Joined: 22 August 2012
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Joined: 19 April 2011
Learning how to cope when a spouse lies is very difficult. Lying arouses a range of emotions in spouses. Spouses may lie for many reasons, such as because they are planning a surprise, because they want to protect their partner's feelings or because they want to protect themselves from the consequences of their own actions.
Take a step back. When you learn that your spouse has lied to you, the worst thing you can do is to fly off the handle and just react to the hurt. You need to take a step back, take a deep breath and let yourself hurt, but then you need to confirm whether or not your spouse actually lied.
Confirm if your spouse lied. You can confirm your spouse's honesty by verifying the lie with another source. For example, if your best friend tells you they saw your spouse out at a meal while you were under the impression they were at work; then ask your spouse directly. If your spouse denies being out for a meal, reveal that your friend saw them there.
Decide how you will react. Do you confront them? Do you express your anger? Can you forgive them? The answers to those questions are usually found in the answers to these questions: Does the lie threaten your faith and security in the marriage? Does it threaten your financial well-being? Is the lie about an unhealthy habit that could endanger you or your children? If the answer to any of those three questions is "yes," then you need to decide not only how to confront your spouse, but how you want to handle the fallout.
Handle the fallout. The fallout of a lie can be as simple as a soul-searching conversation or as difficult as kicking your spouse out. Somewhere in the middle is seeking marriage counseling. The problem with lies is that if your spouse lied to you once, you have to wonder how many other times they've lied? Lies injure the trust in a marriage. Without trust, marriage is a difficult relationship to maintain. You also have to ask yourself, can you forgive the lie?
Forgive the lie. Forgiving the lie is about more than just forgiving your spouse, it's about forgiving yourself and letting go of your anger. It's about directly confronting why your spouse lied and not necessarily the substance of the lie itself. Forgiveness is not always easy, and even if your marriage is shaken by the lie and you must work together to rebuild that foundation of trust, your first step will always be forgiveness. Until that happens, you will cling to the anger, the hurt and the bitterness the lie engendered.
Lies are symptoms of other problems in a marriage. Practice what you preach--do not lie to your spouse.
If your spouse is lying about a potentially life-threatening habit such as drug abuse, alcohol addiction or gambling, seek professional help for yourself and your spouse
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