The first time I caught my husband red-handed in a lie, I was shocked.
How could I trust him when he so clearly lied to my face?
After the initial shock and anger, I realized that trusting him again was going to be a choice—but I still didn’t want to be made a fool of.
Here’s what I did to let him earn back my trust:
- I learned to confront my husband from a place of concern and empathy, not judgment
- Clarified my boundaries and expectations upfront
- Created an atmosphere of transparency, not surveillance
- Paid attention to our communication, and where miscommunication was hurting our relationship
- Allowed myself to feel and experience this journey without obsessing
If lies are destroying your relationship, you may need a little extra help—but you don’t need to jump straight into couples therapy.
There’s a powerful guide I’ve discovered and recommend to my own friends when they’re struggling in their relationships, called Save The Marriage by Dr. Lee Baucom.
It taught me how to change the way I was approaching my husband so that he would change how he reacted to me, which was huge because he has always been incredibly defensive.
If you want to check it out click here. Otherwise, continue reading to learn how we restored trust in my marriage and faith in my husband.
How My Husband’s Lies Hurt Our Relationship
The first time I caught my husband lying to me, it was about smoking cigarettes.
He swore up and down to me that he had no idea why he smelled like an ashtray when he came home from work.
Until one day I caught him on a smoke break.
The concept that my husband would even lie to me like this was brand new to me. Not my husband. He wasn’t like that…or so I thought.
I felt so betrayed.
Suffice it to say, this wasn’t the first time I found out he hadn’t told the whole truth about something.
There were other little things—mind you, nothing so huge as lying to cover up cheating or financial debt.
Honestly, it seemed so silly to me to lie about something like whether he’d finished a project for the house.
But as my perception of my husband changed, something shifted for me.
It became harder to trust what he said, and I felt myself growing more emotionally distant from him.
And that was something I wasn’t OK with.
I knew we’d have to work on it if we didn’t want this to become a runaway train.
Being a child of divorce (multiple divorces, actually), I know how fragile marriages can be.
Read Next: How to Rebuild Trust After Lies
My Husband Lied to Me. How Do I Trust Him Again? (12 Steps to Rebuild Trust)
So how did I—how did we—get past the little untruths that were hurting our relationship?
I can assure you, I didn’t do anything outlandishly special—I realized that we needed to work on our communication, for one thing.
But it was more than that. I also realized that there was a reason my husband felt the need to lie rather than be upfront with me when he had a problem.
Coming from that perspective, I saw the lying as not just his problem, but an issue within our relationship that we both needed to work on.
It takes two to tango, as they say.
Without further ado, here were the steps that saved our relationship and restored my faith in him.
1. Let Yourself Feel Angry and Disappointed
Before you do anything, allow yourself to feel the painful feelings that come with being lied to.
Because if you try to stuff them down, they will come back to bite you.
Or you will erupt at your husband at other times in your relationship, when he’s not particularly deserving of it.
I say that you should let yourself feel what you need to feel before you do anything, because you don’t want to approach your husband in anger.
Rather, give yourself grace and allow yourself to be upset, because you deserve that space, just as much as your husband (probably) deserves some grace, too.
2. Confront Him Diplomatically
To the best of your ability, talk to your husband about his lying without blaming or shaming him.
I know it’s hard when you’re feeling hurt, but your husband knows that lying hurts you, and he’s probably going to feel ashamed when you let him know you’ve caught him in a lie.
Present him with evidence if you can, not to punish or embarrass him, but rather to confirm out loud what’s going on so you can move on from that point.
I did not do this when I caught my husband smoking. I raised my voice and took jabs at his character, all because I was so upset.
However, this just succeeded in making him tear up and ended the conversation with me in full-blown rage mode.
So I learned that I needed to be careful about the way I confronted my husband, and not to guilt him relentlessly about something he certainly took no pride in.
3. Share Your Feelings
Now, just because you’re trying to be diplomatic doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself.
Go ahead and let him know how his lying has made you feel.
I had always learned to use “I” language and stay calm to have a constructive conversation, but in reality, there’s more to it than that.
If you’re speaking in a hostile way, even if you use “I” language, you’re going to shut the other person down or be met with equal hostility.
Others will mirror your reactions, so try to set the stage for a productive conversation with the right language and tone.
4. Find Out Why Your Husband Lied
It’s really important that you understand why your husband felt like he needed to lie.
