Christian Marriages And How Infidelity Affects Them

Project and Seminar Material for Theology and Biblical Studies

Christian Marriages And How Infidelity Affects Them


Abstract


Infidelity is a topical issue in both social and legal spheres. This study was a mixed- method design focused on unfaithfulness among married couples. The aims of the study were to assess the common understanding of infidelity as a practice, estimate the extent of marital infidelity among christian men and women and to establish the reasons for it as well as the perceived consequences of adulterous relationships. The study findings revealed that the common understanding of infidelity/unfaithfulness was a married person’s sex relationship with a person outside the principal relationship, infidelity was more prevalent among married men than it was among married women, reasons for infidelity included sex, finance, respect, dignity and luxuries.

The effects of unfaithfulness were diseases, stress, violence and divorce. The study also revealed that after being cheated on one would seek for counselling failure which divorce would be the final. Conclusions were that the understanding of the concept of infidelity in this study was as much as it was understood elsewhere to mean sexual intercourse between at least one dyadic partner and another person who does not belong to the primary relationship. The study recommended that future studies on related topics use bigger samples, more research sites and to carry the study with dating couples to find out whether there is a continuity or discontinuity in whatever infidelity patterns that might be extended to younger people.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 General Background Of The Study.

Nowadays, infidelity is the most important reason of divorces. Based on research reports, 90% of all divorces involve infidelity (Igyeseh 22). Infidelity is the major concern and problem in Christian marriages. In every relationship, fidelity is held in high esteem while infidelity is not acceptable, rejected and frowned at, at all levels. The intimate union between a man and a woman demands fidelity and unbreakable tie between them. Infidelity is a violation of this right. Sex outside marriage is disrespect to the right of the other partner over acts capable of generating children.

Infidelity and Christian marriage have been in existence long ago and are characterized by complexities, confusion, problems and difficulties. Marriage during the time of creation and original order was understood as monogamy. Polygamy came in as a result of defect in the desire of man or decadent version of monogamy. It was the dissatisfaction or the desire to fulfill the insatiable nature of man that polygamy was introduced. From the beginning the scripture says (Genesis 2:21-25), God made them faithful and one but for the desire of what the other may taste like, humanity created infidelity and this is by all standards of a fall on the level of marital morality (Akpan 26-27)

Faithful spouses are sources of blessing to themselves, their children, the church and to the society. The situation now is that western civilization with its modernization and globalization such as: freedom of abortion, right of prostitution, contraceptives and many more have poisoned the morality in most families and marital vows are no longer cherished, defended, recognized nor respected.


1.2 Statement Of Problem

Infidelity in Christian marriage can be devastating and is indeed a devastating experience and may lead to divorce and violence. It is a disgraceful memory and reduction of conjugal love reserved to the spouse exclusively. In all times, infidelity has had tragic consequences. These consequences are shared in equal measure by both spouses and children. It does not only cause an inexplicable emotional and psychological suffering to marriage, it creates a host of other problems in the family such as negligence of duty. The unfaithful wife most often loses sight of her union and responsibility to the husband and the husband seems irritating as the sight of human excretal, it is same with the unfaithful husband. In this regard, less time is given to the children and as a result their education suffers. Infidelity begins to crawl in when the goals to which an individual got married are not met in the marriage.

Many marriages have gone down the steps of success because of the effects of this problem that is infidelity. All the characteristics that are found in true love are definitely misplaced, scarce and not inherent when we come to talk about fidelity. It damages the peace in marriage and rends the essential fulcrum of marriage that is togetherness. Infidelity violates the following human conditions, unity, faithfulness, allegiance, loyalty, devotion, piety and a lot more (Akpan 23).

From the above considerations, it is not surprising that despite a wide range of related problems and topics which fascinate the mind, such as death, joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, love and hatred etc, clamoring for understanding, the researcher in this project work has chosen to bring to limelight the recurrent incident of infidelity witnessed in many marriages. That is because of the urgency and prevalent nature of these two realities in our society and most families.


1.3 Aim And Objectives

The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To bring to limelight the recurrent incidence of infidelity witnessed in marriage, Christian marriages today and the need and importance for spouses to remain faithful to each other.
  2. To create awareness on the dangers of infidelity, that is its negative effects.
  3. To encourage and recommend fidelity and discourage infidelity and bring our good and convincing reasons why couples must avoid being unfaithful.

1.4 Research Methodology

Methodology refers to a system of broad principles or rules from which specific method or procedure will be derived to investigate or solve a particular discipline. Or simply for lay man understanding as the way one intends to carryout his/her research.

The research shall adopt the use of primary and secondary sources as means or methods of data collection. This means that the research shall employ the use of library and archival materials which include published and unpublished materials and books on infidelity, Christian marriage, marriage (infidelity in Christian marriages with its causes, effects and remedies). Also these published and unpublished materials will include articles, seminal papers, dissertations, thesis, projects and oral interviews from people who have knowledge on marriage or are married. These materials will be examined properly so that this work will be achieved.

