Is It Ever Okay to Lie in A Marriage?

2 Nov

I recently had a discussion with someone who has the belief that ALL relationships have some measure of deceit. I asked the person why they felt that way; they explained that after reflecting on past relationships of their own and observing the failed relationships of others, came this conclusion. I don’t agree with this stance that ALL relationships are  deceitful. The act or practice of deceiving is defined as concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; or cheating. So to say that ALL relationships are deceitful is a strong statement.  This conversation did give me food for thought for this blog and that is – is it ever okay to lie in a marriage? If so, when?

There is research that shows that the average person lies at least two times per day – that is if they are telling the truth about how often they lie (smile). Experts on the subject assert that a little “white lie” here and there is not harmful if the intent is not to save the person telling the white lie. For example, many parents tell their children that there is a Santa  Claus, Easter Bunny, and/or Tooth Fairy – these are all lies, but the intent is not to save the person telling the lie therefore no harm, no foul. A researcher shared a much deeper example such as, what if you were in Germany and the Nazis came knocking at your door and asked if you were hiding Jews, you answer, “no I’m not” when you really are. In this example, most everyone would agree that this blatant lie is okay considering the situation and that you are saving someone else’s life.

As it relates to marriage, most would agree that it is never okay to lie to your spouse although many do. How many times has a wife asked a husband, “honey does this dress make me look fat?” and the husband responds, “no” when he’s thinking otherwise. This could be considered a little white lie that is told to protect the feelings of the wife. On the other hand much deeper issues such as money, debt, and having an affair are issues in marriage where lying is
almost always detrimental to the marriage.

There appears to be two different thought processes regarding telling lies. The occasional white lie that is free from selfish motive is okay, however, lying about more serious issues is in a marriage or relationship is not acceptable. So, is it ever okay to lie in a marriage? If so, when? I want to hear from you.

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