It really is the best policy

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Before we got married, I looked my wife Donna straight in the eyes and made a commitment to her.

“I will never lie to you, no matter what. I will always be honest with you, even if it hurts one or both of us.”

I was talking about everything in life.

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For instance, Donna is a great cook. She accidentally burned tamales the first time she made them — not enough liquid in the pot, and she fell asleep. But I thought they tasted good anyway. I really did.

I thanked her for cooking as I always do, and I ate the charred tamales. She may have thought I was just being nice, but I was honest. They were not cooked the way I prefer tamales, but they were delicious, nevertheless.

If something is too bland or too salty, not hot enough, or whatever, I am honest, but I’ll enjoy it anyway. There are foods I absolutely do not like, and will not eat. But I’m always honest with her about it.

If she asks my opinion on an item of clothing, I’ll give my honest feedback. There is no good feedback from any husband who is asked, “Does this dress make me look …” NO. Just don’t. Nope. Stop. Talking.

But the questions I get are more often like: “Brett, which sweater do you like better? The brown one with leopard print or the gold-brown one with leopard print?”

I think I like the gold-brown one better.

“I like the other one better. I’m going to get it.”


But what about conversations much more serious than dinner or dress?

“If [catastrophic event A] were to happen to us, would you [terrible option 1] or [terrible option 2]?”

I don’t know. Let’s pray that [CE-A] never happens, but if it does, that God will guide us in what to do. I don’t think I would do [TO-1] or [TO-2], and why did you pick those options?

I want to be completely honest and transparent with my wife in everything I do. That doesn’t mean I give her a play-by-play of my entire day, including how I stood next to the microwave while heating my lunch, or if I sneezed, or all the details that don’t matter. It does mean, however, that I talk with her about financial dealings — from things as small as “I bought a Coke Zero this morning when I went to the drugstore” or as big as “I think we need to put some more money into X” — about personal struggles like trying not to lose my temper while driving, about spiritual convictions, about … well, everything.

I don’t have to imagine what’s like to live in a marriage where spouses are not transparent and communicative with one another. I have lived it, and it’s the primary reason that marriage ended. It is very difficult to operate on a day-to-day basis when one or both partners in a relationship are not this way.

When our governments do not bother to communicate well and be transparent, it doesn’t work, either. We should not accept it from our leaders, individually or as boards and committees, Congresses and legislatures.

Our inquiries and efforts to keep leaders accountable should be consistent and with the goal of mutual benefit. We should desire that our leaders be successful in leading, guiding, providing, preventing, or whatever their given role entails. We should help them do so, when possible.

It doesn’t have to be hostile. In fact, it shouldn’t be. But one thing they and we should both be, consistently, is honest.

It’s what we want from others. It’s what God wants from us. And it really is the best policy.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at