Recently, I read a thought-provoking article by Joy and Gary Lundberg: 10 ways you are being unfaithful to your spouse — and you don’t even know it. The entire piece can be found on the FamilyShare.com website. An old friend posted a link to it on Facebook and my interest was piqued. I am being unfaithful and I don’t know it?? However, according to the Lundbergs, if you are married and doing any of the following behaviors, you are actually being unfaithful:
2) Confiding in the opposite gender
3) Spending time alone with someone else
4) Talking negatively about your mate
5) Chatting on the Internet with someone of the opposite sex
6) Dressing to attract the interest of someone other than your spouse
7) Writing personal intimate notes or letters to someone else
8) Not being a willing sexual partner with your spouse
9) Putting your parents before your spouse
10) Putting your children before your spouse
First, let’s look at the concept of being unfaithful. A dictionary defines unfaithful as 1) not being true to your word, your vows. 2) being disloyal, unsteady, untrustworthy. To me, being unfaithful is conscious deception – either by deliberately giving untrue and misleading information or by omitting significant information under a thin rationalization. It’s saying one thing and doing another. So logically, to be faithful, I would consistently match my agreements and promises with my actions.
In the list above, I think that a few of the points the authors make are relatively clear, reasonable, and just common sense (specifically 6, 7, 9, and 10). Others (like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8)… well… they seem rather narrow, simplistic, overly fear-based, and/or sort of juvenile.
The whole article reminds me of the conversation in the movie, When Harry Met Sally where Billy Crystal’s character and Meg Ryan’s character have a clear difference of opinion as to whether it is possible for men and women (again, heterosexual focus) to truly be friends. Clearly, the Lundbergs agree with Billy Crystal’s character that men and women definitely cannot be friends because sexual tension is always present and will get in the way of a pure friendship.
So, my intention for the next few blog posts is to explore: a) what in the Lundberg’s list makes sense and why, b) what in the list is problematic in application and/or audience (and why), and c) what I believe might be a more inclusive and comprehensive list.