It can be baffling that, sometimes, decades of marriage can dissolve because of a fault in the human character that is as old as man -having sex with persons other than own spouse. This bafflement stem from an honest and complete look at the human mindset, and way of life: the way humans really live, not just the socially accepted norms.
We believe that marriage solves a lot of societal and individual problems (too many to enumerate here), and as such deserves to be defended and protected always, particularly against onslaught from pseudo-purist and jealousy induced culture of intolerance in our society today. Not that anyone here is advocating moral decadence and adultery; far from it, but rather that some of the general intolerance in society can be products of failed marriages, or cause failed marriages -the two can sometimes be somewhat joined at the hip!
Of course infidelity is truly horrible and creates myriad of intractable problems for couples.
But it still is a human problem. Only a very tiny minority would enter into marriage with the intention of cheating on their spouses. Majority of married people had the best intention and committed to their spouses mentally before tying the knot. The reason they fail to keep the commitment is the same reason the earth is far from a heavenly place. It all boils down to the limitations of humans as animals on this planet.
A thorough reflection may even show that a less moralistic but more forgiving and tolerant society is better suited to the human being than a mean, unforgiving and strictly moralistic one. In a weird way, the rate of infidelity-induced divorce in society today speaks more to human hypocrisy, meanspiritedness, and self deceit rather than a genuine sense of indignation -human beings are animals and sex comes from a basic animal instinct. The fact that humans have come this far in evolution to the extent of expecting total sexual commitment and fidelity from one another does not negate that humans are still animals, and will occasionally behave like it.
Marriages are very hard to build particularly these days, and the building does not start from the altar -it starts well before that, when the “boy meets the girl”. After the meeting, what usually follows is a period of delicate examinations, tests, trials, and “games of stratagems” as if in war; all of which hopefully dovetails into a marriage.
The immediate period before walking down the aisle, particularly the terminal stage of the engagement period is the most trying period; it is like walking a minefield of sorts, and each of the lovers must emerge unscathed before finally tying that knot. Depending on the people involved, some of the “scars” from the courtship period can linger, and may show up in the marriage proper; and if not managed well could throw a monkey wrench into the marriage crashing it completely.
An example common occurrence is a situation whereby a soon-to-be-married person may decide to offer a “farewell gift” to that ex lover that he or she decided not to marry. These farewell gifts come in different shades, packages, and specs, ranging from hugs to passionate kisses, to steamy all night sex. The consequence, of course, differs for either party -she get may get impregnated by her ex, while he may impregnate his ex. Depending on the moral rectitude of the parties involved, the girl may decide to pass off her ex’s child as her new husband’s, and the guy may keep mute about his own love child until the real truth shows up -usually uninvited- later in the marriage. In these days of DNA tests the truth will surely come, one way or another.
Considering that people tolerate very bad jobs for decades because of guaranteed income and other benefits, why are people so quick these days to dump years of careful investments in marital relationships? And why does it make sense to dump, for example, a 16 years relationship that only saw 5 years (or less) of actual marriage? Then comes the question that most couples never answer until they are well divorced: Is sex the sum total of what my marriage is worth to me? Really?
Life is life; people cannot un-live what they’ve already lived. What they can do is to try their honest best not to repeat past mistakes. They may succeed, or fail, but the fact that most of the time people don’t set out to hurt their spouses (remember they once loved them so much that they forsook all others to marry them) should be remembered before a couple seeks to separate because of infidelity.
If there is ever a time to show real love of the “seventy times seven” type, it should be in forgiving an erring spouse and providing support and love that can heal the marriage to forestall recurrence of deviance or divorce.
Truly the most reasonable argument for forgiving a wayward spouse should not be because of the impact of the divorce on the kids or any other party; it should rather be that a human being should not miss an opportunity to forgive another, and society at large will be better for it.1