I was driving through downtown Chicago on the interstate when I saw the sign. “Life is short. Have an affair.” These bold words were accompanied by a suggestive image involving two good looking people. I felt a shockwave go through my nervous system at the sight of that sign. It was like an assault on everything good, right, and noble in this world. The advertisers? An attorney firm specializing in divorce! I can’t express my level of disgust.
Your marriage is under constant attack by societal forces you do not control. Do you think affairs are contagious? I recently read an article about two couples that spent a lot of time together. It wasn’t long after the first couple stumbled that one of the partners from the second couple began “exploring their options” outside their committed relationship.
My point is this. Your marriage is under assault. There are many ways society pushes us toward selfish thinking. The influence is often subtle. After all, what’s wrong with Burger King’s motto, “Have it your way,” or the Haagen-Dazs slogan, “Pleasure is the path to joy?” There’s really nothing wrong with those logos if taken in isolation. The problem occurs when we receive multiple messages all day long telling us our happiness can be found by putting ourselves first.
Any of you who have been married for any time at all know what happens when we put ourselves first. Marriage sucks. It becomes nothing but a trap, or a prison sentence. Both people are in it for themselves, but stuck making decisions jointly. There’s a better way, of course, and you know what it is.
The romantic term for it is “true love.” I think of true love as a choice. It happens when two people simultaneously love somebody else more than they love themselves. They put the other person’s needs and happiness at the highest priority.