This story of infidelity that I’m going to share today is about ‘Mark’ (not his real name). Even though his affair ended several years ago, he’s still being reminded daily of the many ways it changed his life forever.
While growing up, Mark’s family and church has defined his values in all things, including marriage. For him "Till death do us part" meant a lifelong obligation; divorce was not a possibility; infidelity ranked among the major and most evil of all sins.
He never planned on having an affair. In fact, even a couple months before it happened, if someone will ask him if there’s a probability that he would be involved with another woman, Mark would have honestly denied the possibility. But when the circumstances were just right, every principle just flew out the window.
After several months, there’s a man who sat across a table from Mark and cry out in no indefinite terms, "I might be guilty of a lot of things, but that is one thing I could never do." It may have expressed like conviction, but Mark unhappily recognized an honored innocence that he had once possessed. Even now, looking back on all that happened, he is still amazed at how easy it was to concede long-held values and move into an affair.
A Defenseless Marriage
It was in college when Mark met Anne and he was immediately attracted to her. Other men were, too, and so he spent the next three years trying to win her love. In spite of gentle warnings from their parents, who observed differences between them, Mark and Anne still got married soon after their graduation.
If Mark is to be asked if he love Anne that moment, he would certainly say yes in as much as a 21 year old is able of loving. After 2 or 3 years, their marriage settled into a typical routine. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either, and both of them witnessed enough unhappy relationships to know that theirs was better than most.
Mark and Anne wanted something better, so occasionally, they would make a special effort to heat things up. They would read a book, join a seminar, join a support group, go on a trip, or become a bit more sexually creative. These flickers would momentarily put the fire burning, but the couple unavoidably settled back into the more common luke-warmness of their relationship.
For the most part, Mark just accepted the fact that things would possibly never get better than their current situation. In some ways, it was enough. They enjoyed the ease of acquaintance; they delivered a caring and protected home for their children and they are aware of what they expect from each other. With adaptive behavior that seemed usual to most other couples, they learned how to maintain their relationship. But despite this scenario, in the inmost part of Mark, he still wasn't contented.
Nevertheless, that disappointment alone wasn't enough to lead Mark into an affair. But then, he thought that it at least set the stage for what would sooner or later be played out. Now, the biggest questions in his mind are: ‘What happens when love begins to lose its heart?’ ‘When feelings diminish and duty has to constantly pick-up the slack?’