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The Damn Seventh Commandment

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If Moses was to come back to this generation, we would ask him to confront and petition God to remove one commandment from the list of ten. That would be the Seventh Commandment.

This is the commandment that dis-embraces all sexual encounters prohibited among the unmarried – trespassing in the thighs (ouch) of another man or woman’s partner, let alone simple felonies like fornication, incest, rape, even simple lust! This is one commandment that is ruptured left, centre and right. Marriages have broken because of this; people have been killed because of trespassing in bedrooms that aren’t legally theirs. People have devised ways of evading the one they are legally married to, in order to simply break this commandment.

Statistics show that up to 50% of divorces are a result of infidelity by one partner [the one caught] and the other 50% is shared among a whole host of other reasons. If infidelity amounts to such a high percentage, and we are in the possession of figures of numerous others cheating on their spouse, (yet not yet caught or waiting to be caught), then, the Seventh Commandment is but a pain in the butt. In one frame of mind, we feel we have lost the battle against control of our sexual drive.

There clearly is an unwillingness to condemn adultery. We have become a society that is increasingly reluctant to make any judgments about sexual behaviour. One can lamely argue that our society's attitude to sex is a result of the 1960s sexual revolution. The revolution so robotized our morality on the sexual front that people no longer hold the sacredness of sex, especially stealing from that which is not theirs. Infidelity has become so common and fashionable that friends share secrets on how they are romping it out behind their spouse’ back. Whenever such a topic comes up, people talk it out with such ridicule and easiness that infidelity appears like a pastime activity, or talk show to entertain an audience. Such has become of our present society, and there are a wide range of reasons to justify this lack of respect for chastity even among the married couples. Society refuses to judge sexual impropriety because so many of us have been guilty of similar actions.

People indicate that sexual promiscuity is not the idle kind of life, even though they have no clue how they can live without doing this against their married partners. People think adultery is wrong the way models think it is good to be thin, yet they lack the will to keep off the weight. Many people do not want to admit to condoning what's basically seen as sinful or immoral behavior, nor do they wish to be betrayed, but they want to leave the door open for their own wishes to be actualized. Study has shown that infidelity is the primary cause of divorce, yet we tend to hear of varying reasons when couples take one another to court for divorce. To my cheating sisters, here is what’s driving fellow women to cheat. [Men have different reasons; that will be subject to another article].

It is noticeable however that our modern cultures promote and glamorize and even defend adultery. Katie Roip describes in an illuminating article in the New York Times Magazine that, "….we have grown much more tolerant of adultery, at least when it comes to women. Women's magazines practically recommend it to their readers as a fun and health activity, like the buying of a new shade of lipstick..." The Elle Magazine says, "an affair can be a sexual recharging, an escape from a none stimulating relationship, a way into something better".   The Harper Bazaar tells us that "if a woman has an adulterous affair, she is asserting her femininity". Is that so?

Society has romanticized adultery or use it as a humorous tool to provoke laughter, as if the hurt and betray are trivial. What kind of values do we attach to marriage and fidelity? Do we notice that people arrive at values through exposure to what their society accepts, and what people laugh at or yearn for will spark imitation and acceptance?

A married woman friend of mine reports that it is too easy when you are married to look for comfort elsewhere when trouble is occurring at home. How then do we deal with troubles in the house when they face us? Some would suggest avoiding watching soap operas, reading novels for an "unreal" image of life and love, watching movies, videos or programs that condone or glamorize adultery. Some have found consolation in such activities and ended up taking that up as remedy measures, seeking for the fun that they read about in novels or watch in movies. That has racked their marriages and destroyed the relationship they would have built with partners and families for many years. Men would resort to the insidious acts like porno, and rushing for one night stand! But how else does the woman folk fail in this category, according to women friends?

Fashion trends have had their contributions. My neighbour tells his daughters to be mindful of how they dress, in this fashion frenzy age. He would say to them, "Don't ‘advertise’ unless you have something to sell".  The woman’s body has been treated as an item for advertisement. Most of the adverts on billboards and in the media have scantily dressed women. And our sisters parade their bodies freely in the name of freedom and fashion. Of course they have the right to dress in any way they want. Yet, few think of the respect and worthy of their bodies. Dressing has become an issue even in churches; I have noticed how people dress on Sundays when they attend church services, yet, after, when they lime around, they are literally naked. Yes, no miniskirts, no revealing clothes, no cleavage showing unnecessarily.

One wonders! Of all the impulses and human drives of man and woman, sex is probably the most powerful and difficult to manage. Sex is "natural" why should the human animal attempt to control its expression? Some have asked. We have heard of such an argument before. Is adultery or breaking of the Seventh Commandment a result of how we present ourselves?  I am just trying to find out, from cheaters and the cheated!

Capulet B Chakupeta




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