As October 1 draws near

MIND AND BODY with Rev. Fr. Vincent E. Arisukwu

Disaffection: Affection is major oil in marriage. It is more than sexual satisfaction. It is the feeling of being appreciated by one’s partner. Ironically, women value love in their relationship than sex. Unfortunately however, many men do not realize it. Blessed Pope John Paul 11 once said in his address to couples that a man loves in order to be loved while a woman is loved in order to love. In marriage, every woman wants to feel special. Every woman wants the husband to tell her, “You are beautiful”, “You look good”, “I love you”, “Your hairstyle is special”, “Your food is wow”, etc. Every woman wants a pet name.  But these words of admiration don’t often come from some men. Some do not buy gifts for their wives. They expect their wives to always provide for them and worse still, never get excited at the reception of such gifts. Some men would always expect wonderful dishes on special days such as their birthdays and Father’s Days but do not even know their wives’ birthdays and wouldn’t care about any celebrations that affect women. Some other men are very good in providing their wives with money to buy food and whatever may be required in the house. But they do it as a mere duty lacking fun. Even when they are served delicious food, they only feel that their wives have fulfilled their obligation and do not deserve commendations. It becomes dangerous when women receive these commendations and admirations from outside, more so from particular men. These words distract women and could gradually settle in their sub-conscious if not properly evaluated. The same applies to women. Some women feel shy to tell their husband, “Honey, I love you”, “You are my best man” etc.  Disaffection could lead to infidelity.


False claims: I have heard some people argue that poverty can drive some married couples into infidelity. They hold the argument that some women have affairs with other men in order to improve the lot of their families and to provide for the husbands. I categorize these as false claims. The false claim of poverty is only a misplacement of value and foolish quest for what a person cannot afford. False claims can also be alibi to satisfy one’s sexual urge. A poor man can be a wonderful lover, happily married, so also a rich man and vice versa. What is important is being contented with what a person has and living within one’s means. Poverty could be a threat but conscientious effort and focus help to overcome it. Such false claims could lead to infidelity.


Greed: I purposely refused to mention this word in the treatment of the false claims as a cause of infidelity in marriage. Many women run after men outside their matrimonial homes because of greed. Some peer group influence leads them into lifestyles beyond their means. In order to beat the demands of the “society” which they belong, they look for financial wedge outside their homes. They compromise their bodies in order to get what they lack. They try to live big in order to belong to their false class. The more they aspire to be like others, the more they succumb to the pressure of compromising their marriage vows. Many women are unfaithful to their husbands today because of greed and inordinate quest.


Money Power: Money power could be a cause of infidelity for men or women who have promiscuous tendencies. This is obtainable when a man allows himself to be controlled by his wealth. It can also happen to a woman. Such persons wouldn’t be ashamed to ask their marriage partners the question, “Do you pay the house rent for me in this house?” They would often utter such statements, “If you mess up I send you packing”. But unfortunately they type are the messing around in the strict sense. Such megalomaniac uses his money to maintain or cater for the needs of his numerous girl friends. For instance, only a man with money can lodge in hotels or even accommodate women in expensive hotels. A man with money can sponsor scores of women in different universities at the same time. A man with money can live a life of waste and debauchery. This is the danger of money power where a man/woman feels he/she can do whatever he/she likes with no one having to question. A woman once lamented that her husband’s charity goes to women alone. This is why St. Paul warns, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the source of all kinds of evil” (1Tim. 6: 9-10). If not properly managed, the power of money could lead a man/woman to stupidity and infidelity.


Bad Company: One thing that corrupts any man or woman is bad or negative influence from friends. When a man begins to associate with bad friends, he begins to face the pressure of dancing to their tone. Either he succumbs or decamps. Many cases of infidelity are as a result of peer group pressure from friends. When a married man or woman has greedy, promiscuous, insatiable friends, the tendency is for them to lure him/her into negative habits. When a friend commits an atrocity known only to his friend, the next measure is to play his friend into such act so that they will have a common secret. Therefore, unfaithful spouses will always corrupt their friends and can lead them to infidelity.


Environment: Igbos say it is dangerous to plug the rat’s hole with kernel. They also hold that it is a great risk to keep fuel near fire. When a man surrounds himself completely with women, such environment is often described as harsh to the person because he is exposed to temptation either consciously or unconsciously. Psychologists have proven that men who are exposed to female environment always fall victim of infidelity and vice versa. It could be that such men do not willingly desire it but that the environment compels them to do so. It’s good to take precautionary measures against harsh working environment. It could lead to infidelity.


Poor Cooking Habit: Just as many men don’t know that they contribute to the reason why their wives look outside, so also many women do not know that they are the reasons why their men fall prey to external distractions. When a woman is in the habit of cooking bad food, the tendency is for the husband to also form the habit of eating out. Be it in the Fast Foods, hotels, restaurants, or friend’s house, a man who eats outside his marital home is vulnerable to false attractions. Some women cash in on such opportunities to entrap men. Some even resort to charms to distract the men and make them detest everything about their homes. A woman who is a bad cook cannot attract the husband to table. She does not make the man anticipate his meal. Such a man could be at table with his wife for mere formality while relishing the wonderful dish he takes in his mistress’ home. Poor cooking could lead to infidelity.


Vengeance: Many a couple have had problem in marriage as a result of vengeance. I have handled a case of a woman who swore to take revenge on her cheating husband. Such a woman at some point felt she was simply playing the fool considering the fact that the husband’s unfaithfulness was getting out of hands. She then decided to fall also to let the man know that no one has monopoly of infidelity. Some women also do that. They say, “Since I cannot stop him, I better take my own pound of the flesh”. No one dies for a man who is unfaithful”. Infidelity can result from vengeance of a partner against the other.


Spiritual Dryness: Any couple that is not committed spiritually should better watch out. When a couple is spiritually arid, physical hunger increases. St. James admonished thus, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:7-8). The entire factors listed above could be taken care of by greater involvement in spiritual activities. When one is spiritually bereft, he could be a victim of any of the above factors in marriage. When a couple becomes spiritually dry, their conscience becomes jeopardized. St. Paul says, “The spiritual are interested in spiritual things while the unspiritual are interested in unspiritual things” (Rom. 8:5). When a married person is far from God, the tendency to fall prey to material attractions becomes high. When a couple is far from God, the tendency to take marriage for granted becomes a possibility. When one is far from God, the tendency to succumb to the flesh is high. When a married man detaches himself from God, he loses sight of the sacrament he has received, so also a married woman.


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