There’s been a lot going on in the news lately. One of the big stories is South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his affair with a Venezuelan reporter. I’ve found the coverage of this very personal failing more and more disturbing.
You see, the tone has changed from one of outrage to one of sympathy for a guy who just fell in love with another woman. His political career is over, but isn’t it wonderful that he was willing to risk that, risk it all, for the woman he loves? Well, in a word, no. I find this story and the turn the coverage has taken simply appalling. We’re talking about a man who chose to chase another woman at the expense of his marriage. We’re talking about a man who abandoned his children in the pursuit of fleeting passion.
I understand being attracted to someone who isn’t your spouse. The Furry Guy and I have been married for over 24 years. There have been men I’ve met through the years that I felt an attraction to. That’s where the choice comes in.
Picture this. I meet a man. We click. Now, I can choose to spend more and more time with that other man, allowing those feelings to grow. On the other hand, I can recognize that this man is a temptation and stay away from him, letting The Furry Guy know that I find the other man attractive.* The first choice can lead to small compromises, which can lead to bigger compromises, which can lead to a violation of my vows. No one is immune once they start making compromises. The second choice opens everything to the daylight, protecting my marriage and allowing those feelings of attraction to the other man to die.
That’s another choice, by the way. Feelings that are nurtured grow. Feelings that are ignored die. That can mean feelings for the other person or feelings for your spouse. I choose to nurture my feelings for The Furry Guy.
*If you’re questioning the wisdom of letting The Furry Guy know I find someone else attractive, let me explain my reasoning. I’m not telling him that I’d leave him for the other guy in a heartbeat. I’m simply saying that “Bob” is a good-looking guy. This keeps me from harboring a secret attraction, which can easily start me down that wrong path. Keeping it secret makes it somehow sweeter—that forbidden fruit. Plus, letting him know allows him to keep an eye out and warn me if he senses a reciprocal attraction toward me. Open and honest is the best policy in a marriage.