husbands.


    1. Yes, Michele. So many spouses under estimate the corrosive nature of deception and undependability in their marriages. It makes us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks in so many ways. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!


  2. Beth, I always appreciate your encouragement, openness, and realness! Again, you’ve encouraged and challenged me this week! I had some heart checks going through this and will be praying through these in the coming days. Thank you for holding my feet in the fire!!


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Erin! I’m glad it stirred some ideas and thoughts for you. Not that I want you to find problems. Well, I take that back! 😉 I want you to be armed to do better, as we both work to improve our performance with our mates! Thank you for taking this seriously and being such a great supporter of MM!


  3. I love your honesty in this post, Beth, and the heart check is a great tool!


    1. Thanks, Sarah! It truly keeps me in check in many ways, so it’s worth it all, knowing I’m being challenged to improve!


  4. Oh boy, Beth. This is good (and hard) stuff! I’m definitely using this in several ways starting with doing your inventory tonight to take a good look at my “stuff.” Thank you for challenging us to go further, dive deeper, and come out the women God intended us to be!!!


    1. I’m so glad you want to use it, Leslie! That’s high praise coming from a fellow life-coach and seasoned spouse! I’m so glad neither one of us ever thinks we have it all together, but are constantly working to improve how we relate to our husbands! Hugs to you, my friend!


  5. Stacey Pardoe Avatar

    This was some good soul-searching today, Beth! Thank you for this challenge! I’m always inspired in this space!


    1. Thanks, Stacey! This series really is challenging me! Lol! Every week I kind of inwardly groan to see what “new insights” God is going to reveal and expect me to follow through with! But it’s ALL good! Thanks for being a great encourager in my life!


  6. I’m not dishonest about dying
    but folks say so all the time,
    claiming I am lying,
    but I’m really doing fine.
    Sure there might be better roads,
    but this one is my own,
    and though there may be lighter loads,
    look how my strength has grown!
    I’m slave no longer to my past,
    or the wants that I called needs,
    and though time’s now running fat,
    I stop and plant the seeds
    that tell now of the startled truth
    that death is life, and age is youth.


    1. I know you are one incredible straight-shooter, Andrew! There’s no doubt that you have the courage to be honest no matter what that might look like or mean. I do hope you sense my prayers for you each day! And thank you for always whipping up another amazing poem for us to be inspired and awed by! “Truly” inspired by! 😉


  7. What a great inventory! I probably need to work on number 3 the most–I’m a stuffer and a peacemaker–a bad combination for transparency and honesty. My favorite TV show is Survivor–I can’t believe we’ve been watching it since it started! Makes me feel old ;).


    1. Yeah, I can relate to that, Anita. But like I’ve shared above, my truth-telling husband wouldn’t let me get away with that! Lol! And he ALWAYS knows when I’m not being completely honest, with myself or with him! So I figure I better fess up and get on with life! And you’re a Survivor fan! Makes sense as outdoorsy and adventurous as you seem! And for the record, you sure don’t look or act old! Remember, age is only a number! Thanks so much for coming by, my friend!


  8. Thanks Beth. Very helpful as always.


    1. Thanks for stopping in to encourage, Kevin! I truly appreciate it!


  9. Beth,
    Great post on being open and honest with our spouses and doing it in love. I know I need work on the “doing it in love” part. One thing I am working to overcome is being completely upfront with my husband. Having been in an abusive marriage wherein if I spoke my mind I was chided or maligned, I’ve had to learn that my husband now can be trusted with my thoughts and feelings. I don’t have to feel afraid to tell him the truth…no matter how hard it might be. In marriage we often have to “unlearn” some “learned” behaviors in order to have an honest relationship. As always, great post!!
    Bev xx


    1. Yes, that’s the hardest part of being honest–doing it in love!

      I bet! It would be so hard to unlearn something that probably is deeply emblazoned in your mind and thinking. But it also sounds like you’ve got the right guy to do that with–to trust again! Thanks for adding that thought to the conversation. I’m sure there are many who can relate to you and your experience.

      Hugs to you, my friend! I’ll be in touch to let you know when I’ll be visiting in your neck of the woods.


  10. I like to rate myself along with you as you go through the checklist in these posts, Beth. I think I need to work especially hard on #10. Think before I speak!


    1. Yeah, that can be a hard one for me too, especially if I’m mad! Lol! But I truly think I’ve improved on that one over the years. So off I go to work on #4, the one that really trips me up far too often. Thanks for coming by to encourage!


  11. This is a great honesty assessment, Beth! Thank you for these reminders!


    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!


    1. My pleasure to join your linkup, Patsy! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend!


  12. Beth, so much good things here. Reasons we are not honest with each other. Mine is #3. Not wanting to hurt my mate’s feelings. For years I tiptoed around saying certain things because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings (part of my personality and way I was raised). I am working on this and learning it is darn hard to hurt his feelings. He wants to know the unvarnished truth and he is not sensitive at all (like I am). Realizing this has helped my speak up and tackle difficult things with him.


  13. Wonderful post, Beth! When my husband and I first got married I shared everything he told me with my mom. I thought it was OK because it was my mom and I told her everything. I came to realize rather quickly that this was a breach of trust in my husband’s eyes and in our marriage. I had to work really hard on not sharing everything with my mom, but as I grew in my marriage it became easier. I saw my husband’s trust grow in me and his appreciation for how hard I was trying and working at putting him first. Honesty in marriage is more than just telling the truth it is also allowing your spouse the confidence to be able to confide in you. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Pinning and sharing!


  14. Interesting with these quizzes I get 4-5 on most questions & then completely fail one or two. Here: I do quite well nowadays at #10 — but I have to work hard! My weakness are#3 and #7 where I score 2 or even 1. I need practice being in the Christian head & heart-space.

    I haven’t watched much TV since I left home in the early 80s so my favorite shows are probably from the 70s. Star Trek or Top Cat maybe. Always wanted to be Choo-choo, but I think I turned out more like Spook (or The Brain, …)


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