FIDELITY to the marriage vow is not only a necessary moral responsibility; it is a basic ingredient for a solidly based and satisfying marriage relationship. But what does one do when faithfulness is challenged?
Recently my husband and I saw an old television movie that had a marvelous story of a single woman who was thrown into close daily contact with a married man. The two individuals grew to appreciate greatly the qualities and strengths of each other. Soon, however, they realized that there was a growing attraction that would lead to no good. This predicament is perhaps not uncommon, but the choices made by the characters in this movie were so refreshing and honorable that it caught our attention.
Once both characters realized the depth of affection they felt for each other, they backed off in their contacts. The audience, however, was not made to feel that this was some desperate martyrdom. Rather, the stand for goodness, honor, purity, and dominion over personal attraction gave an insight into a grander, deeper sense of true manhood and womanhood. We felt they embodied the deep peace and quiet joy referred to in the book of Isaiah: ``And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect o f righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." This spiritually based peace is available to each of us today as we, too, individually uphold our marriage commitment.
Even an individual who has been tempted to look outside his or her marriage for satisfaction and has not yet overcome this mesmeric distraction has a choice--a choice that can be made now. The Bible challenges in Joshua: ``Choose you this day whom ye will serve." Either we serve good or we serve evil. In his Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, Christ Jesus strongly rebukes adultery and tells us that we must cultivate the spiritual treasures of righteousness.
Speaking of marriage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: ``Let not mortals permit a disregard of law which might lead to a worse state of society than now exists. Honesty and virtue ensure the stability of the marriage covenant." It is never too late for reformation. And when we make the choice to be faithful and to uphold righteousness, God helps us to be obedient to His law.
God is not some far-off being who intervenes in human affairs. God is divine Principle--all true goodness--and is the source of all true happiness. He loves us dearly as His spiritual reflection, man. He is willing and able to help us and to save us with His love. His love is all-powerful. And God's man, the offspring of His nature, loves righteousness. He appreciates Principle and its demands. He loves the way it feels in his heart to be good and honest and pure. He is not comfortable with deception or infidelity. This man of God's creating is the true, spiritual selfhood of you and of me.
Just as light naturally dispels darkness, so we each, through demonstrating our love for the spiritual standards of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, can overcome the temptations that arise in our lives. Righteousness--living rightly--is the foundation and backbone of every worthwhile relationship. As we uphold righteousness with all our heart, we have the armies of heaven behind us, helping us to stand for purity. This is not a depressing or demoralizing campaign. It is a triumphant, fre eing action. Love of principled conduct can prove to be an invigorating, vitalizing, redeeming power.
Day by day, as we endeavor to be faithful in every aspect of our marriage, we discover that it is really faithfulness to the laws of God that we are embracing, instead of simply faithfulness to a particular individual. Wandering thoughts of deception, distraction, or infidelity are not really our thoughts at all. And as we see that these thoughts are an imposition, we can reject them because we are the satisfied, complete, righteous child of God.As one earnestly chooses righteousness over unrighteousness , not only will he or she find freedom from false attraction, but his own marriage will reflect more of the beautiful depth of spiritually based peace, overflowing with tenderness and joy and ``quietness and assurance for ever."
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. . . . Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. . . . Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . . Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:1, 2, 21, 22, 25, 33