My hope is that, in reading this, you will find the courage to expose any and every secret, lie, or feeling that you may be withholding from your partner.

Satan is a liar. He cheats and robs us of our joy. He tricks us into playing his games, then convinces us that it’s better to keep the games we are playing a secret.

“Oh yes, Caitlyn, tell your husband that… but do not tell him this,” he whispers.

I’m not going to go into too many details because, quite frankly, some things are not the whole world’s business. But I did want to write to tell you that I am learning the lesson of brutal honesty the hard way. I am very grateful to be learning this so young in marriage, but I also question why this had to be something I am needing to re-learn at all.

Don’t we all know that lying is wrong? I mean, even people who don’t believe in Jesus would agree with that, right?

Isn’t lying just like cheating, stealing, and murder? Universally wrong?

And yet, it still happens. Lying has become such a natural part of our culture. I wonder if we even realize how bad it has gotten.

It’s something as simple as saying, “I’m good,” when asked how you’re doing by co-workers and you’ve barely eaten or slept in three days because your mental health is garbage.

Or when responding with, “I’m just tired,” when your marriage is on the rocks and everyone can tell that something is wrong.

I’m starting to have more respect for the person who says, “I’m here,” when asked how they are. Sure, that may not be positive. Yes, that may bring my fake joy down a notch, but dude – at least they are honest. They are here. At work. During a pandemic and all of life’s other issues. That’s okay. Even if you don’t think it’s okay, it doesn’t matter. At least they are telling the truth.

I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of gal. I see the world through rose-colored lenses – searching for the bright side and the good in others.

My husband is more of a glass half-empty kind of guy. He sees the world for what it is – pegging who people really are from the moment he meets them and understanding that nothing in this life is perfect.

The marriage of these two world views is both a blessing and a curse.

I tend to have extremely high expectations for others and myself because I assume that most people are good. My husband has zero expectations for others to be good (except those who he is in close relationship with).

So when I started to lie to him – or really, hide little things here and there that I was feeling about us and marriage – I didn’t even notice it.

“I’m good. He’s good. We are good!” I would say. You know, for the sake of a positive attitude. The glass is always half-full.

The thing is this – if you are unhappy in your marriage, the only ones that can help that feeling at all are God and the person you are married to. Unless you are upfront and honest about feelings, they will continue to grow until something happens that releases them into the wild air.

I know this now.

I would ask, “Babe, are we okay?” He would say yes and that would be the end. Instead, I should have asked myself, “Caitlyn, are you okay?” My answer would have been no. I didn’t understand what exactly was wrong, so I kept pressing down those negative emotions and feelings – choosing not to address them. I chose to “stay positive.”

And, you know, I drank a little extra to numb the feelings.

And, you know, I hung out more with friends and family in order to get away from my thoughts.

If I’m busy, I don’t have to think – right? If I’m drunk, the problem will solve itself, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong. The longer you wait, the longer you numb, the longer you avoid, the worse it gets.

Here’s the thing, y’all. If you are married and are withholding any emotion or thought from your spouse – no matter how bad it may hurt them if they knew it – you have to come clean. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want an exceptional marriage, you do. You have to. Pretending to be okay does not make you okay. You cannot “fake it ’til you make it” in marriage. It doesn’t work that way.

It is impossible to be in an intimate relationship with someone if you are not being fully honest with that person.

Do you feel close to your spouse? Do you feel connected to your spouse?

If not, I would be willing to bet that someone in the relationship is withholding something from the other. Hard conversations are painful. They require humility and grace. Sometimes doors are slammed, bridges are burned, and feelings are hurt. Sometimes brutal honestly ends relationships. Most times, though, brutal honestly saves relationships.

I’m choosing to talk about this because people don’t talk about it enough.

Every strong marriage I know has been through some deep dirt. They’ve walked through crap that was unbearable and painful. They fought, endured, worked through it, and came out on the other end much stronger than they were before the pain.

I had to get honest with myself and with my husband. Was he angry? Of course. I think anyone deserves to be angry when they’ve been lied to – no matter how big or small the lie is.

But after the anger subsided, there was an incredible peace between us – a freedom.

“The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

We began having the most honest conversations that we’ve ever had – picking up our broken pieces and rebuilding little by little.

Satan wants us to keep our thoughts, feelings, and actions in the dark – especially the ones that “aren’t a big deal” or “aren’t a really bad thing.” But if we trust God, and bring these lies into the light, then Satan can no longer use them to torment our minds and relationships.

Of course the devil is going to attack two Christians who have decided to commit their lives to one another. Do you know what a threat Christian marriage is to the devil? Do you know how powerful and impactful a God-centered marriage can be?

So don’t be surprised when the devil throws his fiery arrows. Be honest with yourself and your spouse in the struggle, and pursue God like your life and marriage depend on it – because they do.

I think divorce rates are up because people don’t talk about how hard commitment can be anymore. We (including myself) are genuinely surprised when marriage gets rocky – thinking that we are unique or that others don’t struggle like we do.

News flash: Every marriage is hard, no matter who you are married to. The enemy hates marriage because marriage (when centered on Jesus) is a beautiful display of God’s majesty and love. The devil is not for you or for your marriage. He will try with all his might to destroy what God has put together.

I have never experienced Christ’s love the way I have experienced it through my husband after coming clean. His unconditional love, grace, affection, kindness, and selflessness have completely blown my mind. I have seen God work through him in order to love me through this and it is something I cannot wrap my mind around.

It’s unstoppable and powerful – truly something that has the devil shaking in his boots.

God is victorious – always. Now and forever. The battle has already been won. Sometimes I forget that.

What the enemy means for evil, God uses for good (Genesis 50:20). He always has and He always will.

Walk in Truth, sweet friend. Work hard to expose the lies, the thoughts, and the emotions that are holding you back – no matter how difficult or embarrassing they may be.

The intimacy and connection to God (and your spouse) is well worth it.

I promise.

Sincerely,

Caitlyn Sabdo

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