So ask him to share this information with you. Be willing to hear your partner’s feelings, his fears.
You’re not asking to hear excuses—you’re seeking to identify a root problem, because telling lies is a symptom of a deeper issue.
If he says “I don’t know” (like my husband did), be patient with him.
In our culture, men have not exactly been encouraged to be in touch with their emotions. So you may need to help him out with this.
Give him prompts like, “Were you afraid I’d judge you/be mad at you/be disappointed?”
Chances are, he’ll agree to one of these prompts, and you can open the doorway to discovering what’s beneath his lying—and fix the root of the problem.
5. Put Yourself in His Shoes
For me, I recognized that my husband was lying to me about his smoking because he was afraid to let me down.
He had quit previously and started the habit again under stress at a new job.
We had just moved to a new home in a different state, and I was under my own mountain of pressure work-wise.
Long story short, my husband didn’t want to burden me with his stress, nor did he want to fall off of his pedestal in my eyes.
That was something I could understand.
And I found myself treating the situation less critically and feeling more willing to give him some room as a result.
6. Encourage Transparency in Daily Life
The consequences of lying can linger for a long time.
Which is why transparency is crucial to rebuild trust.
Obviously, your husband will need to be open and forthcoming in his daily life, especially in the areas in which he’s told lies.
This doesn’t mean constantly surveilling his comings and goings, his phone, and social media accounts and giving him no privacy.
That level of control is unsustainable, for one thing, and it can further damage your relationship and actually increase distrust.
Instead, make it clear that your husband needs to take responsibility for himself and his own behaviors, rather than making you the watchdog.
And that takes setting expectations, which is the next step…
7. Set Boundaries and Expectations
When your spouse lies, it’s definitely a sign to reiterate boundaries and expectations.
Hopefully the open and honest conversation you had clarified what happened and what triggered your husband to lie, and that mutual understanding can now form the foundation of your new boundaries.
Now, it’s time to set limits on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior moving forward.
Your husband hid some large purchases or financial commitments? A new boundary could be that financial decisions over a certain dollar amount must be made together, prior to purchase.
He got too close to a coworker and lied about it? Let him know that you expect him to steer clear of this person in any regard not strictly related to work and during working hours.
Remember to be respectful and realistic in your boundary-setting, and don’t be afraid to reassess and adjust as needed.
Boundaries are vital for a healthy relationship and help both parties feel secure.
8. Distinguish Between Lies and Miscommunications
I mentioned that my husband lied multiple times—and while sometimes it was just a silly white lie, I found out that other times, it was more about misunderstandings.
For example, sometimes when my husband would say he “took care of” a project for the house, what he really meant was that he was waiting on some tool or material he’d ordered online and was planning to finish it within the coming weeks.
Sometimes he was legitimately saying what he thought I wanted to hear to avoid confrontation.
Other times, we genuinely didn’t understand each other, and so he gave me the wrong information.
Clarity is king, and getting it can be superbly difficult.
If not, there wouldn’t be so many marriage therapists specializing in communication.
Nevertheless, my best advice here is to try to be as specific as possible when communicating.
Even still, miscommunications will happen, so avoid jumping to conclusions that your husband is misrepresenting a situation if there is a chance that it could have been a genuine communication failure.
Read Also: Signs of Poor Communication in a Marriage
9. Watch Your Reactions
If your husband is lying because he’s afraid of upsetting you, controlling your reactions is one of the best ways to make him feel safer in telling the truth.
(Tip: If you’re really upset, talking to a trusted friend or family member first to blow off some steam can help.)
I started having internal dialogues with myself asking, “Is this worth getting upset about, or can I let this go?”
When there were problems or things that irritated me, I was careful not to dump my frustrations on him.
I believe this helped to disarm him so that he no longer assumed I’d immediately get angry, so he’d “have to” lie to appease me.
In fact, this was part of learning how to respond rather than react, which is still something I use in my marriage to stop fights in their tracks and create the dynamic I want.
If you’re not sure about the power of response, check out Dr. Lee Baucom’s Save The Marriage and learn how to use it.
10. Use Positive Reinforcement
If you treat him with suspicion all the time, it doesn’t make your husband less likely to mess up.
It makes him more likely to lie to you.
