Are Your Commitments Really So Fragile?


Did you know you’re being unfaithful to your partner if you talk to other people? According to Gary and Joy Lundberg (who apparently can’t even write an article without each other) over on FamilyShare you are being unfaithful to your spouse and don’t even know it.. They consider a whole range of things to be tantamount to cheating, such as sending condolence letters and calling your parents with good news.

It’s important to recognize that these viewpoints aren’t actually unusual. The Lundbergs might be extreme, but they are discussing a really common idea about relationships, especially monogamous ones. Essentially, if you are able to have an individual life, separate friendships, or emotional connections to other people it means you don’t love your partner enough. This contributes to many people interpreting jealousy to be the same thing as love.

It makes me wonder how fragile these relationships are. If a relationship is threatened by sending a personal note to someone else the relationship doesn’t feel very strong to me. The philosophy seems to be that any sense of independence is a slippery slope to infidelity and therefore the end of a relationship.

I would argue that independence can be a major part of the strength of a relationship. I’m sure my own marriage would horrify this couple. My spouse and I travel separately, we spend time alone with friends of all genders, we flirt, and we form close friendships. Even if we didn’t form sexual and romantic relationships with others (which we definitely do) I would still see these as indicators of the strength of our relationship. Our desire to not control each other is in fact what makes our marriage strong. I TRUST them to love me even though they care about other people too. They trust me to love them even if I put on something sexy to wear for others, or even if I spend an hour on the phone with my Mom.

We plan on having a kid together someday. I trust that they will put the kid before me sometimes. I expect it. I will too – that child will sometimes be the most important thing in my world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Well, apparently marriage equality will ruin straight marriages. Which is funny because my uncles Frank and Kevin have been together for over twenty years, and I don’t remember any straight couple’s marriage suffering because of it.

    In evangelical culture, there’s this weird notion that if a man and a woman talk to each other for a long time, their clothes will suddenly fall off.

  2. At the gym without your spouse? Stop it. You may be leading people on to think you are an individual. It’s inappropriate. Bring your spouse with you, or don’t go at all.
    Is your spouse in the military or out of country? Don’t look to your friends or family for support; wait until your spouse is back before you even think of talking to anyone else. If you loved your spouse enough, you wouldn’t need other people. Ever.
    Before you eat that cookie, stop and think…are you taking away energy from your spouse? You may think it’s harmless, but stop. You are sowing the seeds of infidelity with your selfish, selfish pastry indulgence. Go home and eat the cookie with your spouse.

    Also that section on “being a willing sexual partner” skeezed me out. “If you can’t muster enthusiastic consent, just fake it! THAT’S what makes a beautiful blossoming married life.”

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