Don’t worry, it’s just adultery

When did infidelity become a moral misdemeanor? When did we decide that a guy can cheat on his wife yet be an otherwise honest, trustworthy and upstanding gentleman? When did we determine that adultery happens in some sort of isolated vacuum, and it does not reflect negatively on the character of the person who commits it? Maybe there isn’t an exact moment in time we can point to, but I assume this shift in perspective coincided with our culture’s general fall into sputtering lunacy.

I bring this up because I just read a piece written by David Lightman, where he points out, and rightly criticizes, voters’ willingness to overlook scandals and ethical crimes. He cites Eliot Spitzer, the married creep who cheated on his wife with hookers, and is now running for office — with a sizable lead in the polls — in New York. Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton are also mentioned. Clinton didn’t just commit adultery, he was accused of rape by multiple women. Gingrich cheated on his cancer stricken wife, divorced her, married his mistress, cheated on her, then married his new mistress. Newt still garnered support during the Republican primary, and Clinton is still a Democrat darling.

I guess it’s true then, we are willing to forgive scandals and move on.

Or maybe not. Todd Akin lost reelection and will never hold any office ever again because of a few controversial comments he made on the subject of abortion. Ben Carson, a brilliant medical pioneer and a rags-to-riches hero who saved the lives of countless children, probably shot his chances of making a serious run for president because of one politically incorrect sentence he uttered about gay marriage. I could venture outside the political realm and come up with an extensive list of people who have been given a metaphorical death sentence by the court of public opinion for “crimes” they committed, and apologized for, repeatedly and profusely. So, ‘forgiving’ and ‘willing to move on’? Not quite.

We will ruthlessly condemn and ostracize someone for their scandalous activities, it’s just that we have our own definition of what constitutes “scandalous.” Nowadays, the worst thing you can do is simply speak a word or verbalize a thought that falls outside of acceptable mainstream views. This is the solitary scandal we recognize, and we will exact eternal vengeance on anyone who commits it. Infidelity, on the other hand, isn’t “forgiven” because our culture doesn’t see it as any sort of significant failure of judgement or character in the first place. The marital union is soluble and conditional, marriage vows are negotiable and tenuous, divorce is routine, and adultery is inevitable. That’s the way we see it.

Of course, as usual, we are wrong. Allow me to state something provocative and controversial: Adultery is a horrible thing. Adultery is the betrayal of THE MOST IMPORTANT promise you will ever make. You could save a puppy from a burning building, buy a diamond necklace for your wife, help an old lady across the street, and discover a cure for skin cancer, but you are still a person of weak character and little integrity if you did all of these things on the way home from a liaison with your girlfriend. I would never vote for an adulterer. It’s got nothing to do with forgiveness. It’s not up to me to forgive a man for cheating on his wife. His wife has to struggle with that — and she will, for the rest of her life. This is a burden, an anger and a penetrating sadness that her husband has hoisted on her, and it will never go away. I wouldn’t vote for him simply because he can’t be trusted. I still believe in trying to elect people with integrity and virtue. An adulterer has already looked into the eyes of his spouse and lied, probably hundreds of times, so how could I ever have any faith that he won’t look into a camera and lie to the faceless masses? Your marriage vow is more important than the vow you take for elected office. If you broke one, you’re a high risk to break the other.

People who have dealt with cheaters tell me that there is no such thing as a “one time thing.” The actual act of adultery comes after a long succession of emotional and spiritual betrayals. Then, once “it” happens, the likelihood of a repeat offense is unfortunately quite high. I don’t need a man in office if he would devastate his wife and trample on his children’s trust, all for a cheap fling. What else is he capable of? What superficial incentive would need to be offered to coax him into betraying his elected position and his country? By the way, I don’t mean to pick on men here. Women cheat, too. I’m just not aware of many known cases of female politicians getting caught up in this sort of thing.

The people who downplay the significance of infidelity only reveal something about themselves. It seems that a week can’t go by without someone writing an enlightening blog or editorial about how monogamy is unrealistic and cheating is unavoidable. People who say this are speaking for themselves, and their spouses or future spouses should take note. Marriage can be challenging, and fidelity is something that happens actively — rather than passively — but it’s entirely achievable if you aren’t a pathological liar and a weak willed coward.

