All the hoopla about Rep. Anthony Weiner has gotten people (and the media) talking about infidelity and asking themselves “Is Sexting the New Infidelity in the Online Era?” There are numerous articles right now discussing whether sexting even IS infidelity or not, whether it is infidelity to have cybersex, or whether emotional affairs are even real! Yet with all this talk with so-called “experts” spouting psychobabble opinions, one MAJOR thing is missed. Why are we talking about infidelity like this: “How far can I go? What is the boundary so that I can push the limits and then quote this or that ‘expert’ and claim that it not an affair”? When we got married, we made a vow to forsake all others until death parted us, so rather than look at it asking for the maximum you can do before it’s cheating, I challenge you (the reader) to look at it from a new point of view and ask “What is faithfulness? What do I do to be 100% faithful to my spouse?”
Fidelity, according to the American Heritage dictionary, is:
- Faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances.
- Exact correspondence with fact or with a given quality, condition, or event; accuracy.
Of course it doesn’t help that they use the word “faithfulness” in the definition–but we could further say that faithfulness is “devotion to a person or duties: allegiance , constancy , fealty , loyalty.” In other words, fidelity would be “the state of loyalty and devotion to obligations, duties, and observances that are owed to a certain person (namely your spouse).
In addition, there are several Bible verses that can help us get a grasp on what faithfulness means:
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness
Psalm 36:5 and Psalm 57:10 and Psalm 108:4
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
I realize these are all Old Testament references but I think we can get the concept: namely that faithfulness is following through with a commitment regardless of difficulty. It is over a long time, and it is based on a conscious decision to BE loyal and devoted to a promise. If we are married people, the promise we would be loyal and devoted to is our marriage vows.
Soooo most marriage vows do promise the “…forsaking all others” part in there somewhere as well as the “…as long as we both shall live” part. Most marriage vows I know of do not say something like “…forsaking all others until I get bored or until someone more interesting comes along” nor do they say “…as long as you continue to have sex whether I’m romantic or not.” Thus fidelity is a DECISION. Like love, it is a choice you make and then act on. You CHOOSE to be faithful. And to make it easy, I have a 2-second definition of faithfulness that you can memorize:
Giving 100% of your affection and loyalty to only your spouse.
So rather than asking if it is cheating to have a guy or girl “friend” on Facebook, ask yourself this: Are you more loyal to keeping that friend then you are to your spouse? Then it’s infidelity. And rather than asking if sexting is an affair, ask yourself this: When I’m sexting am I giving 100% of my affection to my spouse or am I sharing at least some of it with someone else? When I’m sexting am I giving 100% of my sexual loyalty to my spouse? If not, then it’s infidelity!