Should I Forgive My Wife for a White Lie?

by April Sanders

White lies are defined as being harmless or trivial. They are often told to avoid hurting someone's feelings, according to Webster's New World College Dictionary. But the dictionary's definition of trivial might not match your definition. Regardless of your wife's intentions, even a little white lie can hurt a lot. Still, if you want your marriage to survive, you should try to forgive her.

The Importance of Forgiveness

Finding out your wife has lied to you can leave you feeling betrayed. Anger, bitterness and depression may set in. These things cause your stress levels and blood pressure to rise. Forgiving your wife for her white lies can help you release the anger and bitterness, which lowers your risk of sinking into depression and can help restore your relationship. Depending on what your wife was lying about, you might need counseling to completely restore the relationship, but forgiveness is the first, important step towards moving forward into a strong marriage.

Not All Lies Are Created Equal

White lies can sometimes be beneficial, according to Lisa Kogan, author and columnist for In her article titled "Lisa Kogan Tells All: The Lying Game," Kogan states that a little white lying can bring peace to a tense situation -- it can avoid hurt feelings, help someone feel better about themselves and stop a young child from begging for toys: Yes, the toy store does indeed close at 3 pm. For this reason, let your wife explain the motivation behind her white lies. It may be that she was trying to improve a situation. If not -- if she was lying to cover up deceptive behavior -- then you have deeper issues to deal with, and forgiveness may take longer to achieve.

Easier Said Than Done

So how do you forgive your wife? Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness does not meant forgetting, according to psychologist Sam Von Reiche. In a Huffington Post article titled "Give Forgiveness A Chance To Heal Your Marriage," Von Reiche explains that forgiveness means choosing to focus on the good rather than the bad. Yes, your wife told a few little white lies, but she was not being malicious, and she has other, positive qualities that outweigh the bad. Love is always a choice, and choosing to forgive your wife is the best way you can show you love her. Forgiveness is not instant -- it will take time to stop wondering if she is telling a lie or not -- but in time, if you focus on the positive and try not to dwell on her past behavior, you will be able to move forward in your marriage.

A Note of Caution

A little white here and there can add up to a whole lot of deception, and people who get used to telling white lies might soon become color blind. Forgiveness doesn't mean ignoring bad behavior -- if your wife continues to lie, her habit will come back to bite her in a serious way. Part of forgiving her means helping her stop lying. Encourage her to tell the truth and not be afraid of your reaction -- if she spent more money on those new shoes than she originally stated, you aren't going to rant and rave. Instead, she should fess up and take the cost difference out of her next purchase, or forgo that lunch she was going to have with her girlfriends.

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