“What were you thinking of?” she whispered as she turned and fluffed the pillow, and snuggled against his chest.

“To be honest?” he said, his arm under her cheek, his breath caressing her forehead. “There’s this woman at work with a drop dead gorgeous body, and sometimes I picture her when we’re making out. What about you?”

“My ex-husband. I mean, don’t misunderstand, I’m glad I left him, but he was much better at this part of our life than you are.”

SERIOUSLY! Are you nuts? Do you really think you can tell every stupid thought that goes through your brain and come off looking like a nice person?

Years ago in my struggling-to-develop ministry, with a church that was sometimes divided over issues, I got tired of people coming to me and saying, “Can I be totally honest?” Like, what was I going to say? “No, I’d rather you lie your head off”?

I got to the place where I started saying, “Only if I can be honest back.”

I discovered that when people ask, “Can I be honest?” what they really mean is, “I’m fixing to be very rude to you and insult you, and I’d like to get by with it by calling it honesty.”

If you haven’t learned it yet, marriage doesn’t always require total honesty. It’s like that Geico commercial where the narrator asks, “Was Abe Lincoln really honest?” And then it shows Mrs. Lincoln asking Abe, “Does this dress make my backside look fat?” And he studies it, then holds up his fingers in a pinch: “Just a little.” And she storms off with hurt feelings. At least they got it right. Some honesty hurts. And it’s not necessary.

I don’t want my wife telling me she wishes she had married someone else, even if it’s true. She doesn’t want me saying, “Just a little,” even if it’s true.

That doesn’t mean we have to lie. Jesus was a master at redirecting. When He was asked things He didn’t want to answer, He didn’t blurt out the truth. He often countered a question with another question. He redirected the conversation.

The classic might be the woman caught in adultery. Her accusers told Him, “We caught her in the act. Moses’ law commands us to stone her. What say you?” If He tells them to let her go, they’ll fry Him for heresy against Moses’ law. If he questions her guilt they’ll remind Him she was “caught in the act.” Instead, He just said, “Let he who is sinless throw the first stone at her.” He redirected their attention. Now instead of looking at her sin, they had to look at their own. Clever!

It’s a good trick to learn in marriage. It might work like this.

“What were you thinking of?” she whispered as she turned and fluffed the pillow, snuggling against his chest.

“I love the feel of your breath on my neck,” says the silver-tongued fox, grinning in the darkness.

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