What was so great about her, that she could not be resisted? It seems logical to think that affairs happen with particular people for particular reasons. In the frustrating search for insight, many victims falsely assign value to the mistress without understanding the true motivations beneath the affair. Our culture doesn't help either. If the cheater's spouse is considered attractive, people are quick to ignorantly exclaim "you cheated on that?!", as if a husband or wife only deserves faithfulness if they fulfill certain aesthetic requirements. There's a wealth of misinformation on this topic. so let's answer the question.... Why her?
Society reinforces the worthless notion that mistresses are chosen due to their appearance, values, or virtues. In reality, it is quite the opposite. The defining attribute of someone who could become the object of an affair is a distinct lack of virtue. Moral deficits and calloused consciences are the breeding grounds for unfaithfulness, and it takes two misguided hearts to align and cause this tragedy.
The bottom line is this: every person has a dual nature within them that is constantly at war. Christians refer to this as the flesh and the spirit, but whatever you label it, the idea is the same. A man's flesh, his lower and primal nature, is drawn to a woman who is first and foremost morally bankrupt and devoid of virtue, regardless of appearance. Our wicked nature embraces the temptress, not the partner of our dreams. Our preferences were put on display at the marriage altar, in the public's eye. By contrast, affairs happen in the shadows, colored by shame and guilt. Mistresses aren't chosen because they're better. In fact, they are literally chosen because they're worse.
Hannah and I have faced down this dreadful question on many occasions. We have discussed it at length, and it is my heart's desire to assure her that the other woman, the outsider, was not chosen for her beauty or remarkable nature. Affairs are crimes of opportunity, not preference. Through marriage, I chose the woman I wanted. In my affair, I settled for the most morally insolvent person in my proximity. This is the true nature of infidelity.
Today, if you are tending to the wounds of your marriage, rest assured that the other person, the outsider, was not chosen for their admirable qualities or natural value. Just like the affair itself, this was the product of madness, immaturity, and moral uncertainty. You are the spouse, the chosen partner, and you can be victorious over the questions that swirl around your mind constantly. As always, feel free to contact us if you need to talk. We want to hear from you.
You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about the Hartsfields and their road to recovery after unfaithfulness. Follow us on Facebook here or on Twitter here, and check out our new project -- The Marriage Mission!