Fidelity to Marriage

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In honor of Fidelity Month, here is the 2nd article in the series.  This week is Fidelity to Marriage.  It is written by Loren Marks and David Dollahite.

A close friend (a younger male professor at another university) has permitted us to share this opening story anonymously:  The strikingly attractive female student entered my office, closed the door behind her, and then moved far too close to me, almost pinning me against my desk. She put her lips inches from my face and gave me a “kiss me” look. Several seconds passed. The young beauty stepped back and paused for several more seconds. She then said, “My Dad just left my Mom for a younger woman. I had to find out if all men are like him or if there is still hope.”

Much has been written about the swelling “faith crisis” and “The Rise of the Nones”—a loss of religious faith, particularly among emerging adults. But there is another faith crisis among those coming of age that may be just as vital to address:  Can an imperfect wife and an imperfect husband be faithful to each other? Is it possible to obtain, maintain, protect, and polish the elusive gem of complete marital fidelity across time?

Fidelity hails from the Latin fidelis, meaning “faithful, loyal, and trustworthy,” but for a growing number, the notion of complete marital fidelity is becoming as archaic as its Latin root. Twenty-two years ago, a 2001 Gallup poll found that about 90% of Americans considered marital affairs “morally wrong.” However, a recent (2022) report by Survey Center on American Life indicates that only 66% of Americans say it is always morally wrong for a man to have an affair, while just over half (55%) say it is always morally wrong for a woman. Standards seem to be shifting and sliding precipitously. But not for the majority.

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