Skip to comments.Whatever Happened To Fidelity?
Posted on 05/27/2006 11:02:16 AM PDT by wagglebee
Broken promises are serious business. Every parent has heard the familiar childhood lament, But you promised! More often than not, the scene is highly emotional with bitter tears and anguish that rips your heart out. Sometimes there is blazing anger or hostility. All parents who have experienced such scenes mentally kick themselves for having created impossible expectations.
Thankfully, relationships dont require perfection, but they do have to be based upon honesty and trust. There is a limit to the broken promises a relationship can absorb. Since we all stand in need of Gods forgiveness, there is no better time to model humility and penitence than in sincerely asking forgiveness when we mess up on something we promised and didnt deliver.
If promises are often broken, however, the childs protest is likely to be accompanied by an air of caustic resignation that implies, I cant believe you; you never come through. When an outsider observes such attitudes in children, it is distressing and sad because, in such circumstances, the shameful history behind the development of those attitudes is obvious.
Such situations outrage fair-minded people. They offend our sense of justice and our belief that all children are entitled to consistency and honesty from those entrusted with their care.
Whatever the circumstances, the standard parental reply usually begins, Yes, but . . ., as the parent tries to explain to the aggrieved child frequently justifiably that something unexpected intervened that was beyond her control. But it better be the truth! Kids develop a special ability for detecting lies not long after they learn to yell No and Mine. Even if we manage to fool them, something in us, something at the core of our being, is damaged.
Lies do that, you know. Like other forms of injustice, lies consume innocence.
Fidelity, along with its antonym infidelity, is an old-fashioned word. In this era of me-first individualism, the significance of fidelity is often minimized. But the realities behind fidelity are integral to our interactions our negative responses to a broken promise or other violations of trust are as innate and reflexive as blinking the rain out of our eyes. No one has to teach us to be upset or offended when someone lets us down.
Fidelity also counts within our own selves. Break a promise you make to yourself and the damage is as real as when you renege on a commitment to a loved one.
Christs second great commandment is to love your neighbor as yourselves. On the surface, the commandment seems obvious and easy to fulfill. The truth is that it is remarkably easy to break promises to ourselves. And, nothing is a surer road to self-hatred and loathing. Of course, theres always rationalization which most of us are very adept at but a steady diet of rationalization compounds the damage to our self-respect. Experience soon teaches us that there are good reasons not to want neighbors who dont love and respect themselves or who dont keep their word.
We all have an innate desire for love, but love without fidelity is meaningless. No one has to teach us this truth; we know it intuitively and it figures in our decisions as to whom we want to know and be known by, in every sense of the word.
What has happened in the last 40 or 50 years to our regard for fidelity and honor? Why have these virtues become so neglected when the betrayal of trust is such a devastating injury?
In part, fidelity has been displaced by phony lip service about being nonjudgmental. Why has this latter virtue which so many people talk about but few actually practice become so elevated? Perhaps because not being judgmental seems, on the surface, to be so much less difficult than it actually is; on the other hand, it doesnt take long to learn that keeping your promises is sometimes going to be an expensive, thankless proposition.
Call it Greshams Law of Virtues: pick the virtue that costs you the least.
Sometimes, being nonjudgmental is a rather dignified way of saying, Hands off. Mind your own business. Ill live my life the way I please, thank you very much. More often, it is simply a dodge, a means of rejecting the constraint of moral boundaries.
In recent months, we have seen these principles played out in popular culture by movie star Tom Cruise.
Cruise put aside the vows he made to Nicole Kidman, divorced her just as he did his first wife and, after a couple of high-profile affairs, took up with a much younger (perhaps more malleable) woman who is not much more than a girl. Hes in love, you understand, and he went on television to jump up and down telling Oprah and the whole world how deliriously happy this new love has made him. But . . . despite getting Katie Holmes pregnant, he simply couldnt find the time in his busy, busy, oh-so-very-busy schedule to marry her before their daughter, Suri, arrived.
Of course the public is supposed to join Katie in making allowances for him because he is a celebrity and because hes rich, famous and charming (at least in the eyes of his fans). Also, theres his recent revelation that he was abused as a child. Still: Can someone explain to me why this young woman should take Cruise at his word that he loves her? Because shes pretty? Well, Nicole Kidman wasnt exactly run-of-the-mill. Why should Katie expect that he will be true to her when at least three previous, beautiful women couldnt count on his promises? Besides, Katie wont be pretty forever.
Oh sure, even if they, as the saying goes, grow apart, therell likely be more than enough money to pay the bills, assuming Cruise has a decent investment advisor. But ask most kids if the money is whats really most important to them. Those children whove been down this road tell a bitter story about how it feels when mom and dad dont stay together and in love.
At any rate, all the publicity either because the wedding makes a huge splash, or not might help Katies career. Careers are important, you know. Maybe Mission Impossible III will shore up Toms career. Its opening box-office receipts, however, indicate he may be past his peak. Their child, Suri . . . who can say? Maybe she will, and maybe she wont, have to adjust like the stars other two kids and the millions of other children whose world gets ripped apart when their folks trade down from 'til death do us part to merely as long as love shall last.
Without fidelity, life can have an awful lot of maybes.
Please spare me the threadbare cliché about how resilient kids are. Sure, wounds do heal . . . but they can leave really ugly scars some that disfigure and impair and they tend to last a lifetime. Kids really do have this huge need for unconditional love from the kind of parents who keep their promises to each other and to their children.
