Marriage is a promise. When people make wedding vows, trust is either explicit or implicit. Either way, trust is vital to an intimate relationship. Without it, most marriages are doomed. Trust is restorable, and a marriage can survive broken trust, but it depends on the severity of the dishonesty.
Why People Lie
A man or woman lies to protect himself, herself, or the person they are lying to. Lying often begins when a person is ashamed to share something, however trivial. For many, it is easier to lie than it is to face confrontation. Other times, being untruthful signals insecurity, perhaps within oneself or within a relationship. The worst kind of lie is covering up an intimate relationship with another person. This violates a marriage's most sacred trust.
Forms and Levels of Lying
From little white lies to devastating secrets, lies can destroy a marriage. Everybody has told a lie of some sort at some point in time, and people sometimes even lie to themselves. The problem with little lies is that they often lead to another bigger lie to cover up the original one. A pattern of lying then emerges as a person realizes lies are protective in the short run. Accumulating little lies will only explode in the liar's and his spouse's face. Tiny little problems then become bigger ones. A covert lie, where a person avoids necessary communication, is especially destructive. When a person is seriously bothered about something with his spouse, but says nothing about it, he is doing worse than selfishly protecting himself. Not communicating vital information strips trust from a marriage and breaches the promise that married couples make to one another. People can lie in many ways beyond just fibbing. Whether it is cold silence when queried about something, becoming angry, trying to divert from an issue or leaving out critical information, a lie is a lie.
Honest and open communication is the key ingredient to trust, and any marriage relies on complete trust to survive. Even if it hurts, a person's mate is entitled to know the person he loves is hurting or having some kind of problem. Otherwise, he is cheated out of an opportunity to help. Discovering that the person you love is dishonest cuts deep. Finding out that you have been deceived to cover up cheating with another is extraordinarily painful and impossible for many to overcome.
Recovering a Marriage from Dishonesty
Problems deepen when a spouse discovers little lies and allows them to continue -- an equally destructive form of dishonesty. It reinforces to a spouse that lying is acceptable. Finding out why a person is lying is the first step in restoring trust. Being untruthful often signals insecurity, and it becomes a tool for a married couple to explore what is really going on beneath the surface. Sometimes, lying deals a killer blow to a marriage. Cheating on one's spouse is the ultimate form of dishonesty, and marriages rarely recover from it. Even when a couple tries to move on, trust is shattered, and it is almost impossible to restore it enough to maintain a healthy relationship. Marriage counseling can help when lying is an issue, but even the best therapist cannot restore lost faith without the couple's commitment to working through it.
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Charles Hooper began writing as a career in 2009. Since then he has published a nonpartisan political advocacy book and hundreds of articles. An honors graduate from the University of North Carolina at Asheville where he concentrated in sociology and political science, he later earned a Masters degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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