Many laws that were passed some time ago are now under scrutiny as relics of a bygone era—a time when people agreed on moral principles that are now up for grabs. Laws that enforced clean language, the sale of liquor and protected a spouse from adultery have all been challenged, and when a story of one of these laws being enforced makes news, it’s always in terms of how crazy the people are that still these laws, and how these laws need to be overturned.
Such is the case of the South Korean actress, Ok So-ri, who tried to overturn her country’s law against adultery—because she committed it (of course). In this case, her husband sought out 18 months in jail as a punishment for her transgression: the failure to keep her vows and maintain her monogamous relationship with her husband.
According to the current culture, adultery is the last big hurdle to overcome in having any kind of sex between adults being acceptable. It’s also the hardest, because it’s not just the physical relationship, but the breaking of a contract, the humiliation of the spouse, and the way this detonates—like an atom bomb to the family.
The culture likes to point to these laws as anachronistic—hence why people that aren’t even engaged in adultery may support measures to remove these laws. And yet, a marriage is a sort of contract—and the breaking of which should be punished by the law. It’s what the law is there to do.
To What End?
The question before us, however, is whether these laws are effective in maintaining marriages?
Well, what we do know is that it is obvious that in order to be guilty under the law, you have to have been caught. By now everyone knows that you’ve cheated. Looking into the motives of the person caught, they definitely do not want to bear responsibility for their crime because of the guilt associated with it, and to some extent the act of separating themselves from their spouse happened long ago.
Adultery Happens in the Mind Before it Happens Physically
When Christ told the disciples around the time of the Sermon on the Mount that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery in His heart He wasn’t only speaking about sin, He was highlight a truth that we all know deep inside.
Mainly, that physical sin is an outgrowth of mental sin. When we make a vow or a commitment, we do so mentally. We consent to do something, and it isn’t until we’re persuaded out of or decide to break that promise that we actually break it.
A person does not simply decide one day on a whim to commit adultery. It’s a thought that they’ve entertained. They’ve either fantasized about the excitement, they’ve dwelled on the reasons why their partner isn’t providing what they need, or they’ve looked for the opportunity. They’ve fed their mind on adultery, or the possibility, way before it actually happens.
That’s why it’s important for married couples to be physically intimate on a regular basis. That’s why it’s important to work close to your home, and keep short accounts—so that your spouse always knows where you are. And this is where Adultery law comes into play. If the fact that you will have to do jail time prevents you from entertaining the notion, prevents you from thinking the thoughts, then by all means it needs to be there.
Breaking promises and vows needs to carry a penalty to help keep the relationship strong—not to trap someone in a failed relationship, but to help people to realize that they need to work on theirs so that it does not fail.
9 thoughts on “Catch Me If You Can”
Great points… It’s so strange to me that divorce seems almost normal in our world. I’m 25 years old, and half of my high school classmates who got married are already divorced (and a couple are already remarried!!). I wish people would understand that love is more than a feeling, more than simply getting the “tingles,” I suppose, when that other person is around. It’s a daily decision to love him/her no matter what, to support your family in whatever needs to be done, and to never ever give up…Where is the commitment in the world??
Lois Lane IIs last blog post..Show off that tree!
@Lois Lane II: It’s so “normal” now that it’s expected and planned for. And if you watch our society’s entertainment, the couple rarely gets married at the end of the movie any more– they move in together or start seeing each other.
I don’t like where it’s all going.
I have noticed that. During the Thanksgiving holidays, my parents and I watched Fred Claus, and I remember just being so shocked that a KIDS movie didn’t talk about Fred and his girlfriend getting married — the “highlight,” I suppose, was Fred and his girlfriend moving in together.
Lois Lane IIs last blog post..Show off that tree!
@Lois Lane II: Never saw “Fred Claus” but I did see “Definitely Maybe” and I thought the whole thing was going to be the dad recounting why he loved his daughter’s mom and the two of them getting back together to make it work (a la Parent Trap) but it ended up just confirming that he really did love this other girl, and they move in together and the young daughter becomes so happy that her dad is happy not with her mom.
I mean, it’s unbelievable, sad, and teaching poor morals all at the same time.
Min, does the marriage vow actually state “I will not sleep with anyone that’s not you”? If it doesn’t, then like all contracts being implied is not enough and it can’t be enforced.
Secondly, on the issue of the movies, I’m glad some of the movies are promoting getting back together ‘for the children’. I’ve lived in house holds where the parents separate and come back together for the kids, and let me tell you its just plain miserable and leaves permanent personality marks on the kids they are trying to help. The best thing that ever happened to my family was a divorce and remarriage.
@Loc: I believe that if you check it out, the main vows state “forsaking all others.” Some would imply this goes further than simply abstaining from sex with another person, but could go as far as maintaining emotional purity from those of the opposite sex as well.
And I would go a step further and say that if the definition of marriage is defined as one man and one woman, then the addition of any other man or woman would be violating said contract.
As for your second point, each situation is different. However, I would rather be on the end that encourages couples to take their vows seriously and think about what marriage means before they go run off to the preacher because they have feelings for each other, rather than be the one encouraging demonstrating to children how people cannot get along and how when the going gets tough the tough leave.
By all means work on it before it becomes a problem, but I would rather be seen encouraging people to love self-sacrificially then physically or emotionally.
I can’t imagine an adultery law ever getting passed here in America. Obviously the founding fathers never thought it would become necessary to provide for the eventuality, or they would have! The best thing we can do is to train our children from very young in what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. And try to encourage young couples to do the right thing. Adultery is an epidemic destroying families all over.
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I agree with Mary – train children when they are young. I fear for what this country is quickly becoming with gay marriage, the skyrocketing divorces, and casual adultery. What’s it going to be like when our children get to be our ages?
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Truthfully, it will be both harder and easier on our kids. Harder in that the peer pressure will be strong and disease will be rampant. Easier in that it will be far easier to tell the true Christians from the unbelievers.
I suspect that it will also make courtship more popular in Christian circles, as more and more believers attempt to help their children find godly mates instead of leaving it up to “chance” and dating.