For our final essay in English Composition, we were made to choose our own topic. The following essay on the subject of marital infidelity earned me a grade of "A":
When Henry Ford was asked on his 50th wedding anniversary what his secret for marital bliss was, he reportedly said, "Stick to one model." Mr. Ford said that it is good to have friends. Husbands have guys they pal around with, and wives have girl friends they hang out with; nevertheless, as married individuals, there should only be one best friend in their lives, and it must be their spouses.
Unfortunately, we see breakdown of marriages brought about by spouses who do not sincerely take their vow of "sticking to one model." Statistics on infidelity issues vary. The accuracy of most of the studies conducted had been open to question because of the lack of candor and/or unwillingness to participate on the part of the respondents. However, highly regarded studies conducted by Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz in their book, "American Couples: Money, Work, Sex" and Annette Lawson, author of "Adultery: An Analysis of Love and Betrayal" have led relationship experts to conclude that infidelity is a significant risk factor in marital break ups.
There are many reasons why people get involved in extra marital affairs. The most common reason given is the sense of disappointment in one's marriage. "Erring" spouses justify themselves by saying that the inattention, fighting, lack of understanding and harmony, drove them toward someone else. Marriage between imperfect individuals results in an imperfect union. However, instead of finding ways to mend the relationship, some choose to seek solace from someone who willingly offers them a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a word of encouragement.
When an unhappy spouse receives care, attention and interest from a third party of the opposite sex, he becomes vulnerable to temptation. The spouse will start comparing the "new" person who makes him feel good and alive with the other party; and oftentimes, the other party will come out as the "bad guy." With the spouse's attention drawn towards the "new" person, he loses interest in saving his marriage and simply blames the other spouse, thereby causing further conflict.
Sometimes our environment, social groups, even the media can be a factor. When one is constantly bombarded by messages towards casual sex or pressured by peers that "if it feels good, do it", "you deserve better, dump him/her", or "life is short, enjoy!", this gives the person a "justifying" reason to stray from his marriage. Man is sometimes concerned about "immediate pleasures" without thinking about the end-results. Thus, we see married people engaged in adulterous activities because they're more concerned about their carnal desires and the selfish pursuit of their own happiness. We see broken relationships because commitment has taken a back seat to distorted values.
There are also people who unwittingly place themselves in a situation which makes them vulnerable to temptation. According to Shirley Glass in her book, "Not Just Friends: Protect Your Relationship From Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal", 82% of the unfaithful partners she's studied have had an affair with someone who was, at first, "just a friend."
Meetings with a "friend" for a drink or a business lunch - alone; friendly phone calls; text messages, chat messages or emails - all these innocent contacts may lead to something deeper than "just friendship." Soon, the spouse resorts to secrecy and lies to further this "friendly relationship."
Some men will argue that there is no infidelity unless sexual contact is involved. However, when a line has been crossed from platonic friendship into a deeper romantic affection, an emotional affair develops which is also marital infidelity. Affairs do not have to be sexual in order to destroy a marriage. Internet affairs can lead to devastating results. And it is not uncommon nowadays for internet friendships to develop into sexual relationships.
To avoid falling into the trap of marital unfaithfulness, couples must set up proper boundaries on friendships with third persons of the opposite sex. It is a good idea to stay away from compromising situations that might create a way to start a dangerous relationship. What may seem like small indiscretions or "innocent" flirtation can add to major traps.
Infidelity threatens any relationship. It is a betrayal of trust to a party who has entrusted one's life to another. Marriage demands exclusivity by partners to each other. Infidelity, whether sexual or emotional, is a marriage killer. That is why the Bible admonishes us not to commit adultery.
Posted at A Woman Speaks