Staying free from infidelity
`ARE you faithful, Darling?'' was the title of a magazine article I read. What was eye-catching was the drawing of three plastic figurines on a wedding cake. Where normally there are only two people -- husband and wife -- there stood an extra man. In the drawing on the next page the wedding cake had collapsed and the figurines were toppling in every direction. This vividly illustrated the harm that infidelity does to a marriage. Sometimes, influenced by films or novels, we may think of infidelity as an adventure or the fulfillment of a long-sought love or an escape from unhappiness in marriage. But even when adultery seems justifiable, it puts a person in the position of breaking promises, using deceit, and giving in to sensualism.
Adultery is wrong because it breaks the law of God. God's law was spelled out by Moses in the Ten Commandments. ``Thou shalt not commit adultery''1 is one of them. Committing adultery goes against the way God has created man. Our true, spiritual selfhood is the pure expression of God, of divine Spirit. Underlying adultery is the belief that man is a mere creature of the flesh who must pursue happiness and satisfaction through the material senses instead of through a higher, spiritual sense of life.
Of course, sometimes what the material senses present to us in the form of physical desire may not be easy to resist. But we can resist as we come to see that divine law supports our efforts and that genuine satisfaction comes only through obedience to that law.
If we feel as though we just don't have the moral strength or desire to turn away from infidelity, Christ, the healing and saving Truth, can rescue us. The Christ, which Jesus so fully embodied, is always present as the Saviour, revealing to us the integrity and goodness of our real, spiritual nature. Even if we are deeply involved in infidelity, Christ can restore our conscience and our ability to do right.
To be regenerated by Christ is not necessarily an effortless process if we have to give up stubborn traits such as selfishness. Although we might battle to stay free from infidelity, we do have a help in the teachings of the Bible.
For example, Christ Jesus taught his disciples, ``Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.''2 Jesus went straight to what needs primary attention -- our thoughts. As the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Sin and disease must be thought before they can be manifested. You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second. Jesus declared that to look with desire on forbidden objects was to break a moral precept. He laid great stress on the action of the human mind, unseen to the senses.''3
Infidelity is always preceded by unfaithful thoughts, and these are what need to be removed from our lives if we're to find genuine, lasting happiness. As challenging as the circumstances of our marriage (or the circumstances of being single) may be, it's really what we're permitting ourselves to think, either consciously or ignorantly, that leads to adultery -- not the circumstances themselves. This is not to suggest, of course, that we simply endure evil but that we find our freedom from it, not in disobedience to the moral law but through turning to the one God for help.
We are not helpless victims of dissatisfaction or sensualism. Because our true nature is Godlike, we can gain dominion over the belief that we are at the mercy of moral weakness or emotionalism.
Harmful, sinful thoughts are products of the carnal, or mortal, mind. They don't really belong to us, because they don't originate in the one, infinite divine Mind, the only true Mind of man. God's man -- our actual selfhood -- is not a physical creature with a private mind looking for love; he already has the wisdom, love, and satisfaction inherent in God's child. And we can prove something of this spiritual reality right now in our own lives.
Staying true to the promises of wedlock brings it's own feeling of worth and happiness. Even though a good marriage is a wonderful thing, happiness does not simply originate in another person. It comes from within. It is the result of our own expression of divine Love. The love we express that is devoted, caring, selfless, and pure is testimony to our real, spiritual identity. It's evidence of something greater -- of immortal Love, God. When this Christly, unselfish love becomes part of the fabric of our thoughts, infidelity is no longer a temptation to us. It becomes natural to be faithful in our marriage and in all our relationships.
1Exodus 20:14. 2Matthew 5:27, 28. 3Science and Health, p. 234.