So give your husband positive reinforcement to change his behavior patterns and feel comfortable coming to you in case he does mess up.
It’s hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt when they’ve betrayed your trust before, but the stick never works better than the carrot.
To be clear, you’re not turning a blind eye to the same behavior and watching your husband make the same mistake and lie about it.
You’re just not forcing him to live in the shadow of his past mistakes.
11. Give It Time and Don’t Obsess
There’s no magic solution when one partner has lost the other partner’s trust, and it’s totally normal to have doubts throughout the process.
But it’s important to be patient and give both yourself and your partner time, no matter what.
Focus on the changes you’re seeing in your relationship as you practice more transparency and communication.
From experience, if you’re always playing the “what-if” game, your insecurities will take over.
Worrying won’t heal a broken bond, but persistence and dedication will.
12. Keep Communication Flowing
Trust is not something you achieve and then forget about.
It takes maintenance, and communication plays a huge role in that.
So keep it flowing and encourage ongoing conversations about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns even after you feel like you’ve repaired the broken trust.
For me, not letting my husband know that I feel off about something right away only makes the volume in my head louder.
Best to get on the same page.
Communication takes the power out of negative feelings brewing and makes you feel more connected as a couple.
How to Confront a Lying Spouse
When you’re dealing with a lying spouse, the key to success is to confront them in a way that’s confident, neutral, and clear.
Pick the Right Time and Place
Picking the right time and place for this conversation is pretty important.
You need your husband’s full attention, so make sure you’re not bringing up the topic while you’re getting ready to go to work.
Make sure you both have ample time to discuss it without rushing or feeling pressured.
A private, quiet setting, when your husband is feeling relaxed, would be ideal.
Lay Out Your Suspicions
Start the conversation by expressing your feelings and explaining why you suspect your husband is hiding something.
Be specific and give examples of your husband’s behavior, or the evidence you’ve discovered that shows he’s been dishonest.
Details like these help to avoid the trap of coming across as “paranoid,” and in any case, it will make it clearer to your husband where you’re coming from.
Adopt the Position of Wanting to Understand
Remaining neutral is going to be hard if you’re focusing on trying to hold back your anger.
So instead, try coming from a place of genuinely wanting to understand your husband.
This will help you keep your emotional responses in check and avoid temptation to attack your spouse’s character.
Ask for his point of view.
Be clear and concise with your words and use open-ended questions to draw out more information from him.
You want to encourage a dialogue and make it easier for both of you to express yourselves.
Practice Active Listening
As always, practice your active listening skills.
Allow your husband to explain his side of the story, and listen attentively without interrupting or making assumptions.
This shows that you’re open to understanding his point of view and willing to work together to overcome the hurdles.
Create a Safe Space
If you don’t want your husband to shut down, emphasize your commitment to your marriage and to him.
Demonstrate your love and empathy.
Talk about the importance of trust in your relationship, but with the tone and context of a loving, supportive relationship.
Be a safe space for your husband if you want him to understand he can stop lying without painful consequences.
Why Spouses Lie
As we touched on earlier, understanding the reasons for the lying can help you navigate the path towards restoring trust.
If you can’t fathom why your husband would lie to you, consider the following possibilities:
- Fear of vulnerability. By lying, your husband believes he keeps a safe distance and prevents you from getting too close emotionally. Often, this is caused by past traumas that have seeded trust issues for him or damaged his self-esteem.
- Avoiding conflict. Telling white lies to avoid uncomfortable discussions or arguments is very common. Of course, these lies still contribute to mistrust in your relationship, even if your husband assumes they’re harmless.
- Chronic lying stemming from deep-rooted insecurities or a desire for control. If your partner is constantly fabricating stories, it may indicate a deeper issue involving their sense of self-worth. In these situations, it might help if your husband seeks therapy or counseling to confront his underlying insecurities.
- Manipulation and intentional deception. Some people lie to maintain power in a relationship or get away with something they know is wrong. If you find your partner is constantly lying to manipulate situations, professional help may be necessary.
Can You Trust a Lying Partner Again?
Lies can shatter feelings of safety and security in a relationship, leaving you questioning everything you once believed to be true about your partner.
How a lie affects you and your relationship may depend on a variety of factors, including how “severe” the lie was.
There’s a big difference, just for example, between fibbing about going for a beer with coworkers because your husband feels guilty not coming straight home—and lying to carry on an affair.
