My point is that adultery is a big deal. Yes, we all sin. What is the difference between a person who commits adultery and one who does not? I think it has to do with character, (sticking with moral values no matter what) opportunity (although, in this day and age, who doesn't have the opportunity to commit adultery?), and humility (recognizing that we are capable of falling so avoiding situations that could become tempting becasue we aren't sure we could handle it).
There is a difference between flawless character and the character of a person willing to commit adultery.
I believe in Aristotle's view that virtue is about deciding on a habit and sticking with it. I believe I am Aristotelean and not Machiavellian. My values are set and not subject to the circumstances of how my husband treats me. I may divorce, but I will never remarry because I made a commitment for life.
A priest once told me that his aunt married a guy who became an acoholic, she separated from him, she always considered herself married, she prayed for him, and forty years later he returned to her to die of cihrossis of the liver.
I think that is the truest story I have heard of commitment to marriage. It is not about putting up with whatever the other person dishes out. It is about being bonded to this person but being willing to accept that the other person may make choices which are so terrible that a separation is necessary.
I really like Aristotle's Ethics. It's one of my favorite books. It's helped me to sort out what to do in light of my husband's ongoing display of selfishness. I usually don't like labels, and I regret labeling him selfish or a narcissist. What is more appropriate is to describe his behavior. If he asks for feedback from me, and I give it, he turns it around into being about him. He doesn't address my concerns. Instead, he brings up one of his own. I was in therapy for a few years in the wake of the affair and broken arm, and the therapist said something that still sticks in my mind, "Defensiveness is another form of aggression."
He doesn't try to understand me. I told him this morning that the sink is dripping in the laundry room, and his response was, "All I'm here for is to fix the sink." In my mind, it's another way to put off looking at the sink. During the affair, when we had a baby and a 1 year old, the bathtub needed to be fixed. I waited a year. Looking back, I see it's the same thing. He told me all I did was complain, and so I had to figure out how to bathe a baby in the shower.
Today, I'm wiser. If it doesn't get fixed, I'm calling a plumber. POJA doesn't work in a marriage where the spouse doesn't want to understand you. When you don't care about your spouse, POJA is just a way to get your spouse off your back.
Last edited by Cherished; 04/24/09 10:28 AM.