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New Wife is a Liar: Shall I Divorce Her?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jul 10, 2017

Question

Assalamu Alaikum! I recently found out that my wife lied to me about going to graduate school. We are recently married and when I first started to talk to her she told me she had classes on Tuesday and Thursday and when we would speak on the phone she made it appear as if she was going to class--turns out that was a lie. It was a very detailed lie and she had to keep up to make sure I believed her by pretending she was going to class and taking exams. After we got married, she claimed that she was denied transfer to a local graduate school and was kicked out of her current graduate school. A month later I needed some documentation from her graduate school but she claimed she didn't have any and lied again saying she never got the documentation. A few months later, I asked her about it again as I was suspicious and she changed her story again and I foolishly believed her again. Just last month, I called the graduate school she was in and asked about the program she described to me--turns out they never had such a program. I asked her about it and she admitted she was never in graduate school and only kept the lie going to not disappoint her parents. She lied to me about it for several months prior to marriage and after marriage and I really do not think that is fair. Regardless, I am ready to forgive her for it. So I asked her if she would be willing to tell her parents (and possibly my parents the truth), she adamantly refused and didn't want to hurt anyone else by telling the truth. She has now asked me to continue to lie for her when I know the truth and that makes me uncomfortable, which I have expressed to her. However, she says it is her lie and she is not ready to tell the truth. I am worried that this demonstrates a part of her personality that I did not see before--a propensity to lie. I am not ready to end the marriage as it is early and I want to try my best before making that decision but I find it troubling that she does not want to tell the truth to the families and has now asked me to continue lying for her. Thanks for your help!

Counselor

Answer


New Wife is a Liar: Shall I Divorce Her?

In this counseling answer:

The counselor advises: first, inform her about how dangerous this particular kind of behavior is. Then, you need to see if she actually feels the sting of its wrongness and dangerousness. Lying is not your ”normal, everyday” brand of sin; it is one of the most dangerous ones. If she does not know this or thinks that it is not a sin because she was raised on it, please enlighten her. Then see if you can tell who she really is and whether you want to live the rest of your life with her.


As-Salaamu ’Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh My dear sister in Islam,

May Allah (swt) reward you for willing to try to work things out with your wife. The forgiveness, non-judgmental attitude, and humility you have toward your wife are all very honorable things in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says He is merciful to those who are merciful with others! So, I want you to know that I respect you very much for your righteous and Islamic attitude and I pray that Allah (swt) accepts it from you and forgives your sins. May He (swt) always give you a second and third and fourth chance whenever you need it and reward you in this life and the next.

That said, I fear that you may be wasting your good character on someone who does not deserve it as she does not seem to be penitent. You say she has never admitted her sin until you found it out and confronted her with it. She is trying to keep it going with those who still don’t know it. If she were owning the wrongness of her behavior, choices, and their problematic nature, and if she were begging for your forgiveness, then, yes, I would be with you 100% in your good intentions to forgive her. But, not only does she not seem penitent, she is asking you to join in on her lies—she wants you to become a liar, too!

Now, I can see her wanting to save face by not broadcasting her sins, and that attitude is right in front of Allah (swt). But it needs to be accompanied by another attitude to be right: the admission of fault, being penitent and trying to do that for damage control, not to keep the sin going. However, she wants to keep the sin going!

Under these circumstances, it might be possible if you two put your heads together while asking for Allah’s help. But, that is not what she is asking for. She ”adamantly refused because she didn’t want to hurt anyone else by telling the truth”. She has it backward which means to me that she is not trying to remedy her sin but is making excuses.

In truth, telling the truth will hurt no one but herself – her reputation. It won’t hurt other people, except disappoint them in her. Thus, she wants to keep lying instead and wants you to help her do that. Lies are the things that hurt people, not the truth! Lies are not the only deception; they in and of themselves are deceptive. We do them to keep from dealing with things that we think will hurt us, but, paradoxically, lies are the things that hurt us instead. They have the opposite effect of what we think they will do for us. They hurt us because they are bad for our soul!

There are a few very serious problems, Islamically, with her way of thinking.

1) the real marital relationship, as defined in Islam, is ”love” and ”mercy” and ”likeness”. Those things exist on a medium of ”trust”. Trust is how we access them and share them with each other. Lies are the opposite of what is needed for trust.

Furthermore, Loveableness is the result of trustworthiness. In other words, we love trustworthiness. For example, one of the main reasons we love our Prophet (saw) is because he was trustworthy. Trustworthiness was his epithet before and after he got the Revelation of Islam. Trust is why we know the Quran is the truth. Trust is why we know he is our Prophet (saw). Trust is born from the opposite of lying. Lying is the opposite of what it takes to realize our Islam.

2) Marriage is intimacy, and not just bodily intimacy (sex), but emotional intimacy. There is no intimacy without trust; one does not exist if the other one is not there.

3) Sex is for love-making which is what the intimacy of marriage is for. However, sex does not exist in a vacuum of emotional intimacy; it is subsequent to, not a precursor to, emotional intimacy. In other words, we want to have sex because we love the person and have sworn an oath to Allah (swt) to take care of each other’s emotional and physical needs. Sex is the outcome of that, not an end in itself. Like trust and love, emotional intimacy does not exist in a milieu of lies.

4)”Kafr” means someone who covers up the truth, i.e., lies. Now, do not get me wrong. I am not calling your wife a kafer. That is not my place. What I am saying is that she needs to take this particular behavior very seriously because it is very dangerous for a believer’s souls. She may not realize its seriousness because she may have been raised on it in a culture that teaches to be this way. That is why I cannot judge her. Only Allah (swt) knows her struggle! Nonetheless, once she comes to know of its seriousness, she needs to change—for the safety of her soul.

So, first, inform her about how dangerous this particular kind of behavior is. Then, you, as her intimate partner, need to see if she actually feels the sting of its wrongness and dangerousness. Lying is not your ”normal, everyday” brand of sin; it is one of the most dangerous ones. If she does not know this or even thinks that it is not a sin because she was raised on it, please enlighten her and then see if you can tell who she really is. This information should help you decide if this is the woman you want to spend the rest of your private life with.

May Allah (saw) make it easy for you!

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.




About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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