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How do I forgive a spouse for lying to me when I just can’t trust him?

Dishonesty is painful, unsettling, and, especially in relationships, violating of trust. Trust is essential for a healthy marriage. Relationships can withstand tremendous amounts of hard truths, but they collapse quickly under the weight of deception. Secrets and lies poison relationships. It is important to uproot any deception so there is transparency for restoring trust back into the relationship. 

God’s heart is for us to pursue reconciliation and healing. We are told in Matthew 5:24 that making up with a brother should be prioritized even ahead of worship. Jesus spelled out how to deal with someone who sins against us in Matthew 18:15-20. We are told to confront the issue one on one, and if that does not yield positive results, we bring in support to mediate so there is accountability and healthy boundary setting. Ideally there is repentance and restoration, but sometimes our efforts fail. While healing and restoration are the ideal, we do live in a world marked by sin and brokenness. 

Your question raises two distinct concerns: forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is freeing yourself from carrying a weight of anger and trusting God to be in charge of justice. While you can and should forgive your husband and release your anger to God, reconciliation works better when there is genuine repentance and a commitment to changing behavior. While ideally forgiveness and restoration go hand in hand, sometimes they do not. Forgiveness should not mean that you let someone continue to hurt you. 

Each one of us is an image bearer of God and dearly loved. Though we follow Jesus’ example of sacrificial love, we are not called to submit to abuse. Commit to praying over your situation to discern your next steps. God promises to give wisdom to all who ask (James 1:5). Seek out the advice of a Christian counselor, as wise guidance can help build a better future (Prov. 15:22). These challenges are difficult, but God is faithful to walk with us through whatever difficulties we might face.

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