If I don't tell my wife I sinned, isn't that lying?



I've been reading through much of the posts on your site regarding adultery and lying.  I have found much of it to be very helpful, but I am struggling with some of what you advise.  In several of the posts on adultery, you advise the person who committed adultery that it would be best to not inform their spouse of their adulterous actions as it would undermine the trust in their relationship and cause pain, sorrow and suffering that the non-guilty partner doesn't deserve.  You advise this to persons who are truly repentant, have confessed their sin to God and have changed their behaviors and committed themselves to following God's commands and a biblical way of life.

I am currently in this position.  I had a one-night encounter with another woman while out of town a few months ago.  I never thought I would be capable of this if you had asked me a year ago, or even six months ago.  I love my wife and family dearly and believe that we are to remain together.   I succumbed to temptation, however, and sinned against her and God in a moment of weakness.  I fully take responsibility for my actions -- what I did was my fault, not God's, not Satan's, not my wife's.  Thankfully, my conscience took over before I engaged in the act of sexual intercourse with the woman although she clearly told me this was what she wanted.  I told her I couldn't go through with it and removed myself from her presence.  However, I know I committed adultery in my heart as well as traveling quite far down the path of physical adultery before turning around. 

I immediately confessed my sin to God and have spent numerous occasions on my knees, in tears, asking for a truly repentant heart and forgiveness.  I believe that God has forgiven me for the adultery.  I have no contact with this woman and have no desire too. 

I have spent many hours analyzing what brought me to the threshold of that sin, and why I gave in.  I think my marriage to my wife is nowhere near as strong as it should be, and I am determined to fix that.  I also have realized that in many ways, I have been leading an ungodly life, and I am also determined to fix that.  I believe I fell into the rut of being a lazy Christian.  Confessing with my mouth and, while believing, not living it in my heart and actions.  I believe God has used this incident in my life to awaken me to the dangerous path I was on and show me how I need to live from here out. 

However, I am struggling with the fact that I feel I am hiding something from my wife.  Isn't the fact that I am not telling her deceit and a form of lying?  Am I living in sin and therefore jeopardizing my salvation by staying quiet about it? 

Please tell me your thoughts on this.  I value your advice and sincerely appreciate all the effort you put into your responses.  Thank you!


If your wife asked if you ever contemplated adultery and you said, "no," then you would be telling her a lie. But unless you give her a reason to doubt your serious intention to make your marriage better than it has ever been, she isn't going to ask.

Think of it this way, suppose your wife got ill and one morning you look over and see that she looks laid in the path of a steamroller, are you going tell her just how awful she looks? Would it be lying to leave out the details and just say, "You don't look well, why don't you stay in bed today."

Is it lying to go to your daughter's concert but not mention to her that she hit more notes wrong than right? Or do you find something you can sincerely compliment her on so she will be encouraged to try again?

Was Samuel lying in I Samuel 16 when he said he was going to Bethlehem to offer a sacrifice, but didn't mention that he was there to anoint the next king?

What I advise people who have sinned and repented of that sin, is to let the sin go. Bring up your flaws rarely does anyone any good. "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins" (Proverbs 10:12). Be honest with yourself; if you told your wife that you came close to committing adultery would you not be stirring up strife? How is that a demonstration of your love for her? How is making her life miserable helping her?

What I'm advising is not to add yet another sin to the one you already committed. Your wife deserves your love and devotion. Yes, I understand your misery in what you've done, and the old saying that "Misery loves company" is true, but don't give your misery to your wife. Give her love, joy, and peace instead.

Since you are determined to be a new man, leave the old man of sin behind once again as you did in the beginning when you put on Christ. Don't throw your past sins in your wife's face.

"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:17-24).

Thank you so much for your quick response!

I think in the scenarios you outline, it would not be considered lying. I guess I've always been taught that if you sin against someone, you are to seek their forgiveness and make restitution. But I can see how in a similar sitution, let's say, in which you've slandered someone but they never found out about it, that it would do more harm than good to that person if you went to them and told them what you said about them and then asked for forgiveness.

If I were to tell her, it would definitely stir up strife, at least for a time. The only way in which I can say it would be showing love is in the fact that I am being fully open and honest with her. I will do as you advise and try to put this sin behind me and I will pray that if she ever were to question whether I've committed adultery, that I would be able to admit it without lying.

Thank you again for your willingness to try and help me. May the Lord bless the work you are doing in Nebraska and through your online ministries.

In truth, open and honest should have came before the temptation to commit adultery. It was because you hid that you came so close to sinning. So be open and honest about your life so sin has no room to hide. The repented sins of the past are over and done with. They are refuse which needs to be buried because they are no longer a part of your life.