Rachel and I have lied to our kids their whole lives.  I am not proud of it.  I certainly want my relationship with our children to be based in truth, but when it comes to stories about the bearded man who likes cold weather and his elf, a rabbit and a tiny little girl who has a thing for teeth, we have not been honest.  Yesterday, we were found out.

Actually, it was about a week ago, but we were called out about our lies last night. As has happened in the past on a few occasions, there was no money under Mollie Ann’s pillow when she woke up the morning after losing a tooth.  When she came back to her room after breakfast, the transaction was mysteriously funded.  This was successfully defended in the past, but not this time.  The whole thing has fallen apart.  Everyone was outed.  While my little one is still under the spell, it will not last long.  The jig is up.

She took it well.  In fact, she thought we would be mad at her for not believing.  An external processor, she had been internally mulling this one over for a while before it started to slip out.  She smiled and joked about it.  She asked questions about details from past interactions I had almost forgotten.  Yes, it was Uncle Bubba in the red suit that time.  Jingle is currently located in my closet.  We used the attic, the office and trunks of cars to hide the goods.  I don’t know about the online video from you know who, some company selling various services to parents created it, I guess.

Culturally the lying Rachel and I have been doing is acceptable –nothing wrong with a little childhood nostalgia.  But what about when spouses lie to each other?

Marriage has peaks and valleys, good times and bad, hot and cold seasons, sickness and health.  At cocktail parties and sporting events when people find out what I do for a living, I am often asked about cheating.  “I bet you have seen it all…”

Yes.  People cheat.  They do it for a variety of reasons.  A forbidden relationship is the strongest drug known to man, and people fall prey to it every day, especially when in a rocky marital season.  But what happens when the jig is up?  What happens when the email is left up on the screen or a text comes across the phone when the perpetrator is in the shower?  What happens when the offender is confronted –stomach drops, lump in throat, life flashing before one’s eyes?

I preach it all the time.  It takes patience and poise on the part of the leaver and the left, but the best way to deal with disappointment in marriage is just like we dealt with my kid’s inevitable discovery –the truth.  There is an explanation for almost all behavior in marriage, but continued lies will do nothing but compound the problem when the jig is up.

Craig Robertson is a divorce attorney practicing throughout Mississippi.  

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