I am a huge fan of Ted Talks in general. I have found a lot of my best ideas and inspiration after I watched them. Yesterday I came across one by a lady called Esther Perel. The name of the talk interested me, it was titled “Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved”. So this lady, is there giving her talk about cheating in a relationship. The basic questions she was looking to answer were ‘Why do people cheat?’, ‘Do happy people cheat?’, and the ever so popular ‘What next after the infidelity?’ I saw the questions and was intrigued, what does this lady have to say, I wondered. To say the least I was not impressed with the talk and this here is why. I will plug the entire talk at the end so that you, my one reader, can listen in and make your own conclusions of it.
One of the first things she said that had me gripping my seat with what would be white knuckles had God not blessed me with a little more melanin. She said something about how adultery is as old as marriage/fidelity. So… No! Just no. Marriage was instituted by God as an image if you will of the relation between Christ and the church. Saying that infidelity is as old as marriage does not just go against what the bible says about the first union between man and woman but it also goes against the overarching principle of the union of man and woman. When the first record of infidelity happened is not shown in the bible but we do know for certain is that it is not as old as the institution of marriage.
She went on to speak of how the definition of cheating has become more lax and it is now difficult to define and determine what is cheating. This is especially in light of technological advances whereby people can communicate using the internet on dating/chat sites but not actually progress to sex just yet. Yeah… No. This all comes from the assumption that the primary form of cheating/infidelity is sexual. It is not. If you view fidelity from the view of just man and woman and not take it to its root then I see why such a mistake can come about. But if marriage is an image of the relationship between Christ and his church then infidelity all of the sudden takes on new light. It now becomes about the man and the woman being one in all things. Once one of the parties switches to another for any single one of these things that is infidelity. I go as far as to say that if the man or the woman begins to rely on another group or individual for even financial aid without the knowledge or help of the spouse this too can be called infidelity. The two must rely on each other as they both rely on God, this is the principle.
Another thing she mentioned is that imagination is responsible for love and not the other person. At this point I am thinking this lady has not come across a bible or even a real relationship but that is me going too far with this. We don’t fall in love with images, we are infatuated with images. That is one of the main reasons why the church discourages relationships moving too fast to marriage. You barely know one another and you want to get married? As two people take their time to know each other one of two things happen; either the more they see the more they love or the more they see the more they realize that it was just infatuation. And this all goes back to the image of Christ and the church. The more the church sees of Christ the more they see him as the best thing that there is and they want to know more because more knowledge creates more love.
Esther Perel went on to say how that relationships, I have called this marriage throughout this entire piece and will continue to do so, go sour because the individuals go in expecting their endless list of needs to be fulfilled by the other person, which they just cant. On this she is absolutely right but not for the reason she thought she is. The reality is that nothing in this world is capable of satisfying our needs, it is a side effect of the fall. Even marriage, that is a symbol of the Christ’s relationship with the church, is a poor picture of the original. The truth and this what the bible teaches is that marriage is a triangle. God at the top and man and woman on both ends of the triangle. As the two draw closer to God they draw closer to one another. It is a journey together to the one who will fulfill all their needs and wants and not just a few of their needs and wants but all of them. After all he is the only one who can.
I have to admit that this next one brought a smile to my face. She said after a long tirade of words that millions of people cannot be pathological. Which in its own sense is correct because the more accurate phrase is billions of people are pathological. Aside from one man all human beings are born completely and utterly sinful. The best Christian, if at all such a description can be given to a person, has such an awareness of the flesh and its desire for sin that he like the Apostle Paul can’t help but cry out ‘Oh what a wretched man I am!’ We are pathological because we are sinners.
I am almost done so stay with me now. She went on to say that cheating/infidelity makes us feel alive. To some extent she is right about this because sin has a way of making us feel alive, the problem is it does not do what we think it will do. It does not scratch where the itch is and it brings no long term satisfaction so we keep going back for more. A God glorifying relationship and constantly working on that with the spouse is what God promises will be satisfying to us till we find the ultimate satisfaction in eternity with him. Sin has a way of giving us what we think we want for a short while but we eventually realize that there is no satisfaction in all that.
As promised here is the talk.