This past Friday I attended a very interesting symposium in NYC. One of the topics was “Infidelity: Why Men and Women Cheat,” by Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg. He has written a new book by that title, which will be available to the general public on May 15th.
In his book, he speaks about the importance of emotional fidelity, perhaps even above sexual fidelity. Emotional fidelity is at the core of every good relationship, especially marriage. He lists (p. 231) some vows of emotional fidelity, which promise to put your relationship first and make it your most precious asset:
I promise that….
….you can trust that I will be there for you.
….I will put your first above others. Just after the needs of the children, your welfare will be my priority.
…..I have your back.
….I will create opportunities for you to feel great pleasure and to love.
….You can trust me to know you, that my word and intentions are good.
….I will endeavor, within reason, to mitigate your hardships.
….I dedicate myself to the intention, however imperfectly executed, that nothing will tear us apart, and everything will bring us closer.
Notice that in all these vows of emotional fidelity, you are not asking for or demanding anything.
In every item, you are giving. Too often couples focus on what they are not getting. The irony of love, he says, is that to ensure your happiness, you need to focus on what you are giving, not on what you are getting.