5 Ways Lying Destroys Marriages

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So I am sitting here thinking about my clients and wondering how lying has effected the marriages of the couples I see. I started to think what others go through and how they felt. This gave me an idea. It occurred to me that if I could help them, I can help you. What if you could recognize how your behavior is not getting the results you were hoping for? Would you be able to start choosing behaviors that are more healthy.

You are probably here because you either have a spouse or partner that has lied to you, or you are the spouse that is struggling with lying. I’m guessing, like me, you are hoping to understand this behavior. It’s important to find ways to change this behavior in your relationship too. If this is you, then you are in the right place.

This post will provide insight into how lying hurts your relationship. Knowing how it hurts can lead you to understand how to change your situation. Continue with me as we lay out the damage that dishonesty brings to marriage.

Get my workbook to receive understanding about dishonesty and to change this type of behavior HERE.

Lying destroys marriages in the following 5 ways

  1. Lying destroys trust.
  2. Lying prevents deeper, empowering conversation.
  3. Lying leads to more lying and deception.
  4. Learning about dishonesty can be extremely painful which make it hard to heal
  5. Lying portrays selfishness

There are consequences for lying in relationships?

This may seem like an obvious answer, and maybe it is. However, knowing why lying hurts relationships can help to prevent lying in the first place. The reason lying hurts relationships is due to it’s nature of creating distrust. When a person lies to you, you automatically are hurt and in some ways fearful. Not the type of fear where you are scared for you life, but fear of more hurt and emotional pain.

Why is it important to have trust in a relationship and not dishonesty?

When two individuals enter a relationship, they trust each other. You would agree that you trusted your partner when things started, at least as you got to know them. Trust continues until a person hurts or deceives another person. Trust is important because it provides safety and certainty in the relationship.

Safety and certainty is important in relationships because they open us up to deeper connection and love. Honesty and trust provide safety and certainty in a marriage. A healthy relationship thrives on safety and certainty because a person can be more and more honest and open without the fear of being hurt. Find out more on how honesty helps a marriage HERE.

Deception and dishonesty are wrong, even though sometimes people try to justify it.

Most people agree that deception or dishonesty is wrong. A lie is a sin according the Bible. Many believe there are times when lying is okay. However, lying causes hurt and pain. Is that ever okay? I am not arguing whether or not lying sometimes may benefit you. I believe that dishonesty has benefitted people, but at what cost?

Lying might be the sin that is committed most in life, except for one other. If you have lied, you know that dishonesty can permeate a person’s life. One lie leads to another. The need to cover up each lie, leads to confusion. The end result is paranoia. On top of that, trying to keep all the lies in tact causes a person to question every thing.

Weigh the cost of dishonesty to limit the consequences for you and your partner

Everyone in this world has experienced a form of dishonesty. Weighing the cost of dishonesty is important in order to determine what the benefits and risks are. If you are willing to accept the consequences, then be my guest.

Just because something looks good or feels good, does not mean it is right. Lying will never be right in my book. There are many consequences to lying. In a relationship, dishonesty has costs that can cost you trust, safety, respect and more.

Can we make room for grace and mercy for those who have been dishonesty?

Although I think lying is wrong, I have done it too. If dishonesty can create this much trouble in regular relationships, committed marriages don’t stand a chance. Devastation arises with just one little white lie. However, grace and reassurance is needed for those who have made the choice to be dishonest. We all have fallen short.

I remember early in my marriage when I told my wife a lie. (We can get into the specifics of why people lie later.) Anyone who knows me, knows I do not have a poker face. You can see it on my face when I try to make a joke.

Needless to say, it did not go well. It was the first time my wife realized she didn’t know if she could trust me. Unfortunately, it was probably wishful thinking that I could be perfect in the first place. However, when she was able to forgive me and provide grace, it was a gift of love to me. It allowed me to see that I can be honest, even if I mess up because she is willing to give me grace and forgiveness. Find out more about how to forgive your partner HERE.

Dishonesty can have a permanent effect

My dishonesty was a huge mistake for me. I would give anything to get back that day. It not only hurt her, but it also hurt me. She questioned whether or not I was a safe person (more about safety in another blog). I knew that I did not have her faith anymore.

One little white lie did all that damage in seconds. Wow! Just thinking about how easy it was to do so much damage scares me, even now.

I am not saying that a couple can’t repair the marriage (as was alluded to above), but I encourage preventing the destruction from happening in the first place. That is why I want you to know how lying damages relationships. You can prevent this if you start by understanding how harmful dishonesty can be to your marriage.

5 Ways Lying Damages Relationships

So, let’s clarify the ways lying destroys marriages in a more detailed fashion. This way you can be aware of how dishonesty can damage your relationship.

Lying destroys trust.

Trust is pivotal to all relationships. If a marriage does not have trust, it cannot function properly. Dr. John Gottman, a long time researcher of marriage, describes trust as one of the walls to his Sound Relationship House Theory along with commitment to help a relationship thrive.

