Sy’s "satirical" post got me thinking about this subject a little more because although I know that people do it, a ploy that many people use when they want to reassure themselves that something their husband or wife may be thinking isn’t really what he or she is thinking, it’s something problematic in many marriages that people might not recognize as such. Sy used some questions to which he applied “A Right Answer,” “A Wrong Answer” and “The Truth.”
A common example of this would be the following:
Question: Do I look good in this dress?
Right Answer: Yes, you look great in that dress!
Wrong Answer: No, that dress makes your butt look like French Fries are your staple diet.
The Truth: If that’s the dress you plan to wear to the party next week, I’m going to pretend I entirely forgot about a previous engagement.
Certainly, a lot of people ask this type of question because they want to hear the right answer. I think it is an unfair position in which to put someone. Certainly, the other person, unless he or she is a fool, knows you do not want to hear the answer I stated as the wrong one and probably neither the truth as it was stated, at least.
If he gives you the answer that I said was the right one, I don’t know why anyone would ask it unless she were fishing for a compliment, or knows she really does look awful in the dress and is just testing her husband to see whether he is telling her the truth. Even in the case that she does think she looks awful in the dress, her husband may not think so. He may be telling her with the “right answer” what he really does think is the truth and she may think he’s humoring her when he isn’t. So, to me, these questions are not something you should ask unless you are willing to face the truth of whatever your spouse thinks, and unless you trust your spouse to tell you exactly what he thinks even if it’s what he knows you would prefer not to hear from him.
I know that men do this same kind of thing sometimes too, and it‘s always annoyed me because I do find this kind of question very unfair. In relationships where the man has done this more often than I care to lie, I tire of giving the “right answer” and have realized there is not any connection there. However, I know that married couples who may not have much in common aside from the kids and their common troubles often run out of things to talk about on a daily basis, and resort to this kind of question to each other. If they know that in the past, the “wrong answer” has caused problems, they may tell what they consider just a white lie to keep peace. But for how long can a person do that without filing divorce papers?
I know many of you are married, and I’m wondering whether you are honest with your spouses or whether you tell them white lies. Even if you are not brutally truthful, do you tell the truth in a nice way in the best interests of your relationship because you know your spouse values your opinion no matter what it might be?