5 Ways Lying Destroys Marriages

When two individuals enter a relationship, they tend to trust each other, until one person does something that hurts or deceives the other person. Most people would agree that deception or dishonesty are not okay, especially within a loving, caring, and committed relationship. Lying might be the sin that is committed more often than any other sin, except for pride.  Dishonesty can permeate a person’s life. One lie leads to the need to cover that lie up with another. The end result is paranoia. Trying to keep all the lies in tact can cause a person to question every thing. Lying tears apart friendships and families. This problem bleeds into every part of our lives and society.

If lying can create this much trouble in regular relationships, then committed marriages can be devastated by just one little white lie.  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 even trying to make a joke.

Needless to say, it did not go over 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 would be perfect in the first place. It was a huge mistake for me at the time. I would give anything to not learn the lesson I learned that day. It not only hurt her, as she was questioning whether or not I was a safe person (more about safety in another blog), but it also hurt me, because 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, but I am more encouraging that maybe the best thing to do is to prevent the destruction from happening in the first place.

So, let’s talk about how lying destroys marriages so we can be aware of how dishonesty damages relationships.

  1. Lying destroys trust. This point may seem moot, but trust is pivotal to all relationships. If a marriage does not have trust, it cannot function properly. 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 the other person says.  When a partner lies, the spouse being lied to might feel devastated and distant. They also 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 deceiver. This sequence of events creates a nasty cycle of distrust, defensiveness and blame.
  2. 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? If you felt angry, disappointed, frustrated or some other intense feeling, then you probably stopped communicating effectively. Married couples need to communicate on deep levels to feel the bond that keeps them together. But, if you can’t even communicate because you are angry, fearful, or hurt, then the deeper levels of communication cannot be reached.
  3. Lying leads to more lying and deception. As a alluded to above, once a lie is formed and emitted, the person lying usually starts to cover it up so they don’t get caught. Some people go to great lengths to cover up a lie because telling the truth can have very damaging 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, so they don’t have to deal with an upset spouse, or possibly lose their marriage and much more. Deception can become very complex and twisted.
  4. Learning about lies can be extremely painful which make 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). It has been said that hurt takes time to heal. The amount of time to heal depends on the depth of the hurt, which in turn could be so devastating that the hurt spouse may choose to not attempt to start the healing process. When you trust someone with your life and your are vulnerable with them, dishonesty crushes you. It feels like you not only can’t trust your partner anymore. It also feels like you had the deepest parts of you (the most vulnerable and most sensitive parts) were abused and not taken care of. Your spouse trust you with some of the most sensitive stuff, and lying makes that seem so wrong.
  5. Lying portrays selfishness. When a person lies, they are most likely thinking about themselves, although it may seem they are doing it for other reasons and maybe even to protect. Some circumstances might make that statement untrue, but only for a few situations. 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 because, although at the time it seemed like a person was protecting others, the selfishness of the decision leads to greater hurt in the future.

Finally, how do we use this information?

BE AWARE. Lying can be easy sometimes. Being aware of how it effects relationships 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!

BE INTENTIONAL. Awareness breads 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. My previous post talked about being intentional!  Awareness allows an individual to be intentional when working to have a healthy and lasting marriage.

LEARN TO BE HONEST. Honesty provides safety and trust in relationships. Would you rather be with someone who messes up, but is honest and genuine about it, or someone who does not want anyone to see them for who they really are?

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

Check out my companion piece to this post: 5 Ways Honesty Improves Marriages

If you would like help with your relationship or help with this issue. Please contact me or schedule a session through my 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.)

Check out my latest blog series about how to Improve your Marriage While in Quarantine.