What is the one thing that is most important in a relationship? I bet if you asked 100 people, you'd get a lot of different answers. Plus, what is the most important thing one year might be different in a few years. I know that a friend of mine who has been married for awhile now is adamant that the most important thing is money. She went into her marriage thinking that wasn't important in the slightest, but now the two of them spend so much time arguing about money that she feels if that wasn't an issue, the rest of the marriage would fall into place. Of course, one quality doesn't define a relationship or guarantee either its success or failure. However, over the years, I've come to believe that, for myself anyway, honesty is the most important thing a relationship can have.
That isn't to say that other qualities aren't important. Other ones I value highly include:
If you had asked me five years ago what my most important qualities in a relationship were, this list would look different. It would probably contain words like "chemistry" and "sex" and "humor."
But not these days.
These days, if I was on a desert island and could take only one relationship quality with me, it would be honesty. Here's why. I can't have ANY of those other things on my list without it. There's no trust without honesty. No respect. And very little communication, because a dishonest person is either lying or omitting. And there's only so much lying and omitting you can do before the arguments start, because you know something is off.
Honesty is important not only in terms of being honest with your partner -- which, let's face it, you hope is happening, but you have no proof of unless you catch your partner lying -- but with yourself. Honesty actually starts with yourself. If you can't admit to yourself who you are, and what you want, then you just naturally begin to fudge, and shift, and cover up, and exaggerate, and omit, and then downright lie. And then lie to cover the lies.
And it all comes out eventually. It all does. Always.
Usually people lie to make themselves feel better. Sometimes they lie to be selfish and have something they're not supposed to have. There's lying about, say, not being a smoker when you are, and then there's lying about having an affair. I abhor both. In fact, I'm at the point in my life where I have such little tolerance for lies that if a guy tells me he had cod for lunch when he really had a burger, I would seriously have to reconsider our relationship.
Of course, when it comes to lies -- what is the intent? If someone lies and tells you you look sexy in those harem pants even if you don't, then that's a benign lie. Telling your spouse you never contact your ex anymore when in fact you had lunch with her last week is a bad lie, even if nothing is going on.
And you need to be scrupulously honest with yourself as to why you might lie.
With honesty, I think that two people can tackle most problems that come their way.
What is the single most important ingredient of a relationship to you?
Image via Juan Antonio Capo/Flickr