Over the years I have spoken with many women who have been lied to in one form or another by their husbands. Ironically, in every instance, the husband seemed clueless as to the effect of his lie on his wife and his marriage. To him, his lie was no big deal; but to her, that same lie left her feeling devastated and wondering whether or not she wanted to continue in the marriage. Is lying a big deal? Let’s see.
The most obvious meaning of a lie is something that is not true: a false statement deliberately presented as being true. But a lie is not so simplistic. It penetrates to a level deeper than simple falsehood. To lie is to breach the confidence and trust of another. It is an act of infidelity. A lie is intent to deceive. It is a treacherous act.
You can lie with your words, and you can lie without speaking a word. When a husband leads his wife to believe that he is in one place and knows that he has made plans to be somewhere else and has not disclosed those plans to her, he has lied: he has intentionally deceived her. When a husband has taken on the responsibility of paying the bills and the wife later discovers that they are delinquent, he has lied: he has betrayed her trust. When a husband does not tell his wife the truth about this, that, or the other (or him, her, or whomever) because he “knows how she will react,” he has lied: he has willfully withheld the truth.
In scripture, very strong language is used to describe how God feels about lying. It is described as an abomination and detestable. What does that mean in plain language? It means that God hates lying; He regards it with horror; He finds it utterly and completely repulsive and disgusting. If God feels that way about lying, shouldn’t we?
Why did these husbands lie? In each instance, there were three common denominators: fear, arrogance, and selfishness. Fear says I will lie because I’m afraid of the consequence of telling the truth. A lie is a cowardly way of dealing with, or not dealing with an issue. Lying because you’re afraid of a presumed consequence is foolish because the repercussion of a lie is worse than the consequence you thought you were avoiding. Arrogance says I will lie because I should not have to deal with the consequence of telling the truth. When a husband lies to his wife he is in effect saying that she is not worthy of being told the truth. Selfishness says I will lie because the consequence of telling the truth may get in the way of what I want to do. Lying to your wife is a blatant disregard of God’s mandate to put the needs and interests of your wife above your own.
When a husband lies to his wife he loses three things: trust, security, and respect. Trust is built on truth. When a husband consistently does the good and right things that he says he will do, he will gain or regain his wife’s trust. Speaking the truth is one of the most loving things we can do in marriage. When a husband lies, his word loses weight and the weight of a man’s word anchors his integrity. When a husband lies, his wife is no longer sure that his yes means yes and his no means no. Now she questions what he says. His lie has sown seeds of doubt in the marriage and the fruit of doubt is distrust. God requires the wife to forgive her husband for lying to her, but God does not require her to trust him. Trust is earned, and it is earned by a consistent commitment to being truthful over time.
A husband is supposed to be the loving leader of his wife, but when a husband lies to his wife he is misleading her, making it difficult for her to follow his leadership. She no longer feels safe because the one who has been set in place for her protection has caused her to feel vulnerable and made a fool of. The husband will reap the fear he has sown through the insecurity his lie has cultivated within his wife.
I believe that every husband wants to be his wife’s hero. He wants to stand tall in her eyes; he wants her respect. But if through a lie he has shown her no consideration, it will be difficult for her to show him consideration. If through a lie he has not esteemed her, it will be difficult for her to esteem him. A lie is one of the most disrespectful things a husband can do to his wife, and as he robs her of respect by lying to her, he will rob himself of her respect.
We do reap what we sow. When a husband lies he sows distrust, disrespect, and insecurity into his marriage, and he will surely reap it. When a husband lies to his wife he is acting treacherously towards her. God says that when a husband acts treacherously towards his wife, He won’t regard that husband or readily accept anything from him (see Malachi 2). If God won’t, it’s likely the wife won’t either. Husbands, if you want your wife to trust you, don’t lie to her. If you want your wife to follow you, don’t mislead her. If you want your wife to respect you, honor her enough to tell her the truth. It is a big deal.
Excerpted from the book Cheer Up Your Wife: A DIY Biblical Guide by Aleathea Dupree. For permission to reprint, please contact the author. Next time, we will talk about “Wound Care: Dealing with the Aftermath of a Lie.” Follow @aleatheadupree on Instagram to receive notification of posting.
What are your thoughts on this article? Leave a comment or question in the Comments section below or contact me via social media.
God’s desire is for every marriage to be happy. He is aware of how painful divorce is and has provided the solution to the divorce problem. Cheer Up Your Wife: A DIY Biblical Guidereveals the foremost and critical underlying root problem that leads to divorce from God’s perspective, and shows you how to fix the problem or, better yet, to prevent it from ever happening.