Discovering that your husband has lied can shake the foundation of your marriage and leave you feeling hurt, angry, and confused.
Here are a few important things to do when husbands lie:
When husbands lie, process emotions first, then have an open talk about the deception. Focus on patterns, intent, and topic. Not every lie threatens the foundation of the relationship. If lying is a clear pattern or the lie is major, seek counseling and consider exiting the relationship.
Though rebuilding trust after lies will take time and effort from both spouses, there are constructive steps you can take to start the healing process.
Do These 21 Things When Your Husband Lies
Not all of these 21 actions will apply to your situation but many of them will.
You may not want to do some of them — and, often, those are the very things that will help the most.
Read them slowly and take time to reflect before you do them in your marriage.
1. Take Time to Process Your Emotions
When you first uncover a lie, you may experience intense emotions like shock, sadness, or rage.
Allow yourself time and space to work through these feelings before deciding how to move forward.
Journaling, talking with a trusted friend or counselor, or doing activities that help you de-stress can help you gain clarity.
2. Communicate Directly about the Lie
Once you’ve had time to gather your thoughts, have an open and honest conversation with your husband about the lie.
Explain how you found out, how the lie made you feel, and what you need from him to start rebuilding trust.
Avoid blaming or shaming, and encourage him to share his perspective.
The initial goal might be to understand why he lied so you can both work to prevent it in the future.
Even if the goal is to exit the relationship, direct communication can be a helpful part of your personal healing process.
3. Reflect on Contributing factors
Think about whether any issues in your marriage may have made it harder for your husband to be truthful.
For example, criticism, lack of intimacy, or poor communication can sometimes motivate lying.
Figuring out any underlying causes will help you both address them.
This is not the time to fall into defensiveness, blaming, or projection. It’s also not the time to shift responsibility for the deception from the source.
Aka, your husband.
4. Set Clear Expectations About Honesty
Explain to your husband that lying damages your relationship and that total honesty will be required to heal it.
You cannot control him, but you can control what behaviors you accept in your marriage.
Clarify what rebuilding trust looks like to you.
Or, on the flip side, clarify the steps you are going to take to extract yourself from the relationship.
Either, clear and concise boundaries that focus on what you will (and will not) accept are critical during this after-deception period.
5. Seek Counseling If Needed
For some couples, professional counseling is necessary to get to the root of lying and learn new relationship skills.
A licensed marriage counselor can provide tools to enhance communication and conflict resolution.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
And this goes for you even if you are not going to stay in the marriage. Get emotional support for yourself.
6. Look for Patterns
When your husband lies, take note if it is a one-off lie about taking out the trash or one lie of many tied to an affair.
Understanding whether the lying is an isolated incident or part of a bigger pattern of deception will help you assess the situation accurately and determine the best path forward.
A single lie may be more easily moved past than a web of interconnected lies hiding a more significant issue that requires professional help.
7. Lead With Honesty
As much as lies from your husband hurt, look inward, too.
Have you always been completely truthful? Practicing rigorous honesty yourself, even when it’s hard, may motivate your husband to do the same.
Lead by example.
No matter if you stay in your marriage or not, you will probably like yourself better when you remain authentic.
This has been true in my own life.
8. Watch for Truthfulness in Small Things
Rebuild trust slowly by observing how your husband acts in low-stakes situations.
Does he tell the truth if he spills coffee or is running late?
Truthfulness in small areas over time offers hope for truthfulness in big ones.
If your goal is to rebuild trust, celebrate the small wins in daily life. These wins add up over time.
9. Check in Regularly
Make brief check-ins a habit where you both share feelings about your relationship.
This maintains open communication and helps you spot any issues before lies occur. Being vulnerable builds intimacy and trust.
I recommend doing this at least once per month (if not more often, especially at first).
10. Notice and Appreciate Honesty
When your husband is truthful, say thank you and share how much his honesty means to you.
People tend to repeat behaviors that get positive feedback.
Positive feedback loops can and do change behavior all the time (in personal and professional settings).
11. Be Willing to Forgive
If your husband demonstrates consistent honesty over time, try to forgive past lying.
Holding on to anger about previous lies can prevent your marriage from moving forward.
Forgiveness helps both people heal.
It won’t be easy but it might be worth it to save a beautiful relationship tarnished by lies.
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Laugh Together
Humor can be a bridge back to intimacy.
Watching a silly movie together or sharing jokes and laughs can ease tension after lying.
Laughter often brings people closer.
Laughter can also help you heal from the deep wounds of deception. Give it a try.
I think you’ll be glad you did.
13. Try a “Truth Day”
It may sound silly (but good methods often do), reinforce the importance of honesty in your marriage with a “Truth Day.”
