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One of the most common ways we lie in marriage is using the LBO technique.

To be honest, I’ve used it a lot in the past.  But now I’m in recovery…


What is LBO?

Lying by Omission (LBO) is our actions to hide something from our spouse, hoping we can avoid a difficult conversation or getting caught.

It might be that we were tempted on Amazon and bought a new gadget but avoid our spouse knowing about it.

Or we told a friend we would buy their old refrigerator and “forgot” to mention it to our spouse.

Or maybe we ran into an old girlfriend at the store and we don’t mention it because we know she will not like it.

One husband I knew bought an expensive shotgun, stuck it under their bed and then let it sit for several months.  After some encouragement, he finally revealed the purchase.  His wife was not amused.


Is LBO Lying?

Some might argue that LBO is not lying because we plan to tell our spouse someday.  Besides it might make them angry or something like that, right?

Ok, but how does that build intimacy?  If you look at it, LBO is definitely a blow against intimacy.

I don’t think calling LBO a form of lying is  a stretch.  Just think of it as “short term” lying that gradually becomes a full lie, if undiscovered.


Comparing Lying and LBO

While lying is a sin of commission, LBO turns it on its head and uses the sin of omission to avoid consequences.  Both actions demonstrate dishonesty with your spouse who wants to trust you.

I’m not talking about waiting a few hours to discuss a difficult topic.  That can be very wise.  But if it is a couple of days and you’ve not alerted your spouse about something they will be surprised about, then you are engaged in LBO.

Depending on the “seriousness” of the LBO, you could be in a tough situation.

You certainly don’t want to experience the disapproval or conflict or consequences.  But your conscience should be working on you by encouraging you to share the situation.  (P.S. If your conscience is not active at this point, then you may have a larger issue to consider. )

It’s time to be honest with yourself about your “lie-style”.


Downsides of Lying by Omission

A LBO conversation is inevitable since God has a way of helping us get found out.  Trust me, whatever the LBO is about, it will become known.  Check Luke 8:17 for details.

The question is whether you and I will reveal it or someone else does.  Either way, the amount of time that has passed makes it a larger and larger issue.

So what is the impact of using LBO regularly?  Here are several ways:

  • It negatively affects marital intimacy.

  • It breeds mistrust and frustration in our spouses.

  • It helps us avoid meaningful conversations about our desires and wants.

  • It makes it easier to move into larger lies and deceptions.


Why is LBO so Common?

  •  Fear of conflict

  • Peace-faking and people-pleasing.

  • Pride and fear of embarrassment

  • Trying to impress others

  • Outright deceit, lack of trust in God

  • Greed, lack of self-control

Not so pretty, huh?  And some of these motivations can be traced to our false beliefs.


False Beliefs behind LBO

  • I don’t have time to discuss with my spouse before taking action.

  • My spouse will disagree anyway, so I might as well go ahead.

  • I am just protecting my spouse from getting upset or angry.

  • What my spouse doesn’t know, will not hurt them.

  • It is ok to please others at my spouse’s expense.  They will understand.

  • I will feel better if I do this now, even though it may be discovered soon.

Somewhere I recall Jesus had some strong things to say about our “Yes” being a “Yes” and our “No” being a “No” (see Matthew 5:37).


Questions to Discuss

  • How do you feel when you find that there is a LBO situation with your spouse?

  • What false beliefs do I use to justify a LBO?

  • How can we minimize or remove LBO in our relationship?

  • Is there something I need to change so that my spouse will not want to LBO?

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