Repairing Broken Trust With a Lying Spouse

by Shannon Philpott

Trust is an essential element within a marriage. When your spouse lies to you and breaches that trust, it takes time, effort and open, honest communication to repair the damage. Get to the root of the problem by confronting your spouse, setting expectations for the relationship and working to repair the healthy bond you two once had.

Acknowledge the Lies

Your spouse may think that a little white lie is harmless, but in reality, it can lead to a breakdown in trust. Instead of sweeping the lies under the rug, ask your spouse to discuss why he or she chose to lie. Listen actively at this point and avoid getting defensive. It’s not easy for either one of you to admit wrongdoing or fault, but it is necessary to recognize the behavior to move forward and repair the trust, says Lynette Hoy, marriage and family counselor.

Identify Relationship Problems

A spouse may lie for a variety of reasons. It’s possible he or she feels trapped, may want to avoid an argument or even needs more attention. Work with your spouse to identify the root of your marriage problems by honestly discussing what you need and want from the marriage. If both of you are fostering secrets, it will be impossible to repair the trust in your relationship. Find a safe environment to honestly share your thoughts and feelings. If necessary, bring in an unbiased third party or a mediator to help the two of you communicate effectively.

Admit Your Wrongdoing

Even though your spouse may have directly contributed to the breach in trust, it’s important to recognize your part in the breakdown as well. Put your ego to the side and admit any wrongdoing to show that you are willing to work on the marriage, says Randy Conley, trust practice leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies. Take ownership of your role in the relationship, agree to forgive and forget, and your spouse may not feel the need to keep secrets or downplay the truth in the future.

Set Expectations

A lying spouse can wreak havoc if couples do not set behavior expectations. Let your spouse know that you realize everyone is human, occasionally making excuses and lies to cover up actions, says Hoy. However, a healthy marriage depends heavily on trust. As your marriage develops and you spend more time together, trust should come naturally. Openly and honestly negotiate with your spouse to avoid lying in the first place. If your spouse feels the need to lie about his or her whereabouts because of a feeling of being controlled, compromise and ask for an occasional check-in. If your spouse lies about spending habits, stress the importance of honesty to ensure your financial future is secure. Set a budget that the two of you can agree on to avoid the need for lies.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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