Marya Hayes explores six facets of faithfulness in marriage.
Sometimes I ponder the vows we take in marriage: “I promise to be faithful to you, in good times, and bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and honor you all the days of my life.” So what does it mean to be faithful?
I think many couples might assume that this means that they will not physically cheat on each other. Although this is included in the meaning of "faithful," there is much more to it. Let us break down some of the ways we need to be faithful to our spouse.
- We have mutually agreed that this will be our person for life. This person is the only person with whom we will share our bodies in an intimate way. Not only this, but we will not take the opportunity to lust after or expend our sexual attention on other people. I think this escapes many people because they have the false notion that if they are not touching, or texting, or physically being intimate, that they are being faithful. Many feel they have the “right” to look at whatever they want. Many do this looking in private so that the action is hidden from their spouse, while others will actually look at other men and women in the presence of their spouse. We can contribute our full selves to our marriage, but only if we are not splitting our attention.
- We have a duty to be faithfully Christian. We are to act in a Christian manner towards our spouse. Christians are known for many characteristics, namely faith, hope, and love. If we are not living by those standards, then we are letting our spouse down. We should be ever striving to increase our faith, our hope, and our love. Not only that but we should be helping our spouse to grow as well. How do you do that? We can lead by example and encourage.
- Faithful in confidence. Our spouse confides in us. We expect them to hold our inner fears and feelings in confidence. We expect them not to use our vulnerabilities against us. When we tell our spouse of our dreams and concerns, we expect that these private conversations will be kept private.
- When we marry, we trust that our partner for life will be faithful in trying to work things out. Both parties must faithfully work to forgive each other in times of conflict. Both parties must be faithful in trying to resolve and reconcile. The two are one flesh. Many married parties do their own thing and lead separate lives. This leads to less conflict until they grow so far apart that they barely know one another. When living closely there is more opportunity for unity and discord. When discord happens, use it to grow closer, with a deeper understanding of your spouse.
- Our spouse depends on us to perform duties that we have agreed upon. We need to be faithful to those duties. In a way these are promises that we made. If we do not do them, there might be conflict. They might not be written down, but our spouse relies on us to pull our weight in the marriage. This might mean going to a job, running our business, taking care of the children, cooking the meals, doing the cleaning, or managing the household finances.
- Faithfully providing affection and friendship. Your spouse really should be your best friend. I realize this is not always possible. With deterioration of a marriage, there can be a decline in affection and friendship. Best case scenario you are best friends, and you provide the level of affection that your spouse requires to be at their best.
While I am sure there are even more meanings to the word “faithful” in marriage, I encourage you to reflect on how you can improve your faithfulness in all its many facets. Like a shining diamond, your faithfulness and loyalty to your spouse will be apparent. Let us make sure our partners know who is #1, and that there will never be a #2. Why? Because we ARE faithful, trustworthy, and know the value and meaning of the word.
Copyright 2021 Marya Hayes
Images copyright 2021 Marya Hayes, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Marya Hayes is mother to 3 active teens and is a military spouse. Her days consist of running the household and her mini business, and driving her teens daily all over the planet. Her favorite saints include St Francis de Sales, Saint Benedict, Padre Pio, and JPII. Marya enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with the family outdoors. Pray, hope, and don’t worry!