Much has been written in the media recently about men cheating on their wives. We have the tale of two Jo(h)ns: John Edwards, whose wife, Elizabeth Edwards, appeared on "Oprah" recently to promote her new book, "Resilience," in which she addresses her husband's much publicized affair, and Jon Gosselin, costar of the hit TLC reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," whose rumored affair has become tabloid fodder.
The former is a tale as old as journalism itself: a man in power cheats on a wife who, from the outside, seemed a supporting and loving spouse undeserving of her husband's unfaithfulness.
The latter is another familiar tale: a man under an enormous amount of pressure is regularly and publicly emasculated and treated like dirt by his wife and seemingly seeks solace with another woman. In both cases, the men are vilified -- but is it possible that maybe, just maybe, at least one of the women had it coming?
Over at Slate's lady blog, XX Factor, Susannah Breslin wrote a provocative piece about what she calls "bad wives," explaining that Jon Gosselin's wife Kate fits the bill to a T.
"Anyone who has spent any time watching [their] show knows its subplot is their marriage," she writes, "and the majority of that relationship seems to consist of Kate treating her husband like something that got stuck on the bottom of her shoe, the property of which she cannot quite identify, eliciting a nonstop look of thinly-veiled disgust and disappointment."
"In fact, it's hard to think of moments in which this housewife is not humiliating, degrading, and emasculating her husband. On camera, no less. In one episode, she actually chastised him for breathing too loudly. There she is in the supermarket ripping him a new one for being a lousy spouse. There she is at the pumpkin patch shouting at him for being a substandard father. There she is telling him to stop mumbling like a fool. There she is explaining to the camera that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks."
Where was all the outrage when that was going on? Isn't that kind of behavior as damaging to a marriage as cheating is? If people vow when they marry to stay faithful to and respect one another, shouldn't the vows be of equal importance? Why isn't Kate's face on the cover of tabloids for breaking her vows? Her indiscretions happen regularly, in front of her children, and on camera.
The larger issue is one of equality. If we're going to point fingers at men behaving badly, we have to take a look at the women's behavior that may provoke it. Most issues -- especially those within a relationship -- are rarely ever black and white with a clear-cut victim and oppressor. People cheat for a variety of reasons, very few of which are strictly because they're horrible human beings.
Cheating isn't right, but neither is emotional abuse and neglect. Psychologically, if you push someone enough, it shouldn't be any surprise when you push him into the arms of someone else.
Be that as it may, adultery is wrong under all circumstances. Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not that person's spouse. It is illegal, immoral, and destroys relationships. Adultery is wrong because it breaks one of the first covenants established in the bible. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Ge. 2:24 NKJV) Marriage is a covenant or a commitment. If the integrity (virginity) of the wife was in tact at the time of the marriage then a blood covenant was established on the wedding night (note that lack of sexual purity on either parties part does not weaken the level of commitment each is expected to adhere to). Adultery is a violation or breaking of that covenant. Man and woman were made to come together and stay together.
It is important to understand that adultery is more than just cheating on your spouse. Sex is more than just a physical act, it is spiritual as well. It is not two bodies lying together for a short time it is two spirits coming together in the most intimate way in which two human beings can encounter one another. They are not meant to separate at this point. When this happens a tearing occurs and that is what causes pain. This is one of the reasons that divorce is so painful for both the man and woman. As a matter of fact, the only biblical excuse for divorce is adultery. “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual impurity causes her to commit adultery…” (Mt. 5:32 NKJV)
It does not matter how society accepts it, nor how Hollywood exploits it, it is wrong, it is sin, and it results in great consequences. Sooner or later adultery causes divorce, and divorce has painful effects on the couple and all children involved. The consequences are enormous.
Purity is a choice. (1 Cor 6:9 NIV) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders(1 Cor 6:10 NIV) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.(1 Cor 6:11 NIV) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.