“Why We Cheat”

Sometimes, I succumb to the urge to click on random headlines that catch my interest. In this case, I think I was really hoping for more of a scientific answer, but found that the article was based on a survey of European men. Their top three reasons for cheating:

  1. “She was sexy.”
  2. “My partner has been distant.”
  3. “My partner isn’t fulfilling my physical needs.”

Generally, I would have clicked away at this point, because I figure it’s fairly common knowledge that violating marriage covenants is based in selfishness and pride. A rant on the subject wouldn’t do much good.

But, I’ve been in a highly reflective state of mind for the past few weeks. While I realize that I may have to carry the wounds and scars of abuse to my grave, it doesn’t stop me from pursuing healing as I can. So, along with fasting and praying, I spend a lot of time analyzing what is going on inside my heart and mind.

I think that’s how I was able to make the connection.

Bringing the Survey Home

Hopefully, I will never stray from my marriage covenants. I would never want to wound my husband that deeply.

But, many times in the scriptures, the people of the Lord, the church — if you will, are compared to the bride of Christ. The ancient Israelites were chastized harshly and accused of selling themselves as harlots when they cozied up to other nations and their idols.

So, in a highly symbolic way, my baptism was a sort of marriage — the point when I decided to bind myself to Christ permanently and irrevocably with a covenant at least as strong as the marriage covenant.

Which means, I now have to ask myself — am I a cheater? Let’s look back at those reasons given in the survey:

  1. “She was sexy.” Do my favorite sins and weaknesses still look better to me than being exactly obedient to the commandments of God? Do I long for the “fun” of crossing boundaries? Do I justify watching TV as Sunday family time, when I could be reading scriptures, sharing stories from family history, or doing some other spiritually uplifting activity with my family? Do I let my eyes wander to the glitter of temporal things — body shape and size, clothing and fashion, fame, or and/or power — and feel that what the Lord has provided for me isn’t as enticing? Remember, looking at a “woman” (or in this case, the pleasures found in seeking the things of this world) with lustful intent is condemned as adultery in the New Testamnent.
  2. “My partner wasn’t meeting my physical/emotional needs.” I think I tend toward this thought pattern when I am facing trials. I tend to do ok as long as it’s a big, scary trial — I recognize how much I need divine assistance — but I tend to throw pity parties and tell myself I’m entitled to more when the “pinpricks” of life drag me down: feeling like I’m always cleaning up behind my husband, feeling like the Lord asks way more of me than he does of others, etc. It’s then that I start fantasizing about “taking a break” from being a disciple and just “resting.” In essence, I’m saying that the Lord isn’t meeting my needs. Sadly, the perspective that I am being put upon is false, and so is the notion that taking a break from gospel living would be restful. Our only true rest is in the peace that Christ gives. Again, the New Testament tells us that God supplies all of my needs according to his riches and the grace of our Savior, Christ Jesus.

So, it looks like I’m not necessarily as loyal and true as I would like to be. Fortunately, there is always forgiveness, guidance, and assistance for those who are truly willing to turn to Christ and follow where he leads.