I recently received this question from a wife:
There was recently an episode last week in which my husband lied to me. We have accountability talks each week where we discuss struggles, temptations, etc.
During this time he reported that he had been tempted to look at a provocative picture online but didn’t because he loves me and knows that it is not worth it. I had a feeling to check his internet history and found that he had actually looked at the image. I am struggling with how to resolve the issue of lying and how we can work together to be more open, honest and also what we can do to set boundaries. He admitted he lied but says it is because he wanted to avoid my reaction. I was hoping you could give some godly advice.
This was my answer:
I’m sorry that you are going through this. I know it’s really hard, frustrating, and it hurts deep inside. I have gone through this many times. It’s hard to understand why our husbands lie about this when it makes it so much more difficult when the truth comes out. I will just tell you what I have learned from my experience and what has worked the best for me. First, I try to make it so very clear to my husband that the times when he chose to lie and then I found out the truth made our relationship so much more distant and added so much more hurt than if he just chose to tell the truth. I always wanted him to understand the point that a lie is never okay and in order to gain back any trust we must be completely honest. Second, we actually found verses in the Bible about telling a lie. The verses we found were Proverbs 12:22, John 8:44, and Colossians 3:9. My husband puts those verses as part of his morning Bible study. We also make sure we plan time to talk about struggles. It sounds like you’re doing really good with making time for that. There are times when I will ask my husband, “do you have something to tell me?” I know it is just so hard because with pornography, the person is so used to lying that it is very hard for them to see how the lying is hurting someone else. That is why you must talk to your husband about how much the lying is hurting you. Additionally, when we read the devotional Draw Close, there are a few chapters on lying in marriage. Those chapters helped my husband a lot. As far as boundaries-you could set boundaries. I have set boundaries. When my husband lies to me or actively pursues lust, I do not feel like we are in union. I usually have him sleep on the couch until our marriage is back where it should be. I’m not sure what boundaries you would pick, but there are many that show how much we’ve been hurt. Lying is truly such a struggle. I would like my husband to write about this and some Biblical guidelines for husbands to read in the future.
Is there any additional advice that you would give to wives? Has this problem happened to you and how did you deal with it?