(Ed. note: Today’s guest post is by editor Ayesha Mattu’s husband)
Honesty is the best policy. Except when it isn’t.
Several years ago, my wife Ayesha and I sat on adjacent sofas when she broke the silence.
“Do you still love me?”
I hate this question. On this occasion it wasn’t the common rhetorical variety that I merely dislike. This time, she genuinely wanted to know because it wasn’t obvious to her that I did.
We had been married for just over a year and were amidst a turbulent adjustment period. Cohabitation. Communication. Unemployment. Depression. A life-threatening illness. Stress. Arguments.
I was tired, and had the urge to respond: “No. Now leave me the fuck alone.”
Several years later, the memory of that question surfaced as we listened to a guest speaker on NPR. I don’t recall the specific hypothesis—it had something to do with the value of deceit in relationships—but at the end of the segment Ayesha asked me if I thought dishonesty was necessary to maintain a happy relationship.
I paused and reflected on that evening years before. “If you’re talking about being honest about everything at every moment, then, yes, deceit is necessary. But that’s not now I look at it. You have to be honest about what is true beyond the moment. You have to be honest about the greater truth. In which case, you’re not being dishonest.”
The greater truth is what is true day after day, but on rare occasions may not be.
Fatherhood is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, after long, sleepless nights with a sick son, I envy the childless couples who wake at noon and go for leisurely brunches.
I believe in God, but I experience doubt and endure periods of spiritual emptiness.
I love my wife with a depth beyond reckoning, but there are times when I just don’t feel it.
I looked at her sitting across the room, waiting for an answer. She was tired too. We were frustrated, uncertain, lonely, and struggling.
I could have told her how I was feeling right then and there. I could have been honest in the moment.
“Yes”, I replied. “Of course, I love you.”
Nine years later, I still do. That was and remains the greater truth.
Randy Nasson is a proud father and husband living in San Francisco. Randy converted to Islam in 2002 and is still on a love-inspired journey of spiritual introspection and unapologetic heresy. “The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.” – Tolkien
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