As I watched a harried mother come into the store trailed by her young children, she looked back and instructed them: “Don’t do anything stupid!” What good advice for all of us. One of the stupidest things any married adult can do is to be unfaithful to his/her spouse.
To some the idea of complete fidelity in marriage seems archaic and demanding of an impossibly high standard. No wonder, when not a few national leaders and celebrities are known adulterers and when so many movies, t.v. shows, and other forms of “entertainment” feature characters with the morals of stray cats. The highest movie and drama prizes are often awarded for productions that no responsible parent would ever permit their children to see. They evidence that the moral sense of the award givers is as putrid as the award recipients’.
Fidelity in marriage is not based on outdated cultural norms. It is based on religious principles and on biology. Unlike stray cats, human children require years to mature. Moreover, unlike cats, human children have a marvelous ability to be taught behaviors rather than to be guided only by animal instinct. Constant adult care is necessary during a child’s long period of growth and development. The mother is the ideal person to provide such care because she has an unmatched biological and emotional affinity with the child. The Chinese language states this truth more succinctly than any other language. The Chinese character for “good” is a picture of a woman with a child. Their very concept of “good” goes back to that most special and precious of relationships. The Chinese character for “peace” is a woman in a home. That is where, if anywhere, you will find peace.
With a dedicated mother’s focus on her children, there is a need for some other adult to provide the security and financial means needed by the family. That is the role of the father. Every woman undertaking to bear children knows, down even at the DNA level, that to best perform her role as mother she will need dependable and loving support from another adult—lasting for decades. A special relationship should be created between potential fathers and mothers before children can be best welcomed and cared for. It is called “Marriage.” Marriage is not intended to be a societal seal of approval for sexual relations. It is intended to create a special and protected environment for rearing children.
When women are unable to rely on the commitment of their husbands, the risk of bearing children becomes huge. It forces the mother to fill the father’s role. If the mother must fill the father’s role, who will fill the mother’s? Rampant divorce in America wrecks families because it destroys the long lasting environment of commitment and dependence that are so important for raising children. The state, through child support and welfare, can provide some economic help for a single mother but it is a hopelessly inadequate substitute for a good father.
This is why marriage ceremonies demand a promise “until death do us part” and through “better or worse.” It is only such a life-long commitment that will meet the needs of the children to be born. Compared to marriage vows, what promise will anyone ever make that is more solemn or which others will rely on more heavily? What could an adulterous person do to cause more heartbreak and harm to his or her family? Adulterers certainly can’t make any new promises more binding than the ones they have failed to keep. It is possible to redeem broken trust, but it is most difficult and no person acting rationally would choose that rocky road.
Children need two faithful, loving parents. It is pitiful that we live in a society where this self-evident truth is so often ignored. Infidelity violates the trust, in the worst way, upon which marriage and families are based. Anyone even contemplating such a miserable violation of their most sacred and binding promises should remember, “Don’t do anything stupid!” So many will suffer—including you—if you do.
Many of the fundamental problems facing our society—which create an overwhelming burden for government—are the direct result of dysfunctional families. The root cause of many dysfunctional families is infidelity. As a society we need to strengthen families. Governments are incapable of healing the evils caused by infidelity. We need to honor and emulate those who keep marriage covenants.