So maybe I’m alone in this, but I’ll gladly vote for someone who has committed the crime of saying unpopular things. But I wouldn’t cast a ballot for anyone who lacks the basic discipline and moral character to stay faithful to the person to whom they’ve sworn fidelity before God.

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29 Responses to Don’t worry, it’s just adultery

  1. Miriam Moore says:

    What a beautiful blog today!! Wish all the cheaters are able to read it. I will post it on my wall

  2. Mariah Jade says:

    very good, sir. I have a hard time understanding why you are so unpopular given that you speak the truth. *shrugs

  3. lissakay says:

    Newt Gingrich, after some years, became a follower of Christ. He says he has repented of his sins, including his infidelity, and to public knowledge, has remained faithful to Christ and his wife. On the other hand, John Edwards, who also cheated on his cancer stricken wife, first denied, then relied on numerous others to cover his misdeeds, and when the child of that affair became known to be his, finally admitted it, but expressed no remorse, sorrow or apology.

    Politics aside, is your opinion of each man the same, or different?

  4. Suzie hayward says:

    I totally agree Matt.I can’t understand how people can trust someone with such a lack of integrity and commitment . Someone told me once ‘ all men are the same and they will cheat ‘ They are not all the same and there are plenty of faithfully loving husbands out there .
    It seems we are firmly entrenched in a society that accepts all kinds of perversions as normal , and people who believe it is wrong are called biggots! And – those accusers can get away with that!

  5. Jeff says:

    A friend of mine on Facebook posted this link to your blog, and I just had to comment to let you know that I have thought this *exact* same thought many, many times before. Any politician that cheats should at least have the decency to resign and never run for public office again. And it’s just like you said: if they can look into their spouse’s eyes and straight up lie to them, the person that they swore to love, honor and cherish, then why should I trust them to follow through on any campaign promise? If it’s easy for them to lie to their spouse and family, the people that should matter most in their lives, how much easier would it be to lie to Joe and Jane Voter?

    The problem with all of those politicians you mentioned in your post is (and this is strictly my opinion) that they are all narcissists addicted to the sound of their own voices and the power the political office provides. And being narcissists, they don’t care about the people they hurt in their lives. They only care about what they want.

  6. Mr. G says:

    You’re not alone, I am with you Matt. BTW Here is an example of a female politician committing adultry recently: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2011/12/17/mn-state-senate-gop-leader-resigns-over-alleged-inappropriate-relationship/

  7. Margie says:

    Matt, I couldn’t agree with you more. I had this conversation with my mother today. We are both perplexed that Sanford won his seat back and amazed that Weiner and Spitzer are doing so well in the polls. How is this possible? Why would people vote for someone who obviously has no moral character? My mom and I reached the same conclusion that you did, that people now seem more concerned with non-PC “words” than they do with adultery, promiscuity, and lying. It is beyond bizarre!

  8. TwoPoxGhost says:

    Love it. I feel the same way.

  9. carol_gaunt@yahoo.com says:

    Thank you. I value your opinion. Please continue to keep the focus on the real issues.

    Sent from my iPad

  10. Wayne Zasada says:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 With that being said I guess you’ll never be voting. I’d say that 100% of the people in this world has committed adultery. One of God’s greatest and most faithful servants, David, was a known adulterer. I understand what you’re saying about it and how easily people dismiss it, but like many other immoral acts, it’s all about the heart and recognizing as an individual the sin you’ve committed. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Recognize, repent and ask for forgiveness.

  11. Yes, Wayne, we are all sinners. But there is a difference between forgiving and extending grace, and purposefully voting said person into a place of authority into an environment where the character of that person will be repeatedly tested in an area where he is known to be weak. There are, for example, requirements listed in the Epistles for levels of character for church officials. The same applies here. If they repent and prove they have matured in the public arena, they can be considered again for positions of authority.

  12. Milly Thomas says:

    I stand with you on this one, Matt! Thxx for saying it loud and clear!

  13. Sisha Fierce says:

    You say you’d never vote for an adulterer, so do you check your contender’s porn habit? Porn is adultery with all kinds of studies that show how it ruins a marriage and trust. Statistically speaking- chances are you vote for an adulterer every time you vote.

  14. Syneeda says:

    Matt,
    I came across your blog on a friend’s facebook status post, and I must say, you really hit to the core on issues that the average person would declare too sensitive to talk about.

