been thinking a lot about the importance of honesty in marriages recently. This
is probably because so many of you have been writing to me asking how you can
rebuild the honesty in your marriage. I know many of you out there are hurting
right now because your spouse, the person you care most about in the world, has
you have been lied to by your spouse, you probably feel devastated. You may be
struggling with feelings like anger, sadness, grief, depression, and even a diminished
sense of self-esteem.
common feeling for people that have been lied to is the feeling that they have
been made to look like a fool. You trusted your spouse so completely that you
were ready to believe virtually anything he or she said. Your spouse took advantage
of this faith, and now you feel ashamed.
may ask yourself questions like, "How could I have ever believed him?"
or, "Why did I let her take advantage of me this way?"
more, you may be facing questions that have even more serious connotations for
you and your relationship if you are considering the possibility of rebuilding
marriage after the lies have been laid out on the table.
perhaps more importantly the question you are asking is:
can I ever rebuild my marriage while the dangers of dishonesty and mistrust still
you're already worried that your spouse might lie to you again, it's that much
more trying when the lies and deceit are still going on.
the reality: If your marriage is going to survive, if it's going to become a better
marriage than it has ever been, your spouse is going to have to make a real effort
to restore your feelings of trust and safety. He or she is going to have to prove
to you that the lies have ended and that you can let feelings of trust blossom
this doesn't happen, it is going to be very difficult for you to save your marriage.
Marriages take two people to make them work. If one of them isn't fully invested
the relationship and continues to lie and deceive, the likelihood that you
will be able to repair your marriage is pretty low.
if your spouse is committed to rebuilding your relationship (and you are too),
then you have a very good chance of not only rebuilding your relationship, but
making it better than it has ever been.
see, lying can be like an addiction, especially for people who have used it as
a way to cheat on or otherwise deceive their spouses. You lie once, and tell yourself
you'll never do it again. But it served its purpose so well, that when another
situation arises that seems to "require" a lie, you go ahead and do
it again. And then again. And,again.
the lies become more significant or extreme over time, but easier to justify and
easier to accomplish. And pretty soon you're on a slippery slope that leads you
down a path you never thought you would travel.
people don't go into a relationship intending to deceive their spouses.
people don't think they'll ever cheat on their spouses. In fact, they think they
are so safe from the danger that they engage in actions risky to their relationships.
Then they lie about it, and soon enough they are in so far over their heads they
don't even know how they got there.
do you rise from this quagmire? If you are the cheater, you begin a "no-lies
policy" for yourself. You make a choice within yourself never to lie to your
spouse about anything ever again.
you have lied to your spouse in the past, making an oath to be absolutely honest
is a powerful way for you to show your spouse that you are serious about rebuilding
your marriage, that you are fully committed to being honest, and that you are
willing to go the distance to prove that you are worthy of trust.
more, it's an excellent way to inoculate you against starting the slippery slope.
After all, you probably don't want to continue to be a liar or a person with a
character flaw that could repeat what you have done.
the best way to clarify how the slippery slope works is with a story. Jerry ended
up on the slippery slope of lies, and it nearly destroyed his relationship. Here's
was a nice guy. He was always friendly and open. He was a good listener, and his
friends often relied on him to be sympathetic and tender when they were hurting.
One person who relied on Jerry a lot was a friend of his from work whose name
Marla. She had been facing some problems in her marriage, and she found
talking to Jerry was one of the best ways to cheer up.
Jerry was married, neither he nor his wife considered his friendship with Marla
to be a problem. Jerry was completely committed to his marriage. He knew it. His
wife knew it. And no friendship was going to get in the way of the wonderful relationship
day, Marla came into the office looking completely distraught. Jerry noticed,
of course, and walked into her office to find out what was wrong.
asked him to shut the door, and the minute he did, she collapsed into his arms
crying. Her husband had served her with divorce papers and she was totally devastated.
Up to this point she had still retained some hope of saving her marriage. The
divorce papers ended that hope.
the end of the day Jerry had checked on Marla about a half dozen times to see
how she was doing. When he walked into her office at the end of the day to offer
a bit more sympathy and to say good night, Marla asked him if he would go out
and have a drink with her "because she'd really like to talk to him."
agreed and called his wife to let her know he was going to be a little late. He
told her about the trouble Marla was going through, and she agreed that he should
go out and talk with her for a little while to see if he could calm her down.
went to the bar, ordered a drink and talked. Then they ordered another, and another.
Eventually, two hours had passed, and they were sitting inches from one another
having an intimate conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with Marla's
a pause in the conversation Marla put her hand on Jerry's and said, "Thank
you Jerry I feel so much better. I really love the time I spend with you."
hesitated for a moment. He had a feeling this was going too far. But he chose
to ignore it and replied, "I like being with you, too, Marla." There
was an intimate gaze between them that went on a moment longer than it should
have, and both of them knew that they had crossed a line they should never have
Jerry got home, he apologized for being late and told his wife about how awful
Marla was feeling. He "forgot" to tell her about the gaze between them.
