Why Do Men Cheat?

11 03 2008

That was the title of a segment on the Today Show this morning.

3 panelists pieced, parsed, and picked apart the topic like a Thanksgiving turkey. After the analyzing was done, it was time for a commercial, and all went smiling on their merry way.

We over-think this. Men are programmed, by nature, with a high sex drive. Couple that with a need for validation and you see where it all can lead. I know that women are programmed to look for the emotional solution to this question, but the fact is, there isn’t much of one. Don’t look for too much reason in this. Men are not intrinsically evil – we are all born with sinful desires.

cheating - why do men cheat?I think the question would be better posed as, “Why don’t men cheat?” There are many of us who remain steadfast in our marital relationship. That doesn’t mean we’ve been cured of that pesky tenancy to want to look when a woman shows off more of herself then she ought. And it doesn’t mean that our thought-life stays exactly where it ought 100% of the time. But for the man who remains faithful it does mean that he has decided to give a gift far greater and more wonderful than any diamond ring or other sparkling jewelry. It’s the gift of completeness and oneness in a relationship.

Cheating has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with respect. It’s a lack of respect on four levels: for your wife, the other woman, for self, and ultimately for God.

Being a Christ-follower does not insure fidelity. It would be dishonest to say so – not to mention foolish. However, the Christ-follower is one who seeks the disciplines of the way of Jesus so that it causes all aspects of life to flourish and bless others. It is a means by which we begin to look outside ourselves to the needs of others. When failures occur along the way, it says nothing about Christ and everything about humanity. Without the discipline of a daily embrace of Christ, we can easily begin to embrace our own wayward desires.

I would also point out that an unfaithful man is often used as proof of how man is far inferior to women. Not so. Reality proves that it takes two to tango – there must be a willing partner to proceed with infidelity. Further, my experience as both a pastor and, before that, as a participant in the secular workplace, has taught me that women are also susceptible to the desire to stray. And even if the infidelity never becomes sexual, it can be just as wrong. Being emotionally unfaithful is just as wrong as being physically unfaithful. That doesn’t lessen the onus on men; rather, it proves that it is not a mutually exclusive wrong.

When self becomes a driving force in our lives, it is a recipe for disaster on so many levels. The beauty of the discipline of Christ is that it takes us outside of that stifling box and puts us into the clear air of regard for others. It’s up to us to respond. Remember the old saying, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”? This is why it is such a blessing to all of us that we are called into community with other believers. The Holy Spirit strengthens us through communion with other believers so that we can truly be the body of Christ. None of us can make it on our own. We become so much stronger in community.

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