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Normalizing infidelity

The personal values of so many progressives are a wrecking ball to a healthy society


Normalizing infidelity

A new study from the Survey Center on American Life shows that liberal women are far more likely to morally accept marital infidelity than their conservative counterparts. Only 36 percent of liberals say it is “always wrong” for a woman to have an extramarital affair, while 71 percent of conservatives do. Let’s be clear up front: There are no exceptions—infidelity is always sinful.

In a fascinating parallel, religious beliefs correspond almost exactly to these numbers. Pew found that 36 percent of progressives say that faith is “very important” in their lives and nearly half say they rarely, if ever, attend church. For conservatives, 70 percent say faith is “very important” to them and 80 percent attend church regularly or frequently. 

In an increasingly post-Christian society, it’s no surprise that moral clarity is ebbing in the wrong direction for those abandoning faith practices. The left has also been redefining marriage for decades now, a move that reached its apex in 2015 when the Supreme Court forced states to approve gay marriage. 

But what is marriage? There is disagreement on even the basic definition. As Christians, we know that God created marriage as an exclusive, lifelong, covenant relationship between man and woman to create children and symbolize His relationship with the Church. Non-Christians may view marriage as more temporary, emotions-based, and disconnected from the personal religious experience. 

This means they neglect the fact that marriage is intimately aligned with societal welfare and the flourishing of children. As Ryan Anderson has written, Americans should reject “revisionism” and help restore the things that stabilize our society, like “sexual complementarity, monogamy, exclusivity and permanence.”

Speaking of permanence, it was the arrival of no-fault divorce that really began to destroy marriage in modern society. As one writer put it, no-fault divorce was like “dropping a nuclear bomb into our nation’s social ecosystem.” Bringing it back to infidelity, 75% of divorces result from a “lack of commitment.” Big surprise there?

When people don’t understand the vital component strong marriages play in the flourishing of civilization, they’re apt to give fidelity in marriage less weight.

Too often, people view their personal choices in a vacuum, without stopping to recognize the radiating effects their actions will have on family and beyond.

The Department of Health and Human Services found that committed marriages result in children with better physical, emotional, and academic well-being. They also lead to better physical and mental health for couples, financial thriving and higher rates of happiness. With all of these components in place, people and the places they live prosper. And while most people will tell you they would “do anything” for their children, progressives are less likely to do the one thing that creates the most stability for them in life—remain faithful and committed to their child’s father or mother. 

In fact, divorce means children will face increased risk of depression and even developing bipolar disorder. And 91% of those who have divorced parents that remarry someone else will also see divorce in their future, further perpetuating a devastating cycle. Most studies find at least 40 percent of couples dealing with infidelity ultimately divorce.

So if 64 percent of liberal women can justify an affair, that doesn’t bode well for the future of their families. Too often, people view their personal choices in a vacuum, without stopping to recognize the radiating effects their actions will have on family and beyond. When personal happiness is the highest moral good, much relational and societal destruction will be left in its wake. 

By their own reporting, women on the left are the worst offenders in this regard. The American Life survey found that they are also more likely to give other women a pass on the moral hazards of an affair. Conversely, conservative women more evenly judge both sexes as “wrong” for infidelity. 

In her book Untamed, acclaimed self-love proponent Glennon Doyle Melton—who notably left her husband to marry a woman—writes that we need more women who are “full of nothing but themselves.” She also quotes Carl Jung, who said “There is no greater burden on a child than the unlived life of a parent.

It’s a convenient quote to fall back on. But when we live within the confines of moral reality, we must reckon with heaps of data that prove otherwise when it comes to spousal relationships. It’s time to unburden children with the complexities and trauma that comes with infidelity, divorce, and selfish parental choices. 

In a culture where morality is subjective, infidelity is bound to expand. And, in turn, America’s children and our society at large will pay the consequences.

Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Indianapolis. She is the author of Leaving Cloud 9 and is currently writing a book on women and faith to be released in 2022. Ericka hosts the Worth Your Time podcast. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christianity Today, USA Today, and more.

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