Ok, I admit it. I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s who grew up with TV. I like to watch some favorite shows then, and now. And contrary to the popular belief of some, it’s not all bad.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a wholesale endorsement of everything that comes down the media pipeline into our homes. Much of it is a major waste of time. However, sometimes they get it right. And when they do, it leaves a mark.
A current favorite of mine is the NBC series, Parenthood. My interests are both personal and professional.
Personally, I’m a parent of 3 adult children, a son and two daughters. And while my role has shifted from hands on parenting to being a trusted adviser . . . when asked . . . I’m still involved in parenting.
Professionally, I work with a lot of parents who face challenging situations. Helping them navigate through those challenges with grace and courage is what I do. I’m constantly scanning media– TV, films, books, or music–looking for viable teaching metaphors that can aid in my work.
I’ve also witnessed the the fallout of infidelity up close and personal with the couples and families who have come to my office. A recent episode that really grabbed me was Qualities & Difficulties (03/01/11 air date).
The episode chronicles the story of a younger brother, Crosby, who cheated on his fiancee, Jasmine, with his nephew’s tutor. Yea, I know . . . dumb, and typical for Hollywood. “I know where this is going” . . . I thought.
But here’s the twist.
Instead of championing the typical mantras that “sex is no big deal, it’s just sex,” “sex is just between two people,” and “what two people do sexually is no one’s business except them,” and all the other “there’s no consequences for unfaithfulness” doctrine, this episode exposes the catastrophic fallout of infidelity throughout an extended family–the couple themselves, the children, the siblings and their spouses, the grandparents, the nephews, the nieces, the tutor, the fiance. Everyone is touched by it. And it’s not good.
What was so vividly portrayed was how devastating infidelity really is!
The final scene is at Joel and Julia’s house. Julia is Crosby’s sister. They’ve had struggles in their young marriage. And as Joel walks down the steps and nervously sits down next to Julia on the couch, you can almost feel what’s coming. What I expected was a confession of his own betrayal of infidelity. Instead, he takes her hand, and begins with, “I need to tell you something.” “Okay,” Julia tentatively responses. He continues, “I will never cheat on you.” “you know. . . we’ve been through so much. And we’re going to go through so much more . . . you know . . . good and bad, we’re going to go through everything . . . and I will never . . . I will never cheat on you.”
Their embrace is priceless! And the expression on Julia’s face says it all: I’m safe and secure because I’m married to a one-woman man who has got my heart. Joel’s affirmation of faithfulness is all the more exquisite when displayed against the backdrop of Crosby’s unfaithfulness. After 8 years of marriage, this couple knows better than the day they got married what real love means and what real love requires. Passionate Faithfulness.
Faithfulness is the most costly and exquisite gift that one person can give to another that continually reaffirms, “I Love You no matter what.” And for those who are Jesus followers, it’s the model of love that Jesus himself demonstrates and invites us to follow his lead (Rev. 19:11).
So men, how bout it? It’s time to be honest. Are you more like Crosby or Joel?
If you’ve broken your woman’s heart through unfaithfulness like Crosby, it’s time to man-up and start the agonizing work of rebuilding broken trust. It will take time . . . a long, long time. Counseling, accountability, and vulnerability are vital to rebuilding trust and becoming a better man who is faithful and true.
Are you more like Joel? Then it’s time for you to passionately reaffirm your faithfulness to your bride. Do it today. Make it a practice to find little ways to demonstrate to her that you’re “a one-woman man” (1 Tim. 3:2). Because that’s what a real man who loves God and loves his woman does.
And I’m pretty sure her response will be something like Julia’s.