As the 'Petraeus scandal' widens with probes and politics, it should also throw a spotlight on the state of marriage.
Before Washington goes off on too many tangents of the “Petraeus scandal” – we shouldn’t forget that this high-level affair is only the latest public example of the state of marriage in America.
Marriage rates have fallen in the past decade even as one public figure after another – John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, to name a few – have had their infidelities revealed. More than 40 percent of people between ages 18 and 29 now see marriage as obsolete.
The extramarital affair of Gen. David Petraeus with his official biographer, Paula Broadwell, stands out even more because of the trust that he earned in the military and national security fields. Yet now trust in his marital fidelity has failed. So his resignation as CIA director was necessary. Why? Because his willingness to privately harm his family could result in his harming others in his official duties.
The general admitted as much in his resignation note: “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization [CIA] such as ours.”
Restoring trust in a marriage after an act of infidelity isn’t easy. Only about a third of couples succeed, most notably Bill and Hillary Clinton. Perhaps David and Holly Petraeus can do so now, given his public act of contrition. The larger task for America after this latest marital shock is to restore trust in marriage itself.