He "forgot" to tell her that Marla touched his hand. And he "forgot"
to tell her that they were talking about topics that had nothing to do with Marla's
next day at the office, Jerry walked in and noticed Marla was wearing an attractive,
low-cut dress, something that was a little fancier than what she usually wore.
When he came in she walked up to him and said, "Hey, thanks so much for last
night. I feel a lot better. Do you mind if I treat you to lunch in repayment?"
accepted without thinking a whole lot about it (they often had lunch together),
and went to work.
the lunch hour came, Marla knocked on Jerry's office door. She stepped in, closed
it behind her, and as Jerry stood up from his desk Marla threw her arms around
him and gave him a hug.
first Jerry was startled, but he soon forgot his hesitation. The hug felt good,
and he didn't want to give up that good feeling even though he knew he had crossed
another invisible boundary at that moment.
lunch Marla and Jerry held hands. That night after work they went out for another
drink. They held hands again and looked deeply into each others eyes. They both
knew where this was leading, but neither of them was admitting it yet.
step of the way Jerry told his wife he was trying to help his friend through a
tough time. Each time he neglected to share details that he knew would implicate
him in something much worse than "helping a friend through a hard time."
Jerry and Marla had an affair. It went on for several months, but in the end
guilt was too much for Jerry. He told his wife the truth of what had happened.
It completely destroyed her. Her trust and faith were gone. And their marriage
was nearly ripped apart forever.
story is an excellent example of how the slippery slope works. You tell one "little
white lie," because you don't want your spouse to be hurt by your actions,
you feel guilty and don't want to admit what you've done, or you "forget."
Then, one lie turns into another and another. Soon, you're careening down the
slope toward a very dangerous ending.
you have deceived your spouse, it's very likely you know your own version of this
pattern intimately. You probably didn't want to hurt your spouse to begin with.
You may not even have "wanted" to have an affair. But you ended up in
a bad situation, and it all started with one "little white lie."
happened before could conceivably happen again ... unless you choose to change
your actions. If you were caught in a pattern of lies before, it's certainly possible
that it will happen again. It's even more likely if you continue to lie to your
spouse. Like an alcoholic who has a taste of drink, one "little white lie"
could land you right back at the bottom of that abyss you have been trying to
dig your way out of.
what's the solution?
"no-lies policy" I proposed earlier is an excellent way to protect yourself
from these dangers and start rebuilding trust with your spouse at the same time.
If you wish to adopt this policy, here's what I recommend you do.
an oath, inside yourself, to never lie to your spouse again. Then be as diligent
as you can possibly be in keeping this promise.
means absolutely no lies. No "little white lies," no "accidental"
omissions, no altering the way you tell stories to put yourself in a good light.
It means telling your spouse everything exactly as it happened without holding
anything back--even if this gets you in trouble and even if it hurts your spouse's
say you tell your spouse that you are staying late at work when you intend to
go out for a drink. If you've adopted the no-lies policy, you would tell her about
Imagine you tell your husband that you're going to meet a friend for coffee
when you are actually planning to have a shopping spree you know you can't quite
Again, if you've adopted the no lies policy you would tell him about
In all cases,
your revelations should be as soon as possible after the transgression.
to say, this usually isn't the easiest path to take. The examples above only barely
touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of difficult situations you might find yourself
in. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to tell your spouse much
for example an attractive woman asks you out to lunch after a meeting in your
office. If you're acting with integrity and you have adopted the no-lies policy
you would not only decline the invitation, but you would go home and tell your
spouse everything about the incident, including the fact that you were attracted
to this woman. After all, leaving out details like this is exactly what got you
into trouble in the first place, right?
people believe this is gratuitous. They think sharing this much information is
simply "too much." In my opinion this is wrong. In a marriage there
is no such thing as sharing "too much" information. A solid marriage
is founded on open communication. Ultimately that means talking about the hard
stuff as much as you talk about the easy stuff.
of your opinion of how much to "tell" in a marriage, you are not in
a normal situation, anyway. You are repairing a broken relationship, which requires
you are serious about rebuilding your marriage, telling your spouse the absolute
truth is one step in the right direction. It helps recreate an environment of
trust and makes it easier for your spouse to start believing you are honest again.
you're willing to tell her the truth about everything it is a continuing demonstration
that you are committed to rebuilding your relationship. Telling the truth this
way might not save your relationship by itself. But it will help.
your marriage we're talking about saving here. So what if it's not "easy?"
The rewards will certainly be worth the difficulty if your spouse starts trusting
you again and you both learn the skills necessary to make a long-term marriage
a no-lies policy. Tell your spouse the truth about everything. Inoculate yourself
against the dangers of lying and make it possible for trust and honesty to blossom
know more? This page is just an excerpt from the type of info you will receive
from my colleague Dr. Frank Gunzburg's ebook -- You have a chance to win your
spouse back. Click Here - Surviving