Week 11: Fidelity

When you hear the words affair and adultery, what images come to your mind?  I would be willing to bet that most of us think of sexual infidelity.  This is a serious act that has terrible consequences in a relationship.  Many relationships end because of infidelity; those that stay together through such a hardship suffer from trust issues, anger, low self-esteem and any myriad of negative emotional problems.  Complete fidelity within a relationship is incredibly important, and many people will be surprised to know that there are many ways to violate this other than sexual affairs.

Complete fidelity in marriage means that we put our spouse above EVERYTHING else in our lives.  All of our physical, emotional, spiritual energy should be given to our spouse.  If you would rather play a certain video game instead of spend time with your spouse, if you enjoy the company of a friend better than the company of your spouse, then you are not being completely faithful.  If you share thoughts, dreams, ideas with anyone that you have not, or would not, share with your spouse, then you are not being completely faithful to your spouse.  Even if you serve others more than you serve your spouse, then you are not being completely faithful to your spouse.    Any friend, hobby, job, game, school, etc. could be a means of pulling you away from your spouse.

I had a friend that came to me with a serious need for help in getting her life back together.  I made it my goal to get her back on her feet.  If she needed a ride, a meal, a babysitter, anything, I was there.  I often put my husband’s needs on the back burner and assumed he would understand.  I had many reasons that this was necessary; I was being a good friend, I was trying to help those in need as Jesus would do, I was still taking care of my family just fine, etc.  The truth though was that I had greatly changed how much I was doing for my family.  I was expecting them to pick up the slack so that I could spend extra time on my friend.  My husband became frustrated with the situation and I was not willing to admit that he was right until much later.  I learned through this experience that our friends have others who can take care of them; our highest allegiance is to our spouse.

One instance that Dr. Goddard spoke of in his book was that infidelity comes from the act of looking for or wanting something better than what you already have.  He says, “As my wise colleague James Marshall observes, ‘the grass is greener on the side of the fence you water.’ If we tend our own little patch, even with all its weeds and rocks, we will find a joy that passes understanding. If we sit on the fence and dream, we will lose even our allotted garden spot.” (Goddard, 2007)  There will be challenges with any relationship you choose to pursue; a new relationship will not solve your problems, only trade them for different ones.  However, properly caring for the relationship you have is the surest way to happiness.

My point is. . . we need to be very aware of where our energy is being spent throughout or day.  I want my marriage to be great, so I put the largest portion of my energy each day into it.    Where are you spending your energy?

References:

Goddard H.W. (2007) Drawing heaven into your marriage: Powerful principles with eternal results. Fairfax, Virginia: Meridian Publishing.

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