    After reading this particular post, I wanted to remind you that our elected politicians are not the only federal employees who are lying to the public and cheating on their wives.

    Senior military officers are held to a higher moral standard, and they entrusted to protect the lives and safety of American citizens as wells as trillions of dollars in tax payers earnings. Yet they are just as scandalous as our politicians and they are never punished for their acts of infidelity, committing fraud against taxpayers and are allowed to retire from the Armed Forces, in most cases, with full pension benefits and are later offered a lucrative contract with a major defense contractor to serve as a senior consultant advisor.

    Case in point:
    Retired Army General David Petraeus, former CIA director, recently admitted to having an affair with his mistress Paula Broadwell. Paula, who was also married at the time of their affair, is a military reserve officer. Neither party was prosecuted.

    Former NASA astronaut, Captain Lisa Nowak, drove cross country in a diaper to “allegedly” abduct her lover’s new girlfriend. Lisa was demoted one grade and was allowed to retire from the Navy.

    Retired Admiral John Stufflebeem bragged about sleeping with his mistress in the duty bunkroom inside the White House when he was midgrade officer and was never prosecuted. He was allowed to retire from the Navy and is now working as a senior consultant for the DoD.

    Retired lt. commander Rebecca Dickinson was a Navy ethics officer (by day) and a call girl (by night); she worked for the late D.C. Madam, Deborah Palfrey. Dickinson was never prosecuted and was offered immunity to testify against her former boss. She was allowed to retire in grade with full pension benefits.

    The list goes on.

    Meanwhile, several years ago, I became the first and only “non-married” military officer to be charged, convicted and sentenced to serve 45 days in prison for alleged adultery. The married husband in this case (also a military officer) was never charged or prosecuted. He was awarded a commendation medal, promoted to the next grade and I believe he is still serving on active duty. You can read about my case here:
    http://www.navytimes.com/article/20080608/NEWS/806080311/The-case-Lt-Cmdr-Syneeda-Penland.

    After I reported my bosses to the Department of Justice, for committing fraud against American taxpayers, I was ordered to be discharged from the Navy without my retirement pension. I was 6 months shy of my 20 year retirement eligibility.

    After my horrific experience for being punished for what is considered as one of the many “spoils of war”; which dates back for centuries (adultery), I was diagnosed with an incurable blood disorder and I’m required to take chemotherapy medication for the rest of my life.

    As a survivor of one of the most egregious forms of military workplace abuse, I now advocate for other victims of civil and human rights violations. Each day I pray that they will never have to experience the same degree of pain and suffering I endured while volunteering to serve our country.

    Thank you for bringing other cases of infidelity to light and thank you for touching our souls with your version of the “TRUTH”!

  15. Lace says:

    I SERIOUSLY LOVE THIS BLOG. Every article says almost exactly what is on my mind. This country is so ass-backwards that I want to throw my hands up, hop on a plane, go to a desert island live in a cave somewhere far away from the idiocy I have to hear about and put up with every. single. day.

    Just.. thank you so much for all of your blog posts. This gives me hope that there are still plenty of sane people in this once great nation.

  16. jean1145 says:

    As someone who has been on the flip side of the cheating coin I can only say I agree wholeheartedly. It is truly a wound one carries with them for the rest of their days inflicted by someone whom obviously should have never been trusted in the first place.

  17. Jon says:

    I am someone who is guilty of this horrible sin of adultery. I am terribly sorry for the pain I caused and the trust I have broken. When I cheated on my marriage and broke the covenant that I made I was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol not to mention completely under the control of Legion, many demons. I have since had a conversion to Catholicism and seen the error of my ways. A true conversion to where my old self had to completely die. No alcohol,drugs and old friends or behaviors of the past what so ever. So I am working on 3,years of being sober earning the trust that I don’t really deserve, but giving my life to God and letting him work through me sharing my story with anyone who will listen. We all fall, some further than others but we all are given a cross to carry. There is always hope in Jesus Christ and his grace is enough for me. I encourage you all to maybe look at these adulterers and maybe see past the sin and love the sinner. We don’t know what everyone is going through or where they are at in their life but one thing is sure that God has a plan for each one of us. We may not see it but it is there and in his time we will understand.

    • Margie says:

      There is ALWAYS forgiveness in Christ Jesus!

