Tread Carefully: White Lies That Should Not Be Told In A Marriage

November 12, 2012  |  
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Lying in a relationship is a slippery slope. If you’re not careful, the little lie you told to keep you and your partner from getting in a little fight, could lead you into the big lie that makes your partner feel greatly betrayed. And trust is a hard thing to get back in a relationship. Here are “small” lies that should never be told in a marriage because if you’re telling them, they’re usually indicative of even larger problems.


“Of course you still excite me!”

If you’re with someone for years, you’re bound to let life get in the way of the romance sometime. First, you start putting the TV on during dinner. Next, you move dinner to the TV. Then, Saturday morning breakfast on the patio becomes drive through food on the way to Costco to run errands. And you start to feel more like partners in life. Don’t lie to your husband, pretending he is still doing all the things you love, because you fear making him feel guilty or overwhelming him if you told him the truth: he’s slacking off. You’ll only feel more distant from one another if you don’t tell him you’re unsatisfied. And being lazy about love grows at an exponential rate.

“My parents love you!”

It’s tough to be married to somebody whose parents don’t like you. If you can avoid it, do! But, sometimes the man of your dreams comes with the in laws of your nightmares. Or, visa versa. But, you can’t lie to your husband for a lifetime about how your parents feel about him. Not to mention, they probably make it evident whether they mean to or not, and then your partner feels disrespected since you are clearly lying to him. But, you know your husband is loveable, and you know why your parents see things the way they see things because you know their beliefs and prejudices. Just explain to your husband, in a way that shows you don’t agree with your parents and that they are not correct, what their issues are. That way, he at least feels you are on his side.

“I never tell my friends about us”

If you’re talking to your friends about your marital issues, odds are you are not talking to your spouse about them. But your friends can’t fix things! Only you and your man can. Lying to your husband about talking to your friends about your relationship, only steals the chance from him to address the issues. If he had any idea how much you vented to your girlfriends, he’d realize you were really upset! And (hopefully) attempt to fix things.

“I barely drank”

If your husband doesn’t want you drinking, it’s probably because you behave in a way that he doesn’t like when you’re drinking. And, the truth is, a lot of our real feelings and problems come out when we’ve been drinking. So you should address why those things are happening, rather than just not drinking, or pretending not to drink. It’s not just the alcohol talking when you act up.

“You look great!”

With that beard you decided to grow, or the fifteen pounds that showed up, or the skinny jeans you’re suddenly all about. Don’t tell your partner they look great when you think they look ridiculous. Because what’s the first thing a woman does when she can’t tell her man he looks crazy? She goes and tells all of her friends. And then, she’s not only lied to her man but also made a mockery of him. That is the man that you have to look at every day. You’ll want to be affectionate with him less if you don’t find some change he made attractive, and then you both suffer. Just be honest, but be gentle about it.

“He’s not my friend; he’s just a co-worker”

If you lie about meeting up with a male friend, knowing that that friendship upsets your husband, then an innocent meeting between friends instantly becomes a betrayal. What you should do is ask your husband why the friendship bothers him so much. If there is a feeling of safety and honesty within a relationship, then friendships with the opposite sex shouldn’t feel like a threat. So, the problem lies deeper than your friendship with Jim or Joe.

“I did go for a run/I didn’t eat the cake”

Sometimes there are things that we feel guilty about, but we don’t want to acknowledge that the guilt is internal. Because that would mean it really is an issue, if even we know it’s wrong. So, we project onto others. Women will often make up in their minds that their husbands would judge them for skipping their morning run, or for having two pieces of cake. And they tell themselves that’s why they lie about it: because their husbands would be upset. When really, that’s just an excuse to be able to lie to themselves. And that dishonesty only creates distance in the marriage—distance your husband never asked for.

“I wasn’t with Claire…”

If you have a friend that doesn’t get along with your husband, it might feel like you’re taking her side if you hang out with her. You know that’s not what it means, but you don’t want it to look that way to your husband so you lie about it. But when this happens, you start to resent your husband for having to be ashamed of your friends, or having to defend them. Instead of lying about it, just explain to your husband in detail what that friendship means for you, and how it enhances your life. If your husband cares about you, he will accept that even though he doesn’t want that particular friend in his life, she is a positive thing in yours.

“Oh these plates were on sale”

The moment you lie about the price of something, you are admitting that there is a power struggle within the relationship and that your husband is in control of the money. Which should not be the case. Your husband should trust you enough to know you would only make purchases beneficial for the relationship, and you should respect your husband enough to tell him the truth about how your joint money is spent.

“I didn’t forget to do it; I got busy”

Sometimes the lies you tell don’t change anything except the way you feel. When we lie about senseless things, like saying we didn’t forget to pick up groceries, we just got busy, it comes from a feeling of needing to have a more “legitimate” reason. Essentially, it’s because we want to appear smarter or more on top of things. But the real question is: why do you feel that way? Everybody spaces out, or is a klutz sometimes. If you feel yourself needing to lie about small things, it could be because your partner can be condescending or patronizing, and you fear being talked down to. In which case, that is the issue that needs to be addressed. And that is a problem with your partner, not you.

“You’re great in bed!”

Not only does lying about satisfaction in bed make it even less likely you will be satisfied, but it can create distance between you and your partner outside of bed. Who isn’t a little cranky when they didn’t reach the big O, and their partner does every time? The trick is to tell your partner what works, not what doesn’t work. Tell him, “I really like when you do this. Do more of that” instead of, “What do you think you’re doing?” or “That feels weird…” That will only give him performance anxiety, and then you’ve drifted further from your goal.

“That’s totally fine!”

During the honeymoon phase, nobody wants to say when something is bothering him or her. Their infatuation is overriding everything else, and they just assume eventually they’ll get over whatever it is that is annoying them. Nope! You won’t get over it. And your anger will grow until it erupts, or worse until you vent about it on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t tell yourself it’s dumb to be bothered by something. That won’t make it go away. Just tell your partner, “This may sound silly but for some reason it really bothers me when you do this. Can you try not to?”

“I’m going away with the girls”

When you’re actually going away by yourself. It’s okay to need some “you time.” This is something many young, unmarried couples don’t understand but if you’ve signed up to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you better be comfortable telling them when you need the occasional alone time. Or else they’re going to drive you mad. Saying you need alone time is not offensive, but lying about where you’re going, so you can be alone, is offensive because it implies that you didn’t think your partner was confident or generous enough to give you that time.

“I don’t have to do it if you don’t want me to”

If an opportunity comes up for you, perhaps a trip, or a job that will take you away from your partner more, keep in mind that what makes you happy makes your relationship happy. While your partner may not love the idea of you doing something, don’t say, “I don’t have to do it if you don’t want me to…” when you know you really want to do it. You will only resent your partner for holding you back, and that emotional distance is more detrimental to your relationship than the physical distance that would have come from that trip or job.

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