Nobody wakes up one day and suddenly decides to begin an extramarital affair. Infidelity begins in the heart and mind. By the time a person physically commits adultery, he or she has been indulging for quite some time in progressively more intense mental and emotional affairs.
Likewise, marital fidelity begins long before marriage. It begins as a promise we make to ourselves to be a person of faithful character before marriage ever enters the picture. It is a promise we make to our future spouse when we get engaged, and it is a vow we make to our spouse when we get married. Marital fidelity is a daily commitment to seek the best for your spouse and family.
Strengthening Marital Fidelity
Marital fidelity is strengthened when you affirm your spouse, listen to your spouse, and seek to meet his or her needs. It also strengthened when you set healthy boundaries for your media consumption and for your relationships outside of the home.
Weakening Marital Fidelity
Marital fidelity is weakened when you devalue your spouse, minimize the time you have with your spouse, and focus on meeting your own needs. It's also weakened when you fantasize about someone other than your spouse (and God) meeting your deepest needs and desires.
- Pornography is one of the worst affairs of the mind. It can destroy years of marital fidelity within hours.
- Left unchecked, workplace friendships between men and women can easily evolve into emotional affairs.
The Rewards of Marital Fidelity
Marital fidelity produces lifelong rewards. In contrast, infidelity can cause years of untold anguish.
"Silently and imperceptibly, as we work or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak; and at last some crisis shows us what we have become" (B. F. Westcott). This is true in every area of life, including marital fidelity.