“Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Why is it that on the day couples say “I do,” 100 percent of us commit to monogamy, yet ultimately many people break that promise? During the lifetime of a marriage, experts estimate that 3040 percent of women and 50-60 percent of men will have sex with someone outside their marriage. Affairs are all around us; they happen in the marriages of celebrities, our friends, our parents, and even in our own marriages.
A recent study at the University of Washington found that 20 percent of newlywed husbands and 15 percent of newlywed wives acknowledge having had an affair in the first year of marriage that’s 35 percent of people! And those were the ones who admitted it.
So what’s the rub?
Here”s our analysis: The move from single life to married life is much more significant than most people understand. Getting married means giving up the freedom to do what you want without considering your partner. From the moment you tie the knot all the decisions you make, how you spend money, the friends you spend time with, the daily schedule you keep is filtered through what your partner needs and wants; everything you do impacts your relationship in some way. The loss of singlehood and total personal freedom may create anxiety, resentment or rebellion which can manifest in an affair. We don’t talk about this loss.
So much time and energy is spent planning for the wedding day that we don’t have the awareness or make the time to prepare for the marriage. If we are fortunate, the minister, pastor or rabbi marrying us will insist upon a couple pre-marital counseling sessions. That may be the extent of the education and training we get on how to make the biggest transition of our lives (except for having children of course).
We are also uninformed about the need to consciously nurture the feelings of love and passion we start out with. As life moves on and kids arrive with an ever increasing amount of responsibilities, couples have to consciously attend to the relationship or they may gradually drift apart. It is so easy to connect with co-workers, old boyfriends/girlfriends on Facebook and/or get distracted by pornography that without a very strong conscience and consciousness, people may not resist the temptation to indulge. And they slide down the slippery slope to the detriment of themselves, their partner and their marriage.
To prevent this, it is vital to recognize the need to become educated about marriage and relationships, to learn the skills to communicate and create a deep connection, and to nurture and work on your relationship every day. Feed the connections and stay aware of your marriage and you can have a commitment that will last a lifetime.
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about marital fidelity and infidelity on our Facebook page.
To Your Relationship,
Lori and Bob Hollander
Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, and Bob Hollander, LCSW-C, JD, are licensed counselors and co-founders of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center that gives couples 360 degrees of support for extraordinary partnerships. Sign up for Radical Relationships, a monthly eZine from Relationships Work, and receive Why Take the Journey to Extraordinary? absolutely free.