    • katyj94 says:

      You’re right, but I kind of have to wonder if the point being made here is not so much the adultery as the trivializing of betrayed trust and the continuation of that betrayal. I am a child of a divorced home, because my father cheated on mom. Thanks to the state laws where I live, she waited through the two years of separation and prayed constantly that my father would come back and repent to God. I can say that we, my mom and three younger siblings, have forgiven him for his affair. It was his refusal to bend his knee before God and the resulting sins and the pain caused by these things that is the struggle to forgive, everyday, when I face the consequences of his actions in an extremely real way.
      That being said, my point is simple. There’s a difference between a man (or woman) who has broken vows and trusts placed in them and made by them and who continues in their self destructive habits, and a person who has broken trusts and vows and repents. Pride is the driving force here. So long as a person refuses to admit they’re in the wrong and thus admits that they’re not perfect, and humble themselves in some way/shape/form, they’re still caught in the vicious, destructive behaviors. All sins are equal in the eyes of our God, and although he offers enough mercy and grace for each person, I believe that a continuation of those sins and a lack of repentance separates those who will not yield from those who repent.

  18. Lara says:

    Whenever someone said that Clinton’s adultery should be no big deal because it was “just sex,” my thought always was that that makes it worse. If he’s willing to commit perjury to cover up something that was “just sex,” what lies might he be willing to tell to cover up something actually important?

  19. Sasha Johns says:

    I agree with everything you say with one caveat. I would vote for someone who repaired his marriage after the scandal. Someone who took time and years to rectify and restore and confess and own the damage he’d done. But I would not vote for them until they were years past the scandal when time has backed up his or her actions. There are so few that do this though. So few.

  20. Andrew says:

    Personally I think you should get all your “wild oat sowing” done before you get married, after all that’s what playing the field for both sexes is all about eh! When you get married though all that gets put to one side and you make a commitment – repeat commitment to be faithful to one another. If you can’t commit – don’t get married – stay single!
    if you cant be trusted to remain faithful and committed to your spouse/partner – how can you do the same holding public office? How can anyone trust you to be truthful about anything?

  21. Russell Allison says:

    As a Forensic psychologist and a Christian counselor (both fully licensed in the state of Texas)explained: Infidelity is a symptom, rarely the problem. A person suffering from lung cancer will not usually walk into the doctors office knowing they have lung cancer; that person walks in with a persistent cough and an evaluation based on that symptom reveals the cancer. Infidelity is the cough. To the person with cancer, the cough was a blessing.

    Both of the aforementioned mental health professionals also counsel their clients that if both parties to the affected relationship cannot sit down and fill at least one page of a yellow legal pad with their respective contributions to the illness affecting their relationship they are likely to repeat those mistakes and doom future relationships. The biblical view of adultery has doomed too many people to stopping short of the rigorous and honest assessment of their relationships.

    So, when you call me to help find out who your husband or wife is cheating with (I’m a private investigator) be willing to ask yourself the question: Am I ready to see what of my actions contributed to this issue and commit to a change that will make my relationship stronger? If the answer is “no”-save the money on my services and go straight to the attorney…and, keep his number, you’ll be needing that person again.

  22. Leonard Tucker says:

    Russell, ever since the first sin in the garden of Eden humans have attempted to pass the buck, so to speak, when it comes to who is responsible for the sin for which they are guilty. When Adam and Eve sinned and God asked them about it they both attempted to pass the buck.Gen 3:12 The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Then Eve said. The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. People today have the same fallen human nature and want to pass the buck and blame someone else for their lack of moral character. Adultery is about selfishness. If you are in a relationship for what you can get, rather than what you can give you will likely see the relationship fail when your spouse fails to meet up to your expectations. But, when you love your spouse and are in the relationship for what you can give, you will love your spouse unconditionally. If your spouse fails to meet up to your expectations you will have compassion and recognize that you are not perfect either. It takes work to make a marriage hold together. Many people today are too selfish to make firm commitment it takes to make it work no matter what. I love my wife and divorce and adultery and divorce is not an option period. We have had our difficulties. But, we pray harder and work harder to make it work.

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  24. Bruce says:

    Yes agreed that adultery is the worst ( excepting murder/abortion ) and I vote character as well, but he/she can be forgiven.

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