And, fidelity? Isnt that the name of some bank or insurance company?
Whatever Happened To Fidelity?
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Yes, this is an excellant report of a large moral problem we face.
What a great article. If somebody goes back on their word, how good are they? How trustworthy? How attractive?
And it finished up with an absolutely correct analysis of what infidelity and its consequences does to the children.
God help us all.
Nothing irritates me more than people who use the cop out "I don't make promises"
· Feminism is another facet of Communism (Feminism is the vehicle for Communism)
· Feminism is dedicated to the destruction of family
· Feminism is about HATE and VIOLENCE
· Feminism and the butcher of children
· Feminism and the connection to homosexuality
· Feminism and sex
· Feminism's tie to the occult and witchcraft
· N.O.W. Remains Dedicated to the Right to Marry for Same-Sex Couples (Feminism - on the FRONT LINES of the Homosexual Marriage push)
· Feminists Destroying Marriage and Relationships (Whats hers is hers, and whats his is hers too...)
· Criminalizing masculinity (Feminist MISANDRY - Passionate HATRED of Males)
· Andrea Dworkin as the Feminist Queen of HATE (Feminism is all about HATE)
· Feminism is INSANITY (Feminist Logic Only Leads to Disaster)
· The State Matriarchy (Enforced Destruction of Society and Marriage by feminist ideology)
· Planned Parenthood Perversity - promoting statutory rape? (Radical Feminist agenda to advance sexual perversion and the destruction of young girls)
· What Have Feminists Done to American Fathers? (First rule of feminism, SLAUGHTER THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY)
· FEMINIST NEO-MARXIST HATE GROUP ADVANCES LEGISLATION IN THE CONGRESS (Is N.O.W. an anti-American Marxist Front Group?)
· Where's Dad? Fatherlessness is DESTROYING America - do YOU know WHY? (We may be the only society in history that has voluntarily chosen mass fatherlessness)
· FEMINISM IS COMMUNISM (Still MORE Quotes. Some may be duplicates, but there are many)
· What Feminist Leader Betty Frieden Didn't want you to Know! (Feminism and its roots in Communism)
· Bush Anti-Divorce Proclamation (LARGE image - 479K) (Bush Attack on Feminist Anti-Family Policies)
· Eradicating The Heterosexual Family (How Feminists and Democrats Seek to Undermine America)
Great links, thanks.
Another one of those CYA phrases people are so fond of these days.
Thanks, Woodb01. Very useful links. I agree with you that feminism is the cause of many problems.
I thought Fidelity Investments had gone belly-up!
What truly bothers me is that Conservative Women continue to opine about Men refusing to Marry. When Christian Women in the Bible Belt Divorce their Husbands at a higher rate than Non-Christians. Do you know the Divorce rate in California? It is at 76%. And Women initiate 75% of Divorces.
Feminism is killing our Republic. Conservative Women you cannot have it both ways. Either defend true Equality or stop the pretenses already. Why do so many Conservatives pander to the FemNags? The US Senate reauthorized VAWA 2 with 100% voting for this FemNag Pork.
Anything remotely Masculine is impugned in this culture. And major Corporations in this Republic support Feminist Activists like Oprah. Her car give away was done by GM. FemNag Liberal shows are funded by Advertisers pandering to US Women their primary customers. US Women make 85% of Consumer purchases. Are buying 50% of US Luxury Cars, making 90% of Home purchase Decisions.
US Men have been reduced to Beasts of Burden. This according to a Feminist Attorney who marched with Gloria Steniem in the 1960s. Her conscience no longer allows her to remain silent. Who will fight the Islamo Fascist Thugs? Metrosexuals who care about Hair Products? Please give me a Break. If this Republic is to survive hard choices will have to be made. Freedom's death is one generation away. It must be fought for, it must be defended. Choose our Republic or your Bhurkas.
I agree with you. I am a conservative woman who doesn't cater to them at all. I frequently call them on their inconsistencies. Equal pay for equal work is about as far as I'll go. Beyond that, we need to understand that equality does not mean "the same" and it's about time women understand that. We've been sold a bill of goods for the past 30 years by a bunch of radical, man-hating women and haven't taken a good hard look at our own part in it. Women complain about men not wanting to marry, about men expecting free sex, about men not wanting to be protectors and providers. As Maya Angelou once said, "we teach people how to treat us." That is the answer. We taught men to behave that way and until we expect more and clean up our own act, we will get more of the same.
And, no, I am not a woman-hating woman. I believe we are quite blessed to be women. It's about time we start acting that way.
>God help us all.<
I have been a member of CWA for over 25 years, and I heartily concur with Janet Crouse's article. It all breaks down to being true to one's word, which should occur with maturity, if not before. Everywhere one looks the past fifty years or so, the more one finds an excuse to be less of an honorable and responsible person. I do not think this is by chance. People, like the example of Tom Cruise, don't have to mature, "because no one else is doing it." Thus the breakdown in the strength and backbone of a country -- the family. Jesus showed us the way. It's all in the Bible, the greatest handbook to life every written.
I think that went down during the Savings and Loan/Keating 5 scandals...
Alive and well here on Free Republic, I'd submit.
I wonder: How can he look himself in the mirror in the morning? How can he take any pleasure in his new marriage, knowing he walked out on his first wife and family? What does he say to his children?
And how can his new wife ever trust him?