Sometimes it feels like our world is obsessed with unfaithfulness.
a betrayal, dealing with the dreadful reminders of the past can be especially difficult. One comment or incident can incite a flood of negative emotions, casting a black cloud over your entire day. Navigating through these triggers is hard enough already, until you realize that entertainment media is absolutely littered with mentions of cheating.
Television and movies use infidelity as a plot device constantly. I don't mind this in theory, because it is a common human experience -- statistics suggest that between 30% and 60% of couples wrestle with unfaithfulness at some point. Obviously, if the issue is common, it will also be widespread among fictional characters. I have no problem with that.
I do, however, take issue with any medium (music, TV, movies, books) that makes light of cheating or glorifies it. There is nothing redeemable or worthwhile about an affair. It is not funny, entertaining, or admirable. An affair, and the aftermath that follows it, is not desirable to anyone who knows the reality of it. So, when a comedian or sitcom character jokingly extols the virtues of straying, I am disgusted.
In the beginning of our journey, I used to despise any mention of unfaithfulness because I saw it as another unneeded reminder of my errors. Honestly, there have been moments where I could happily smash my television set because of the discomfort it caused. Over time, I have discovered some value in fictional portrayals of unfaithfulness, when handled tastefully. Any time I see a couple earnestly struggling with the effects of an affair on a TV show, my heart breaks.... and the characters aren't even real!
I believe that the arts (especially music) can have a cathartic effect on us. They allow us to gain a vantage point on an issue that seems insurmountable. Music has played a pivotal role in our recovery process, but it can also inflame old wounds if we are not very intentional about our consumption.
If you've dealt with infidelity or any other painful betrayal, I'm sure you can relate. The world around us simply doesn't understand our plight. Although I believe we can benefit from fairly depicted portrayals of cheating in TV and movies, I also know with certainty that there is a time for shielding and a time when insulating your marriage is a necessity.
If you are walking down this road like we are, do yourself a favor. Be intentional about your media consumption. Reject any movie or show that glorifies cheating. Cut it off and remove it from your sight. Be mindful of what you allow inside your mind, because your brain is a battleground. Do not let the TV screen be an obstacle to your recovery. In this area, and all others, prioritize the health and well-being of your marriage with urgency and passion.
You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about the Hartsfields and their road to recovery after unfaithfulness. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook, and we urge you to contact us if you need help with the recovery process. We offer support services in-person and via Skype/Facetime.
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