A Truth Day is where you and your husband spend the entire day being 100% truthful no matter how minor or uncomfortable it may be.
On this day, agree to answer any questions asked of each other with complete sincerity and transparency.
Doing this demonstrates firsthand how healing honesty can be versus the damage of lies.
Use Truth Day to reset your relationship’s foundation of openness.
14. Practice Regular Self-Care
Make sure to maintain your own hobbies, interests, and friendships apart from your marriage.
Taking care of your physical and mental health bolsters your ability to work through challenges.
Don’t neglect yourself.
There is no reason to save your marriage if you lose yourself in the process.
15. Write It Out
Have your husband hand write a letter explaining in detail why he lied, how he plans to become more honest, and why rebuilding your trust is important to him.
The process of writing this by hand makes it more thoughtful.
Read it together and discuss.
Phrase to say: “I need you to explain why you lied to me and how you’ll be honest moving forward in this handwritten letter.”
16. Rebuild Intimacy Slowly (If At All)
Greater emotional and physical intimacy will come after your husband re-earns trust.
Nurture closeness by doing activities you both enjoy.
Intimacy feeds overall relationship health.
Get back to the basics of dating each other, listening, and doing fun things together.
17. Remind Him That Lying Hurts
When a lie occurs, remain calm but firmly state how lies damage intimacy and undermine the foundation of marriage.
Make sure he understands lying comes at a relational cost.
Hearing you say it out loud to him might make all the difference.
You could say: “When you’re not truthful with me, it deeply hurts me and harms our connection. The trust between us disappears.”
18. Say This “Trust” Phrase
You can say: “Your lies make me feel like I can’t trust you anymore.”
This phrase expresses the emotional impact of the lies – that they have severely damaged trust in the relationship.
It’s important for the lying spouse to understand this trust has been broken and needs repairing through honest words and actions over a long period of time.
19. Speak Your Power and Agency
Use this power phrase: “If you lie to me again, I will leave this relationship.”
While an ultimatum, this phrase conveys the seriousness of lies and your unwillingness to remain if dishonesty continues.
It makes clear there are non-negotiable consequences for future lies.
Your husband needs to know lying could end the marriage in order to motivate change.
This phrase puts control and agency back in your hands.
21. Consider Trial Separation (If Needed)
In severe cases where lies have completely broken trust, a temporary separation may be the only path forward.
This provides space for the liar to examine their behavior.
Stipulate clear and uncertain conditions for reconciliation.
Watch this video about what to do when your husband (or any partner) lies:
How Do You Treat a Lying Husband?
It’s understandable to feel angry and want to lash out at a lying husband, but harsh treatment usually makes the situation worse.
The most effective approach is to express how the lies made you feel, insist firmly on complete honesty going forward, seek counseling if needed, and rebuild trust by observing truthfulness in everyday interactions.
Shaming or raging at your husband may feel momentarily justified but won’t motivate positive change.
Instead (as hard as it may be) treat a lying husband with:
- Clarity (Boundaries)
Can a Marriage Survive with a Compulsive Liar?
It is possible for a marriage to survive if one spouse is a compulsive liar, but it will take tremendous effort.
Lying is a difficult habit to break.
The non-lying spouse (that’s you) must set firm boundaries and consistently call out lies in a non-judgmental way.
Counseling is strongly advised so the liar can understand their motivations and adopt new behaviors.
Even if lying stems from a mental health issue like narcissism, progress is possible if the liar admits having a problem and seeks help.
How Do You Set Boundaries with a Lying Spouse?
Clarify which behaviors you will accept and which you won’t.
Explain that any lies, even small white lies, are unacceptable and will lead to specific consequences like sleeping apart.
Follow through consistently by enforcing those consequences every time a lie occurs.
Keep calling out lies in a straightforward manner and reinforce telling the truth.
Make counseling non-negotiable if lies continue. While you cannot control your spouse, you can choose what you will tolerate in your marriage.
Should You Stay With a Lying Husband?
This very personal decision depends on your situation.
If your husband exhibits remorse, commits to counseling, stops lying, and rebuilds trust over a long period of time, reconciliation may be possible.
If the lie is about taking out the trash (and is a one time deception) you might consider staying.
However, habitual unrepentant lying, particularly about big issues like finances, cheating, or illegal activity, likely indicates a troubled character unfit for marriage.
Do not stay if you feel unsafe, fear future harm, or have lost all love and respect.
Your emotional wellbeing and peace of mind should guide your choice.
Final Thoughts: Things To Do When Husbands Lie
For more wisdom on weathering life’s challenges with your spouse, explore the marriage section on my website.
There you’ll find heartfelt articles to help your partnership thrive through thick and thin.
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