Sometimes it can seem like the world is changing, breaking down, and re-defining what romantic relationships should look like. To the point where committing to one person is now ‘outdated’. I think it’s important to remember why faithfulness and commitment can give us what we really crave from relationships.
My friends all know about my work, and that I’m passionate about equipping people with the tools needed to build healthy, mutually enjoyable, God-centred relationships. So they often send me articles, stats or blogs on romance, relationships, etc.
A while ago I was sent a video where people on a famous chat show were talking about a recent scandal. In a nutshell, two celebrities who were married / in a relationship with other people were pictured kissing each other and cheating on their partners.
Their partners were devastated and upset, and the whole situation was made worse by the fact that the betrayal was so public.
This situation, unfortunately, is not uncommon. But the response from one person on the chat show really surprised me.
This one person was basically saying that it’s fine. If people have desires then they should act on them. It doesn’t matter how much it hurts your partner, betrays their trust, just do it if it feels good.
It’s really surprising that people can have such a disregard for others
The other people on the show clearly didn’t agree. They said it’s dishonest, and it’s cheating, and it clearly hurt their partners who didn’t know about it or expect it. Yet this one person was saying there’s no need for self-control or faithfulness. Just do what you want.
It’s really surprising that people can have such a disregard for others. And argue that being selfish and inwardly focussed at other people’s expense is okay. Even if it’s someone who trusts you, is being faithful and respectful to you, you can just act on your desires.
In other words, go after the new person, the new thing, because that is what you want in that moment.
Car Insurance Doesn’t Help
When talking about this, it may be helpful to use car insurance as an analogy.
I’m always shocked by how car insurance works, because, if you don’t do anything and stay with your current provider and auto-renew, then you end up paying an eye-watering amount. However, if you shop around, change providers, you can get a much better offer.
Faithfulness then becomes a hindrance.
This serves as an example of how we’re conditioned to believe there’s something better out there. So sticking with one provider, sticking with the same thing, becomes the worst option. There is a better option right around the corner.
Moreover, the responsibility doesn’t lie with me. Being faithful and investing my energy isn’t the ‘right’ thing to do. Rather, it’s the world’s responsibility to offer me a better deal.
Now I’m not saying this analogy is the be all and end all of the matter, but it’s an example of how we are conditioned to shift responsibility, and value short-term fixes over long-term faithfulness. This occurs in many areas of our lives, including relationships. (Read Can We Really Trust What Our Culture Says About Relationships?)
Pleasure Doesn’t Equal Happiness
Giving in to our desires can give us short-term pleasure. There is no point denying it, people cheat for a reason. It’s because it satisfies a need and brings them instant pleasure.
But pleasure doesn’t equal happiness.
The truth is, we can’t have everything. We can’t satisfy all of our short-term needs, and all of our long-term needs. We can’t make it all about our instant gratification and desires that will hurt people and also build a loving stable relationship where we feel safe and secure. (Read Why You Should Remember That ‘Romance’ On Its Own is Rubbish)
Making The Choice
On the chat show, this person was choosing to give into desires, and choosing to put themselves above others.
However, building a mutually enjoyable satisfying relationship takes work. It means being faithful when other options are available. It means taking responsibility for making the relationship work. It means realising our actions affects others and choosing self-control over short-term needs.
They will stick around and put you first, and vice versa
I guess it does ultimately come down to a choice. Having someone you fully trust, respect, and enjoy being with, comes from knowing you can be vulnerable with them, and know they will stick around and put you first, and vice versa. It’s built on faithfulness. We choose this over other pleasures.
We hear lots of things about how faithfulness, monogamy, and commitment is outdated. But most people will say that they want that kind of relationship. They want to know one person has their back and vice versa. This comes by choosing to commit.
Imagine if, in a culture that said faithfulness is flawed, we remembered that it is needed to truly create the intimacy, togetherness, and security we look for in a relationship. (Read How To Make Your New Dating Relationships Last)
Can you create a mutually fulfilling relationship without faithfulness? Comments welcomed below.