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Love and Marriage Article

The Ultimate Betrayal

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

It is not okay to cheat on the one you love and let’s quit pretending that it is.  Enough is enough!  Character in love and marriage matters.

While we were driving to a television interview this morning we were listening to a local radio station.  They had on an “expert” (and we use that term very lightly) who said, and we quote, “The only real loser in all of this is Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of New York.”  Imagine, a man cheats on his wife repeatedly and HE is the victim – he is the only loser?  Please, give us a break!  The victim in this whole sordid affair is his wife, Silda, and her three daughters.  Let’s make no mistake about that.

There are many troubling aspects of this particular case of marital infidelity that bother us well beyond Mr. Spitzer’s many encounters with a prostitute.  Perhaps the most egregious of all is his having the audacity to have his wife by his side as he declares his public shame for what he did.  Imagine, it was not enough that he brought shame on himself and his family, but he had to publicly humiliate his wife again by having her “stand by her man.”  How sick is that?  How sick is it that in the name of politics he would subject his wife to this further humiliation?

Silda Spitzer was betrayed once by her husband’s sordid affairs with prostitutes, again by the public humiliation of “standing by her man,” and again by her having to look her daughters in their eyes to explain the shame and betrayal their father had brought upon the house of Spitzer.

Over the 25+ years of our research project on successful marriage, we have been reminded again and again that trust is at the very heart of all successful and long-lasting relationships between people who love each other.  In fact, we were so inspired by the words of these lovebirds about the importance of trust in their marriage that we wrote a chapter about the topic in our new book, Golden Anniversaries:  The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage. We entitled the chapter “Character in Love and Marriage.” We have also written several articles about this topic that you can find on the Internet.

The essence of our message is this – trust undergirds everything in a successful marriage and the violation of that trust – the betrayal of that trust – will, in the end, ruin most marriages that experience it.  Think about it, is there a worst sin that a spouse could commit than to betray the trust and the sacred honor of their marriage – of their relationship with the one they purport to love?  And the plain and simple fact is this – most marriages NEVER recover from this level of trauma to the relationship. 

Don’t kid yourself, when you make the decision to cheat on your spouse, you have made a decision that will almost always cause irreparable harm to your loving relationship – one from which your marriage and your family will never recover.

Contrary to what our aforementioned “expert” said on the radio this morning, the ones who are truly hurt by the actions of Governor Spitzer are his wife and his daughters. They experienced the ultimate betrayal.  They will probably never fully recover.

In life and love, the simple things matter, and the simple truth is, violating the most sacred of all trusts between two human beings who love each other is the ultimate betrayal.  Think about this before you cheat on your spouse, before you commit your love to another human being, and before you say “I do.”

Character in marriage matters!


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