(Unless your husband has a drinking problem—then lying about going out with “a drink” with his buddies becomes a more severe issue.)
It’s important to be aware of any signs that point to deeper issues, like chronic lying coupled with evidence of your husband doing things he shouldn’t, or just a gut feeling you have.
But ultimately, it’s completely normal to feel unsure about trusting your partner again after they’ve lied to you.
In general, if your spouse got caught in a lie, confessed, took responsibility and is trying hard to prove himself through trustworthy actions and transparency, there is no specific reason to deny him another chance.
Related Reading: How to Know If Your Husband Stopped Cheating
Should You Forgive Your Husband?
You don’t have to forget, but forgiveness is an important step in rebuilding your relationship.
It allows you and your husband to move on and focus on what’s important: each other.
Not only that, but did you know forgiving can improve your mental health and reduce anxiety and stress?
Keep in mind that forgiveness is a personal decision, and it’s up to you to decide if you can forgive your husband or not.
But it’s worth trying if you want your marriage to not just survive, but also be the source of comfort and happiness that you want it to be.
What If You’re Having Trust Issues?
If your husband is trying hard, and you’re still having trouble trusting him?
Then you may need to enlist the help of a professional family therapist or individual therapist to guide you through it.
In many cases, a couples counselor is the best choice to address trust issues after infidelity or other major breaches of trust.
This type of therapy allows you to work together to better understand each other’s emotions and needs, develop effective communication strategies, and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.
Dealing with deception in a relationship can be incredibly challenging, but rebuilding trust is crucial for moving on.
Remember, rebuilding trust requires continuous effort and commitment from both you and your husband.
For my husband and me, we feel like we’ve conquered some pretty big things and come out the other side stronger in our relationship.
By being open and transparent, taking your time, and setting boundaries all while practicing empathy, you can build a foundation for trust to grow, and your relationship just may become even more secure than before.
How do you regain trust in a marriage after lying?
If you’re the one who lied and you want to rebuild trust, it’s important to first acknowledge the lie and take responsibility for it.
You should have a sincere conversation with your spouse about what happened.
Own your actions, offer a genuine apology, and be ready for a flood of emotions from your partner.
Listen to them with an open heart and understand that earning back your partner’s trust is a process that will not happen overnight.
If you remain honest and transparent and demonstrate your commitment, you can slowly heal broken trust in your marriage.
What do you do if your husband lies to you?
Healthy relationships aren’t conflict-free. They’re committed to resolving conflicts.
So if your husband lied to you, it’s important to approach it as a team.
Address the issue head-on and state how your husband’s lying affects you.
Talk openly about your concerns and allow him to explain his perspective.
Also, be sure to lay out what you expect in the future to feel secure in your relationship.
Then, you will need to take a step back to allow your husband to demonstrate his trustworthiness and dedication.
When should you leave a lying spouse?
Leaving a lying spouse is a personal decision that depends on many factors, including the nature and extent of the lie and the overall health of your relationship.
If the lying is a pattern and your spouse shows no remorse or commitment to change, despite your efforts to communicate and work through the issue, it might be time to think about your future together.
You should not have to put aside your own well-being in your relationship, and someone who just wants to manipulate and control you doesn’t really deserve to be with you.
If you need to, seek professional help like therapy or counseling to support you in making this decision.
How do you heal from being lied to?
Healing from being lied to involves forgiveness, for both yourself and your spouse.
Understand that it’s not your fault you didn’t see through the lies, that it’s not some type of problem that lies with you.
But also, extend some forgiveness to the person who lied as most of the time, the lying stems from a place of fear and not maliciousness.
Then, work on building trust back.
Healing is a process, and it may take time for you to fully recover from the hurt caused by lies.
Focus on strengthening your emotional resilience and doing self-care activities to promote healing and personal growth.
Where to Start Healing Your Marriage
If you want to heal yourself and your relationship but you’re not sure where to start, family therapy is most definitely an option.
Not everyone is ready for that though, which is where a guide like Dr. Lee Baucom’s Save The Marriage can be a life saver.
There are plenty of self-help reads out there, but this guide is really good at changing your perspective so that you can reorient yourselves toward the “we” in your relationship.
Because, as couples therapists reiterate, nothing is going to change if you’re stuck in the same unproductive mindset and relationship patterns.
Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.