Dear Dr. Bill,
My husband loves to tell “tall tales” — greatly embellished stories about himself or borrowed from someone else. He likes the response he receives when others are astounded and amazed at his stories. I’ve never directly confronted him about this problem, but when I have gently questioned him about the inconsistencies in his stories, he becomes defensive and covers up his lies with more lies. I know it’s my biblical duty to honor my husband — so is this something that I should just learn to live with? And how do I keep our 6-year-old son from following his father’s example?
Based on your description, your husband doesn’t simply have an exaggeration problem, he has a lying problem. And based on his response when you’ve tried to address it with him, it sounds like there are much deeper character issues involved.
The bible is clear about our responsibility to be truthful with our words and honest in all of our dealings. The Ten Commandments tell us not to “bear false witness.” Ephesians 4:25 tells us to put off falsehood. Colossians 3:9 warns us not to lie to each other.
In this situation, Ephesians 4:15 should be your guide. Speak the truth in love—let your husband know that you care about him and are troubled by his behavior, particularly the example he is setting for your son.
Ask him if he would be willing to go with you to see a Christian therapist so you can tackle this issue as a couple. If he responds defensively and denies there is a problem, make an appointment to see a therapist on your own. You also may want to go to your pastor for counsel.
By the way, you asked about honoring your husband. It’s important to remember that bible does not say that a wife should ignore her husband’s sin or enable him to continue sinning by remaining silent.
Thanks for writing Stacey. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, just click on the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.