In last weeks post I stated that there are three areas of a relationship that are not open to negotiation in terms of best-efforts always being put forth by both partners. Certainly we are all human and make mistakes, and forgiveness (which will be introduced in the part 3 post of this series) is a strengthening and enobling principle. We certainly get to cut each other some slack.
But as I stated last week, no one should have to long endure a lack of basic civility in their marriage. And certainly a pattern of infidelity to relationship vows will always tear at its very heart.
This weeks baseline, Fidelity, would probably show up #1 on most couples list of marriage taboos and be among the hardest betrayals of trust to forgive.
In the music world fidelity means a trueness to real sound, the ability to capture the sound on a recording that we hear in the music hall. In marriage fidelity refers to remaining true to our marriage vows, not only those of physical fidelity, but also those other promises to love and honor, to put no one or no thing above our partner. And that creates beautiful music, indeed.
Fidelity represents the desire to be together and remain loyal to one another.
In our work at LIFE Marriage Retreats we see many couples who have experienced physical or emotional infidelity in their relationship. In virtually every case there is real remorse and regret for the betrayal and a deep desire to seek forgiveness and to forgive, and to strengthen the marriage as they deal with the issue then put it behind them. Time after time we see couples weather the storm and move to higher and happier ground.
If, on the other hand, the commitment to the marriage vows has become so weak that a pattern of infidelities arises and a partner has no intention to be or remain faithful, much of the point of the marriage has been abandoned.
The Tiger Woods situation has raised many questions regarding marriage fidelity and its place in any marriage, whether high profile celebrity or factory worker and homemaker.
I don’t know where Woods is in his attempts to heal himself and his marriage after years of abusing his vows. Perhaps a part of him is still upset at getting caught and just wishing he had been more careful. But if he is in recovery at all, he will eventually come to the day when he says, “Thank God I got caught. Because at that time, I and my character were in free-fall. When I had to admit the problem is when I stopped falling and began the long climb back to being a true man.” We wish him well in that recovery, because indeed, he has been, and taken his family to, a very dark and unhappy place.
It would be difficult to find a better measure for a man or woman than their willingness and ability to stay true to one another and their promises and vows. It is indeed, a baseline.
Stay true. Please stay true.