Defending the Adulterer: A Marriage Allegory on the Current Crisis

Background: Christina recently discovered her husband Peter committed adultery with her friend, Sarah. She confronts Peter about it in the middle of their next marriage counseling session with Dr. Neo.

Christina: Peter, I brought you here today in order to confront you, in the presence of a mediator, about what I discovered.

Peter: What are you talking about?

Christina: I discovered that you have been cheating on me. I’ve read all of your messages to Sarah, so there is no denying it.

Peter is silent.

Christina: Well, say something!

Peter: …

Christina: Are you going to say something?

Peter: I will not say a single word on this.

Christina: Are you kidding me? I’ve invested my entire adult life into this marriage, you have been unfaithful and you don’t have anything to say?

Peter: When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak.

Christina: Are you serious? What kind of arrogant response is that? You were supposed to be faithful to me. Remember our marriage vows? How could you do this to me?

Peter: You are so rigid. You present yourself as “perfect” and you lack the spirit of liberty. What is wrong with you, you Pharisee? You lack the primacy of mercy. I think your heart has stiffened and turned to ice because you sacralized the value of laws lacking in humanity and mercy! You are the kind of pharisee who would throw stones and then hide their hand.

Christina: Excuse me! You are the adulterer and you’re telling me that I lack mercy simply for that fact that I am confronting you about your sin against God, myself and our family?!

Peter: I don’t have anything else to say other than that I’m going to keep my irregular union with Sarah, who is currently pregnant with my child.

Christina: If you don’t leave her, I will have no other choice but to take the children and separate myself from you.

Dr. Neo: Let me step in here. Christina, don’t you think you are expecting too much of Peter? The commitment to exclusivity and stability is what we call the “ideal of marriage” and just because Peter is in an imperfect situation does not mean you can be inflexible.

Christina: Wait, I’m confused. Dr. Neo, are you defending Peter?

Dr. Neo: It seems to me that you have a persistently critical attitude towards your partner which is a sign that the marriage was not entered into as a project to be worked on together, with patience, understanding, tolerance and generosity. Slowly but surely, your love has given way to constant questioning and criticism, dwelling on his bad points, issuing ultimatums and engaging in competition and self-justification.

Christina: What? How could you say such a thing when all I’m doing is confronting the offender and asking him to stop committing adultery!

Dr. Neo: Christina, let me be frank for a moment. How dare you! This is your husband who is the head of your household. 1 Corinthians and Ephesians clearly indicate that he functions in the place of Christ in your home. By rebuking him and threatening to separate yourself from him, you are rebuking your superior and threatening to separate yourself from the visible representative of Christ in your home. You have been too harsh on Peter and have expected him to live up to an ideal. Moreover, you are ignoring the good that exists even in irregular unions such as the one he has with Sarah. You are being intolerant, lacking in mercy and are simply wrong to require him to separate from Sarah, especially when they now have a child together.

Christina: I don’t believe what I’m hearing.

Peter: If you don’t calm down I will be forced to have you admitted into a mental institution.

Dr. Neo: I agree; I will confirm such a decision if you keep this up, Christina.

Christina goes home in utter dismay over her discussion with Peter and Dr. Neo. To be continued…

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