Marital infidelity, in the minds of many, is having a sexual relationship with someone other than one’s spouse. However, infidelity is usually initiated many months earlier when personal intimacy happens through lengthy and repeated disclosing of one’s mind and emotions. Choosing to share one’s private life – needs, pains desires, hopes, frustrations and dreams — is giving to another a relationship that is exclusively marital.
Such violation of marriage happens by not understanding “forsaking all others.” This repeated, lengthy conversation with someone else is infidelity. However, this intimacy with someone else is a welcome delight to a husband or wife who find him/herself very much alone. In his/her mind and conscience the joy of the new relationship may justify the infidelity.
Some married people simply refuse to share their lives. They can rightfully be identified as unmarriageable. They create their own loneliness and marital failure. Such marital strain and dysfunction readily leads to a marriage without sex. Longing for intimacy and understanding; longing for someone who is interested in his/her life, who respects and enjoys his/her person, sets the stage for reaching out of the marriage for a marital relationship.
An unfaithful spouse experiencing acceptance and respect in a new relationship, prompts the desire for sexual expression; hence the usual full-blown sexual infidelity — an infidelity that has been in the building for months or years.
The skills for honest self-disclosure, along with the commitment to be an attentive and respectful listener, are shamefully lacking in the lives of husbands and wives by the millions. Our society with its preponderant emphasis on
sexual freedom and expression, readily disposes a dating couple to abandon building a personal relations for enjoying a sexual one. With the passing of the short-term sexual euphoria of “new lovers,” marital loneliness and failure can readily set in.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery” [Exodus 20: 14]
May none of us marrieds be guilty of starving our marriage by not committing time and interest in our spouse... determined by God’s grace — TO FORSAKE ALL OTHERS.
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
firstname.lastname@example.org blog at inspirationsandideas