What are some “betrayals of the heart” that are bigger than infidelity?
I just read an article today on Foxnews about Jada Pinkett Smith’s interview with Esther Perel (which I have found one of her Ted Talks very helpful). The headline was “Jada Pinkett Smith says there have been ‘betayals of the heart’ bigger than infidelity in Will Smith marriage”
In the article, there is the message that just because there is infidelity, doesn’t mean you should leave the marriage.
My question is, what are things that you think might be “‘betrayals of the heart’ bigger than infidelity”?
Perel mentions some things like contempt, neglect, violence, and indifference.
If you have never experienced infidelity some of this may just be theory, because none of us know how we will respond to a certain situation until we are in it.
I think that infidelity is a major betrayal because it shatters trust between two people. But there are other things, including non sexual things that do the same. A physically or emotionally abusive spouse is also shattering that trust that their spouse put in them at the altar. And finally, I think the ultimate is being abandoned, whether it’s for someone else or not. I am sure there are other examples as well. I have never dealt with any of these, but people I know have. Tracker makes a good point about when the other spouse is intentionally withholding sex. I have never had to deal with that but from what I have heard, it makes the marriage very challenging to navigate. I know of a Christian brother who shared with me and some other brothers that he was dealing with this. His marriage (which he worked hard to save) eventually failed. I’d like to reiterate that I believe such intentional refusal is much different than a lack of sex due to health problems or problems with desire and libido. Those can be challenging in their own way, but I believe it’s still possible to have a reasonably healthy marriage while navigating those struggles. My wife and I have had some struggles in that area, but I’ve never doubted her love. That makes ALL the difference. Because when you love each other, everything becomes possible, even overcoming the worst problems. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but this is what I believe.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. There are probably few that get the attention, but some obvious ones have been presented already. Abandonment, either emotional or physical, abuse, either physical or emotional, contempt(probably a form of emotional abuse). How damaging any one of those is lies not only within the act itself, but also the heart of the victim. Even financial infidelity could create problems that might be unrecoverable, if left unaddressed. There are probably others as well.
To share my own thought, I have not experienced adultery, which is often what people think of as “infidelity”, but I know that when I have had to face other sexual sins that my husband had done, like porn and sexual addictive behaviors, the worst part about it, and what hurt me most, and what was hardest to get over, was the lying and deception, not the actual acts. The acts may have been like a stab, but the lying and deception was the twisting of the knife that created the worst damage, which made the healing much harder to heal cleanly and quickly.
I haven’t experienced what it’s like to deal with infidelity in marriage either. I personally don’t think there can be a bigger issue to deal with despite the headline. Society today says that sex isn’t all that sacred. If it’s only a pursuit of pleasure I guess you could reason that there are worse things that can happen. Do you think Christians would see it as second to other betrayals? It seems to be the clearest allowance the Bible gives as grounds for divorce.
@Natefirethorn Another word for “Putting your own desires ahead of y our partner’s” is “selfishness” and isn’t that really the root of all sin? Valuing SELF above all others, including God? When Lucifer desired to put himself above Christ, literally, “all Hell broke loose”. To receive salvation, we are to die to self and live for Christ. So how could selfishness NOT destroy a marriage?
I, too, read somewhere that sarcasm is one of the most damaging attitudes people, especially couples, can display with each other. I forget the full explanation, but it had something to do with passive aggressiveness, hostility disguised as humor, loss of respect. and even bullying. It was part of a list of 4 or 5 guaranteed ways to destroy a marriage. I need to find that again.
Our marriage has seen adultery. I think if my wife was to answer, she’d say something similar to was SeekingChange said…While the physical act of sex with another woman was painful to hear about, the worst part was the lying and deceit. I don’t think she worry’s anymore that I’ll cheat, but i KNOW she’s worry’s that I won’t always be honest with her. If I remember during a conversation, she even said that cut deeper to her heart than anything else.