Trust is the basis of good and positive communication. If there is no trust, an individual may not listen to or take heed to anything their partner person says.

When a spouse lies, the person being lied to feels hurt and betrayed. A sense of devastation may arise, and withdrawal from the dishonest spouse may begin. The hurt spouse may start to question everything the deceiver says. If questioning persists, the dishonest spouse may become angry because they cannot express what they want or need due to repetitive questioning of the facts.

The hurt person then may shut down, or may not believe the answers of the dishonest spouse. This sequence of events creates a nasty cycle of distrust, defensiveness and blame.

Lying prevents deeper, empowering conversation.

Have you ever found out a loved one was lying to you? What did you do? How did you feel? You may have felt angry, disappointed, frustrated or some other intense feeling. You probably stopped communicating effectively due to fear, anxiety, or distrust.

Married couples need to communicate on deep levels to feel the bond that keeps them together. But, if you are not able to communicate because of anger, hurt or fear, the deeper levels of communication cannot be reached.

Lying leads to more lying and deception.

As a alluded to above, once a lie is formed and emitted, a cover up begins so as to not get caught. Some people go to great lengths to cover up a lie because telling the truth can have very serious consequences.

For the individual who is dishonest, it becomes important to cover up the lie so they don’t lose their standing with their spouse, to avoid an upset spouse, or possibly lose their marriage and much more. Deception can become very complex and twisted, but to avoid the consequences, what other options does a person have?

Learning about dishonesty can be extremely painful, making it hard to heal.

One of the consequences of lying to your partner is that they will feel hurt. The depth of the hurt depends on the type of lie, what the lie was about, the length of time the lie has been covered up, and whether or not the lie is dealing with a sensitive subject (ie, sex, finances, family).

As a professional, I have many couples who ask how long will it take to fix this. I have never been able to give a good answer on how long the healing process takes. It has been said that hurt takes time to heal. The amount of time to heal depends on the depth of the hurt.

Unfortunately, depending on the depth of the hurt, healing may the a spouses last thought. They may, instead, choose to not attempt to start the healing process at all. When you trust someone with your life and you are vulnerable and open with them, dishonesty crushes you.

Multiple issues arise. It feels like you can’t trust your partner anymore. It also feels like the deepest parts of you (the most vulnerable and most sensitive parts) were abused and not taken care of. Your spouse trusted you with some of the most sensitive stuff in their life, and lying spits on that trust they had in you.

Lying portrays selfishness.

When a person lies, they are most likely thinking about themselves. It may seem they are doing it for other reasons and maybe even to protect another person. Some circumstances might seem selfless, but if you dig enough, you will realize that their actions are selfish. Selfishness is not a loving action, and if that is the message you send when you are dishonest, then you are damaging the marriage.

Like we said, lying is usually to cover something up. Why would someone cover something up? To keep it secret? To not get in trouble? To not hurt another person so the relationship does not change? Could be any other number of reasons. No matter which way you swing it, ALL of these reasons point back to selfishness.

You can almost hear a resounding, “I…” if the person were asked why they lied. Defensiveness is a good test to determine if a person is thinking about themselves or others. I hate to be so abrupt and harsh on this last point. I know people will try to argue they were doing it to protect someone or something.

There are always good reasons for doing anything that you do, BUT was it the best, most beneficial choice. I think if we look at every angle and all the possible consequences with the benefits, we would find that lying destroys relationships. Although at the time it seemed like you were protecting others, the selfishness of the decision leads to greater hurt in the future.

What do we do when a spouse lies?

Finally, how do we use this information? The following portrays a few simple steps to help you to know what do after a loved one has been dishonest. Also, you can check out my post: How do I talk to my partner about lying?


Lying can be easy sometimes. Being aware of how it effects others and how it takes away what is dear to you, can help you make a correct decision. I always teach people: Be aware of yourself (ie, feelings, thoughts and actions).  Know your WHY!


Awareness breeds control. Awareness allows for a larger array of choices. Awareness allows for the individual to manage the problem instead of the problem managing the individual. In my post about “5 Ways to be Intentional in your Marriage”  I talked about being intentional!  Awareness allows an individual to be intentional when working to have a healthy and lasting marriage.


Honesty provides safety and trust in relationships. Would you rather be with someone who messes up, yet is honest and genuine about it, or someone who does not want anyone to see them for who they really are? To find out more about honesty go to this post: 5 Ways Honesty Improves Marriages.

If you need help with being honest and genuine call me 706-955-0230.

A book called 9 Lies That Will Destroy Your Marriage: and the Truths that will Save It and Set It Free that you can check out about how lying destroys marriage can be found HERE on Amazon.

If you would like help with your relationship or help with this issue, please contact me or schedule a session through the online portal. (Unfortunately, if you live outside the state of Georgia, I cannot do counseling with you, unless you are able to meet in person at my office.)

Read other posts by me HERE.



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