The work shall also use the descriptive, comparative and interpretative methods for analysis. Descriptive method will bring out the notion of infidelity and Christian marriage. The interpretative approach will reveal the causes, effects and remedies of infidelity in Christian marriages concerning the subject matter, while the comparative method will be used to compare the act of infidelity between Christian spouses: who is more faithful between the two, man and woman: husband and wife?


1.5 Significance Of The Study

The significance or the importance of this research lies in the fact that so many Christian couples ignorantly and purposely engage in the act of infidelity which in the Christian marriage is a sin against humanity and God. The research work is set to correct this ill and make known to the Christian community on the dangerous effects of infidelity in marriage.

More so the outcome and discoveries of this research work will serve as a source of information or data to students, academia, administrators, consultants, and above all Christian couples and the Christian community and others who may want to undergo similar research studies on infidelity in marriage or Christian marriage.


1.6 Scope And Limitation

The scope of this research work is on Christian marriages and how infidelity affects them. To the limitation, this research was hampered during the process of gathering data for analysis and this serve as major limitation to the research work. Pronounced among these problems had been the refusal of some married couples to share their experiences on infidelity in their marriage during oral interviews. This is because of lack trust on people who they fear might expose their secrets of unfaithfulness to the public. Also is the lack of materials on infidelity in Christian marriages. This is because with the invasion of western education and secularity of the world today, people are less concerned about the issue.

Some other limitations encountered range from finance problems to slow response from informants which slowed doswn the research.


1.7 Definitions Of Terms

Infidelity

Infidelity (colloquially known as cheating), mostly refers to a branch of the expectation of sexual exclusivity. Infidelity include a number of activities including, having an affair, extra-marital relationships, cheating, sexual intercourse, oral sex, kissing, fondling, emotional connections that are beyond friendships, friendships, internet relationships, pornography use and others (Igyeseh 22).

Christian

The word Christian comes from the latin word christianus and Greek christianos and Christos which means “Christ like”. A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic monotheistic religion base on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The word Christian means based on or believing the teachings of Jesus Christ or a person who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ or has been baptized in Christian church (hornby 250).

Marriage

In today’s world, marriage means so many things to so many people. Its understanding and definition therefore depends on what affiliation one belongs to, generally however, marriage could be defined as a universal social institution that defines a mating relationship in all peoples for the founding of a family and binds it for the perfection and rearing of children (Abela 19). Marriage is derived from the Latin word matrismunus- meaning “the office of the mother or the functions of the mother”. It relates to the caring role that a woman ought to render to the children at home and in their education and for the union that is incumbent on her and the husband. It is the union of a man and his wife; a livelong partnership which according to the position of the church is discontinued only by death (Akpan 5).

Christian Marriage

Christian marriage means the union between man and woman as husband and wife based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith which can only be broken by death. The code of canon law’s definition is very succinct and expresses in a summary form what Christian marriage is: Christian marriage is the covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of their life and which by its nature is ordered towards good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring: this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the lord.


1.8 Organizations Of Chapters

The study comprises of five chapters with each chapter standing on its own. Chapter one and two treats such themes as introduction, statement of problem, methodology, aims and objection, scope and limitation as well as well the review of related literature. Chapter three and fourtreats, the possible signs of infidelity among Christian couples, causes of infidelity in Christian marriage, the effects and the remedies. Chapter five and is the concluding chapter. It deals with the summary of findings, contributions to knowledge and recommendations and conclusions.


Chapter Five


Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusions:

From the findings in this study it can be concluded that the understanding of the concept of infidelity is much as it is understood elsewhere to mean sexual intercourse between at least one dyadic partner and another person who does not belong to the primary relationship. Like elsewhere adultery is publicly condemned and yet seemingly widely practised. Reasons presented here are based much of Trivers‟ (1972) Parent Investment Theory. Although marital inequity links with adulterous relationships, not all unhappy marriages lead to adultery on the part of the spouses. The prevalence of perceived adulterous relationships is comparable to the prevalence in other countries particularly those in the West with men being perceived to outstrip women in their participation in adulterous activities. Males tend to overestimate the participation of females in illicit love affairs while women equally stereotypically overestimate the participation of men in those affairs. All the participants showed that they would be badly affected by a dyadic betrayal. Men are much more likely to end a marriage upon the infidelity of the women than are women upon the infidelity of the men.

Two concepts that have emerged here are those of the Zimbabwean „small house‟, which is an institution that has all the trappings of a marriage but is distinct from the primary relationship, some sort of a replica of the old polygamous family which unlike the old institution is not restricted to the same homestead. Another concept is that of transactional sex which has an important economic component but which is not borne out of abject poverty as has sometimes been suggested. It is also short of prostitution.


5.2 Recommendations

This study used a very small sample. The background of the research participants was also not wide. It is recommended that a bigger sample be used and that it be extracted from various social settings and not just one academic institution. It is also suggested that future research employ a variety of methods in addition to those that have been used here. Perhaps, it will be more informative if studies were carried out with dating couples to find whether there is a continuity or discontinuity in whatever infidelity patterns that might be extent among younger people


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