What does marital infidelity say about one’s character? It says everything we need to know about it. Most every study regarding drug abuse, crime, violence, homelessness and poverty suggest that a common factor is the leading cause for all of them: the breakup of the family. Furthermore, studies regarding the breakup of the family show that marital infidelity, or adultery, is present in the majority of those marriages which end in divorce. Families are in deep trouble and it is only getting worse day by day.
Does it help children to learn about commitment and trust when their mom and dad show the opposite to each other by breaking the commitments of marriage and betraying its trust? Obviously not! What has gone wrong with society?
In most every wedding ceremony both the man and the woman made vows which went something like this: Do you take this man or woman to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health? Do you promise your undying love and life-long devotion? Do you promise to honor and cherish? Forsaking all others, will you keep yourself for this one and this one only until death do you part? If you are married, do you remember taking a vow similar to that one? Do you remember answering something like “I do” to the questions? Marriage is a lifelong commitment! It is a solemn promise to your spouse and to God. To betray it would make a person a liar.
Breaking that commitment of fidelity in adultery not only makes one a liar to the spouse and the people before whom the promise was made at the wedding, but also before God. He was a witness to the promise as well. God demands that vows made before him must be kept. “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth ” (Num. 30:2).
Regarding the commitment of marriage, does God really expect and demand lifelong fidelity? His word is plain concerning the matter: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).
Adultery is not a trivial matter! It shows a terrible problem in one’s character regarding a betrayal of one’s spouse and one’s commitment to the God of heaven. In simple words, an adulterer is a liar and lying reveals a serious problem in one’s character. It has tragic and far reaching consequences. We must not view adultery as a thing to be taken lightly or something about which we laugh. Marriage and divorce is not even similar to dating and then breaking up. Dating is not sanctified by God. What God joins together in holy matrimony let not anyone put asunder (Mk 10:9)!
God never meant for the home to be a place of heartache and sorrow ultimately destined to destruction. He meant it to be a place filled with joy and security. How can we build the kind of families God designed and avoid the tragedy of broken homes so common in our time?
Marriage must be built upon love and not lust. Not merely a love of mutual attraction and “chemistry,” but a love which is deeper, seeking the best for the other. The love God says ought to exist in a joyful home is one that is selfless. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25). That love must mean more to the husband than all he owns (Sol 8:7). He must never leave that love to engage in adultery (Prov. 5:15-20). In short, he finds the ultimate joy in providing for the happiness of his wife. The kind of love God instructs for marriage is one that can be taught (Tit. 2:4). It is just such a love that causes the wife to seek the happiness of her husband (Eph. 5:24). This kind of wife is pictured in Proverbs 31:10-31.
Where love exists between a husband and wife, it will extend towards the children as well. Where that love is absent, children will also be deprived of the love God intended. When the husband and wife do not have the proper love for one another, the stage is set for multiple problems. Children learn about love from their parents. When love is not present in the home, the children will grow to imitate the same lack of love in their homes.Therefore each generation shall get worse and worse (2 Tim 3:13).
God must be respected in the home for it to be complete. In the words of the psalmist David, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psa. 127:1). The joint effort to serve God provides the direction and avenue for the family to work together throughout life. As the wise man of old said, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole of man” (Eccl. 12:13). God designed us as creatures who should reverently serve him. When that central purpose of man is overlooked, it leaves one without the proper foundation for all aspects of life.
Today’s society has denied these two important components to successful families. Instead of selfless love for another, the selfish attitude has prevailed. Instead of jointly serving God, people have increasingly denied God the rightful place as Lord and Master of their family. When men and women break their marriage vows and the marriage is ended, then they proceed to destroy the lives of others. This happens because whoever marries such vow breakers also commits adultery (Mt 5:32 cf; 19:9). It is self evident that God does not sanctify an adulterous marriage (Heb 13:4). If we want God in our schools, in our government, and in our society at-large, we must first place God back in our homes. This begins when we keep those original vows we made before God, “Till Death Do Us Part!”