Nathan Tabor
September 22, 2005
Adultery is killing the American family
By Nathan Tabor

We hear a lot of talk these days about the need to protect and strengthen the traditional American family. Certainly, it is true that the institution of marriage is under attack from every side. But the real threat comes from the multitudes of couples that fail to honor their marriage vows.

Adultery is one of the most terrible "facts of life" in contemporary America. If you watch the daily soap operas on TV many of which are just soft-core pornography you might get the impression that there are more people cheating on their spouses than remaining faithful. And you might be right.

How many people have affairs? That's hard to say because not everybody will answer honestly. But sex therapist Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth," conservatively estimates that about 60 percent of married men and 40 percent of married women will have an affair at some time during their marriage. Maggie Scarf, author of "Intimate Partners," basically agrees.

Since these books were written more than a decade ago, and since more women are leaving the home and entering the workforce, the number of wives having affairs may also have reached the 60 percent range.

Americans have a schizophrenic attitude toward adultery. While 90 percent admit that adultery is morally wrong, according to a Time-CNN poll, 50 percent say that President Bill Clinton's morals are "about the same as the average married man." While 35 percent think that adultery should be a crime, 61 percent think it shouldn't.

Having an affair simply doesn't carry the social stigma that it once did. According to "Playboy" magazine, 2 out of 3 women and 3 out of 4 men have sexual thoughts about their coworkers, and about the same number follow through on those libidinous impulses.

Why do husbands and wives cheat on their spouses? Psychologists cite subjective issues like loss of love and feelings of alienation. Certainly the media pressure of our sex-saturated society is a significant influence. But a major factor is the easy availability of cheap and plentiful Internet pornography.

Statistics show that 25 percent of all Internet search engine requests are related to pornography. According to the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, "approximately 40 million people in the United States are sexually involved with the Internet." And while 76 percent of women feel that phone sex or cyber-sex is the equivalent of committing adultery, only 41 percent of men do.

Dr. Alvin Cooper and MSNBC.com conducted an online poll of 38,000 people, and 10 percent admitted that they were addicted to Internet pornography. What's more, a lot of those Internet sex addicts eventually progress from cyber-sex to real-time sexual affairs.

Some legal professionals estimate that as many as one-third of all divorces may have their roots in Internet porn or online affairs. "If there's dissatisfaction in the existing relationship, the Internet is an easy way for people to scratch the itch," explains J. Lindsey Short, Jr., president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

The pain and suffering caused by adultery is immense, especially for children. They are more likely never to marry, or to later divorce, if they had divorced or cheating parents. After a divorce, many children are unable ever to develop strong, trusting relationships.

There is a direct correlation between the steady decline of morals and values in America and this more accepting contemporary attitude toward adultery. Part of the reason is because most people have forgotten what a marriage really is.

Marriage is more than just a legal status recognized by the state, or even a temporary social contract between two people. True marriage is a solemn covenant relationship between a man, a woman and God. It is a hallowed institution that should be revered, cherished, and preserved.

The act of adultery is childish and selfish, and it hurts everyone involved. It violates at least two of the Ten Commandments: the clear prohibitions against committing adultery and coveting your neighbor's spouse.

If we care about the future of our great nation, we as a people must relearn the virtue and necessity of staying committed to the spouses to whom we are married.

© Nathan Tabor

 

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