What’s the Truth About Lying in a Marriage

The dictionary definition of lying is “To speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly as with intent to deceive, to express what is false or convey a false impression.” It is an option available to all individuals from an early age on, though not uniformly used by all. There are many reasons why some people access this option more frequently than others.

Lying can be observed in very young children. It may be their instinctual pre-programmed method of punishment avoidance, self-preservation and staying in the good graces of adults in power. Since all youngsters’ existence is totally dependent upon their parents, they are intuitively programmed to please the adults at all cost. Youngsters also learn quickly that displeasing their parents and other authority figures may lead to undesirable and even painful consequences for them.

Once the method of using untruths to escape punishment is established it may become a self-propelling adaptive mechanism for adults as well. Many individuals use lying as their chosen responsiveness method with teachers, coaches, bosses and eventually their mates as well.

In “Little White Lies: The Truth About Why People Lie” Statistic Brain Research Institute found that “60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10- minute conversation, 40 percent of patients lied about following a doctor’s treatment plan, 32 percent of patients ‘Stretched the truth’ to their doctor, 31 percent of people admitted to lying on their resumes, 80 percent of women admitted to occasionally telling harmless half-truths, and 12 percent admitted to telling lies ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’. In their personal relationships, women also told an average of 3 lies per day to their partner, boss or colleagues and men admitted to 6 lies per day to the same individuals.”

The Marriage Infidelity Statistics also conducted by The Brain Statistic Research Institute reported that in 41 percent of marriages one or both mates admitted to physical or emotional infidelity, 36 percent of both men and women admitted to having had an affair with a co-worker with 2 year average length of the affairs and that 31 percent of the marriages survived after the affair was discovered.

These sobering statistics also have some hidden messages about the hope for both genders in attaining stability, honesty and satisfaction within their marriages if they were to decide to tell their truth prior to acting on their impulses that led them to a secret and bewildering “double life”.

One avenue to a healthier, more honest and authentic marriage is the use of couple therapy that offers pairs the opportunity to explore changes in their relationship that will prevent lying, sneaking, shame and self-reprimand and open them up to a healthier more authentic and satisfying union.

To avoid lying:

  • Free yourself from the need to lie by expressing the honest truth about your needs and desires for a loving union with your spouse.
  • Lovingly ask your mate how you can best fulfill his/her unmet needs and wishes and attempt to kindly fulfill them.









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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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