Lying and deceit can poison a marriage. When one spouse consistently lies to the other, it damages trust, connection, and intimacy. As Christians, we’re called to be people of truth and integrity. So what does the Bible say about lying within marriage? How should we handle a deceitful spouse?
- Lying is sinful and breaks God’s commandments. It goes against God’s character of truthfulness.
- Lying destroys trust and harms intimacy in marriage. It prevents true “oneness.”
- We reap what we sow. Lies bring negative consequences in relationships.
- With God’s help, lying spouses can change through repentance, accountability, counseling, and renewal of the mind.
- The betrayed spouse should set healthy boundaries, seek support, extend grace, and aim for restoration.
- Marriage has a spiritual component, so we need God’s help to overcome deception.
- Jesus Christ is the model for how to handle being wronged with wisdom and grace.
Lying Violates God’s Standards
The Bible repeatedly condemns lying and deception. The Ten Commandments instruct us not “to bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16). Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” As followers of Christ, we’re called to be people of the truth, reflecting God’s character.
The Father and Son model perfect truthfulness for us. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie.” Hebrews 6:18 tells us “it is impossible for God to lie.” And Jesus called himself “the truth” in John 14:6, demonstrating perfect integrity. So when a spouse habitually lies, they violate biblical standards of conduct.
Proverbs 12:22 says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” Not only does God hate lies, but they can’t coexist in fellowship with Him. As 1 John 1:6 warns, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Since marriage has a spiritual component, lying cuts our spouse off from true intimacy with us and God.
Lying Damages Marriage
Let’s explore how deceit harms marriage. First, lies breed distrust. A home can’t be built on falsehood. Proverbs 20:19 cautions, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” When caught in a lie, making more excuses will bury one deeper. To reconcile, the truth teller must rebuild trust.
Second, lying prevents oneness. In marriage, God calls spouses to be “one flesh” emotionally, spiritually, and physically (Genesis 2:24). But unity depends on transparency. Unless we’re vulnerable and authentic, the relationship stays surface-level. Ephesians 4:25 reminds us to speak truthfully “because we are all members of one body.” You can’t experience true intimacy when truth is distorted.
Third, deceit brings negative consequences. Galatians 6:7-8 warns, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.” One lie often leads to covering up with more lies. This corruption poisons marriages in ways we don’t expect. King David tried to hide his sin with Bathsheba, which spiraled into murder.
Finally, dishonesty inhibits conflict resolution. We can’t find solutions if we don’t acknowledge the real problems. Excuses and false narratives prevent dealing with issues openly and honestly. Letting lies come to light is the only path to restored connection.
The Path Forward for Lying Spouses
If you struggle with lying, take courage, for redemption is possible! Here are some biblical steps to stop lying and rebuild trust:
Repent. Admit fault and seek God’s forgiveness for lying. Psalm 51:2-3 says, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Take responsibility; change requires humility.
Pursue Accountability. Tell a pastor or mature believer about your struggle. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Accountability helps break deception patterns.
Get Counseling. Seek professional help to uncover root issues driving the lies. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14). Counseling equips you with new relational skills.
Study God’s Word. Renewing your mind with scriptural truth is crucial. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Scripture gives wisdom and power to change.
Practice Telling the Truth. Start small by being completely honest with safe people. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37). Build truth-telling skills to use in marriage.
Make Amends. Be willing to acknowledge your lies humbly and ask forgiveness. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Make restitution where possible. Over time, amends rebuild broken trust.
With God’s help, a lying spouse can become a trustworthy, honest partner again. The restorative power of Jesus can redeem marriages.
How Can a Betrayed Spouse Respond?
Discovering repeated deception by your spouse is incredibly painful. You’re probably experiencing shock, anger, sadness, and confusion. During this trial, it’s crucial to respond in a way that honors Christ and seeks redemption. Here are some biblical steps:
Seek God. Turn to Jesus for comfort and direction. “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). Share your hurt and anger in prayer. God will help you process your emotions in a healthy way.
Pursue Counseling. Get professional Christian counseling to walk through this trauma. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise…” (Proverbs 13:20). An outside perspective can help reveal wise responses that lead to healing.
Set Boundaries. To rebuild trust, set healthy boundaries against continued lying. “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no.” (Matthew 5:37). Don’t tolerate vagueness, gaslighting, secrecy, etc. Love requires correcting sin.
Find Support. Share with mature Christian friends who will support you, not gossip. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15). Support protects your marriage as you navigate this.
Extend Grace. God asks us to forgive others as He has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). Your spouse is still made in God’s image. Avoid vengefulness; continue showing Christlike love as much as possible while requiring change.
Seek Restoration. If genuine repentance happens, work towards rebuilding your marriage. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18). Healing is a process but by God’s power, restoration is possible.
A spouse’s deception is incredibly damaging. But we serve a redemptive God who resurrects hope from what seems dead. By drawing close to Jesus, forgiving, and expecting change, you can navigate this trial in a way that leads to greater wholeness and intimacy for you both.
Overcoming Deception Requires God’s Power
In ourselves, it seems impossible to overcome habitual lies and restore a marriage to trust and oneness. By God’s power, all things are possible. Consider these promises for victory over deception:
- “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).
- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).
- “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3).
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
- “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9).
- “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.” (Isaiah 54:17).
- “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29).
Jesus promises, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Seek Him passionately through prayer and Scripture. He will give you discernment, wisdom, and power to walk through this trial with integrity. Cling to Christ; He can redeem what’s broken and give you hope.
How Jesus Handled Being Wronged
As Christians, we seek to model Jesus’s response when we’re wronged, hurt, or betrayed. How did Christ handle injustice during His life on earth? Consider these examples:
He forgave freely. Even while being crucified, Jesus prayer for his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). He forgave Peter for denying him. He instructs us to forgive “seventy times seven” times (Matthew 18:22).
He acknowledged His emotions. Jesus wept with those who wept. He expressed righteous anger at greed in the temple courts. But He channeled His emotions constructively. He instructs us to pray to God when we feel overwhelmed.
He set healthy boundaries. When the Pharisees tempted and accused Him, Jesus often withdrew when confrontation would be unwise. But He never stopped speaking the truth in love.
He focused on God’s kingdom. Jesus didn’t get sidetracked trying to force people to recognize His innocence. He focused on bringing the light of salvation.
He entrusted justice to God. At the cross, Jesus didn’t demand His rights. He trusted the Father and conquered injustice through sacrificial love.
He pursued restoration. With His disciples and others, Jesus corrected and forgave to redeem broken relationships. He came to save, not condemn.
By following Christ’s model, we can navigate betrayal with wisdom, grace, courage, and hope for restoration. The Holy Spirit empowers us to respond as Jesus did. He gives us strength to love the unlovable and see beyond the hurt to the potential for redemption.
Lies and deception deeply wound marriage, but by God’s power, redemption is possible. Both spouses must pursue truth, repentance, counsel, accountability, grace, and forgiveness. It won’t be quick or easy, but God blesses this hard work.
If you’re walking through the pain of a spouse’s deception, draw near to Jesus. Allow God to heal the hurt and transform you to become more like Christ. Have courage that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). Keep your roots planted in His Word and don’t lose hope. Jesus came to give us life to the full; salvation and restoration lie ahead.