Should I Stay With A Lying Husband or Wife?
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I’ve seen this question on the internet. It intrigues me because our culture does not seem to see lying as that big of a deal. If you poll people, most people would probably say they have lied at some point if not many times. I have seen polls where people have said that they believe the 10 commandments, but also said that a little fib here and there is okay. I have also witnessed people who believe a lie is fine as long as there is a good reason.
However, when you start to poll people about if they like to be lied to, every one of them would probably tell you, “NO!” Why is there this contradiction?
Asking the question, “Should I stay with a lying spouse?” poses different answers for different people. As I think through this question and read what others have written about this question, the answer I find is that if we factor in “only lying,” then your marriage is likely salvageable and you should stay with your spouse. However, if we factor in other behaviors, you may have a reason to leave.
If the only behavior is lying…
Lying can be complicated. There are various reasons why people lie as I outlined in this article. However, if you are wondering if you should leave or stay with your husband or wife because they have lied to you, then I am guessing your partner had lied to you multiple times for other reasons.
However, if that is not the case, and lying is the only issue, maybe we consider the reasons why your spouse or partner is lying.
Let’s ask some questions:
What things are they lying about?
How serious are these lies?
Have they only lied a couple of times or is lying chronic and/or constant?
Do they show remorse?
Do they apologize and try to make up for their lies?
These questions will better help you assess the nature of their dishonest behavior. The more intense and often lies are, and the less the remorse for lies, the question to leave or stay becomes more viable. I guess this would be common sense.
Chronic, blatant lies with no remorse
If this type of lying is happening, you hopefully understand that this is extremely hurtful and trust becomes harder to repair. Can we repair trust when lying is at this level? Absolutely! But it is much harder!
As a professional, I would say that there still is not a clear answer to if you should leave or not. It depends. Maybe you are very religious. Maybe there is a way to get your spouse to change. Maybe there are other things you can do. We will cover this more in-depth below.
I think the most important point right now is to start by assessing how frequent and blatant the lies are, what they are about, and if there is any remorse. This information is vital in making your decision.
What about lying in addition to other behaviors?
Dishonesty gets more complicated when you involve other hurtful or destructive behaviors.
Examples: Cheating, Physical or Verbal Abuse, Stealing, Drugs, Living another lifestyle
These behaviors alone are problems, and there might be more. When you combine them with lying or vice-versa, the relationship will be much harder to repair. Each of these issues may need to be handled first before ever working through dishonesty.
Drug addiction itself needs to be resolved because it has been shown that people who are addicts tend to lie regularly and possibly chronically. They usually are cognitively impaired and do not want to give up their drug, so they have to create elaborate lies.
Again, as a professional, I don’t know that I would say you need to leave a relationship for these reasons, but assessing the problems in the relationship is a first step to determining what to do next. Don’t act irrationally, but understand that dishonesty in conjunction with other harmful behaviors has the potential to have a much longer road to recovery for the relationship.
How might your beliefs factor in?
As a Christian and a God-fearing person, I want to add that your religious beliefs have a part to play in your decisions. Many people ask me what the Bible says. I just want to first state that you should pray and ask God for guidance. Your relationship with Jesus is going to be your primary vehicle to make the best choice. Also, if you are wondering if lying is okay, check out my post here to give you further insight.
Christianity would deem marriage as a bound relationship. It is a covenant. It cannot be broken easily. Just take a look at what people say in traditional vows. However, most pastors believe the Bible does allow for a husband or wife to leave their spouse for specific reasons. One would be for adultery. Any other reason would be something you would want to talk more to your pastor about. Some would say physical abuse might be a reason.
As someone who believes heavily in our relationships with each other, I have a hard time advocating for leaving (if I am being honest). Leaving has its purpose. I believe in SAFETY FIRST! If there is abuse, I believe there are steps to take that may not involve divorce, but may involve physical distance for a time. All in all, take time to pray and talk to your pastor about what your beliefs allow. That way you don’t feel guilt, but feel peace within your spirit.
What choice should I make?
Now that we have gone through how you can assess the dishonesty you are seeing. I believe there are several things you can do.
Set verbal boundaries
Even as a professional, I will only tell you to leave if there is a physical safety issue. So, if after assessing the dishonesty and determining if there are additional behaviors. Having a conversation with your husband or wife is important.
This conversation needs to be direct and without hesitation. Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Set firm boundaries about what you will or will not tolerate. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns. You do not have to answer their questions at this time. Take time to process. If you want to know how to set boundaries, go to this article.
Set physical boundaries
If there are more intense behaviors that have the potential for physical harm, you may need to set physical boundaries. This may look like sleeping in separate beds, bedrooms, or houses. I know this fills uncomfortable to some. A dishonest spouse may feel like it is the first step to the end of the relationship.
THE RELATIONSHIP HAS ALREADY MOVED IN THAT DIRECTION AT THIS POINT.
Safety is so important! This step has more to do with stopping the hurt so that you as a couple can find new ways to rebuild. I always tell clients that boundaries, especially physical boundaries are not to be used to destroy the relationship or find out what it is like apart.
THEY ARE ONLY TO BE USED FOR SAFETY, RESETTING, AND REBUILDING.
This is the final and last possible option. Divorce is a very hard and hurtful choice. I have never told a couple to get a divorce. I honestly don’t believe it is that easy. It takes thought, prayer, assessment, and effort to come to a place to truly destroy a marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a time and place for this option, but I caution it because I believe it should be only after ALL efforts have been made to change and rebuild and reach out for help.
To sum up, I don’t believe you should leave your spouse for just lying. I do believe you should assess the situation and intentionally work to rectify the problems. The option to leave is there, but staying can have so many benefits if both spouses will work hard on themselves and their marriage. I have seen so many marriages build new and amazing marriages after such hard struggles. Don’t give up, but know that leaving is easy, but staying is worthwhile if you get it right! God Bless!
To read more about what you can do about dishonesty in your relationship, go here.
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