Jealousy arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. Proverbs 6:34
Infidelity is not new, but we are treating it more casually than any previous generation in recent history. The reality, however, is that its consequences are not lessened by our more liberal outlook on life. In most cases, infidelity is the crowning blow to a marriage that may have already been on the rocks.
Psychology Today says, "More people say they have cheated on their marriage partners than on their tax returns or expense accounts."
Why can't people just forgive and forget? The answer, simply put, is that we aren't put together psychologically in such a way that you can throw an emotional switch and everything clears the screen of your memory and feelings. Jealousy, resentment, feelings of betrayal and breach of trust all make it difficult to just move on with your life. Long ago the writer of Proverbs observed that "jealousy arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge" (Proverbs 6:34).
When the birth control pill was invented, thus separating sex from procreation for millions of people, a cultural revolution began which lowered the bar and the restraints which had governed society for centuries. But when men and women who consider themselves to be liberated and free from these traditional restraints realize that a husband or wife is in someone else's arms, jealousy and resentment rages just as it did centuries ago, and marriages become casualties of this misaligned sophistry.
Why did God place a premium on fidelity in marriage? Because He made us and knew how our deep emotional needs could be met, and that is through a monogamous marriage. Remember God's plan was, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24), a formula which was repeated by Jesus Himself.
"Wait a minute," you may be saying, "didn't Solomon have 700 wives and 300 concubines?" and didn't even David have several wives?" Yes, it's true. But a study of scripture shows that from Abraham's time to the Babylonian captivity, pagan practices involving polygamy influenced God's people but were never part of God's plan or purpose.
From the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. on through the entire New Testament, there are no statements or examples which would justify either polygamy or infidelity. To the contrary, leaders in the church were to be husbands of one wife, and the context means, "married to just one person."
"But it's just the way men are made," I have been told by those choosing to justify their infidelity. Before you buy into that mentality, read Psalm 51, written by David, a man who had been there and faced the consequences of his poor choice.
If there were no God, no Ten Commandments with the injunction, "You shall not commit adultery," no heaven or hell, and no accountability to God, you would still discover that if you want a marriage to work, you had better be faithful to the one to whom you committed yourself in marriage.
Nothing less than that really works. Don't buy into the myth that affairs can actually make your marriage stronger. That's like believing that gargling with hydrochloric acid will take away your sore throat, or shooting yourself in the foot with a .45 is the best way to deal with an itch on your toe.
Well did the writer of Scripture put it: "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished" (Proverbs 6:27-29).
It's still true.
Resource reading: Proverbs 7:1-27