Adultery is a basis for divorce. But if you file for divorce on the basis of adultery, a spouse can raise the defense of condonation. That is to say that you condoned the adultery, that you somehow even encouraged the adultery. If a spouse is able to successfully defend this adultery divorce petition, you could not successfully get a divorce on those grounds.
The very idea that a person could say to their spouse “I’m ok if you sleep with other people,” is probably incomprehensible to a lot of people. This situation really seems to distort and degrade the institution of marriage and the sanctity of what is was meant to be, doesn’t it? Consider, for example, this New York Post story about a young Hassidic Jewish couple in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Can you even believe it?
But could it sometimes be forgivable or even “right” to allow one’s spouse to date and sleep with other people, i.e. to commit adultery and/or acts of infidelity?
For example, consider the following scenarios:
- A gay secret
Let’s say your spouse is gay and you know it. You have probably known it for some time, maybe even before marriage. But you both thought that it as something you could handle. You got therapy together, prayed a lot and otherwise hoped for the best. But this side of your spouse did not go away it only intensified over the years. But you have a bunch of little kids together now and with your spouse gone, it just would be devastating to the family. So what do you do? Do you divorce so your spouse can explore their gay options, or do you stay married on the surface but give your spouse permission to take lovers to the fullfillment of their heart?
Imagine you are ill with an incurable disease and the last thing you have strength or inclination for is sex. Both you and your spouse have discussed this and neither of you wants to end the marriage. But your spouse has needs. Would you give the green light for extra-marital affairs?
Imagine you have a difficult pregnancy. You are enormous, uncomfortable and totally unable to copulate for several months. Your spouse meanwhile is about to explode with sexual desire. Would you give your permission for them to get their fix with somebody else?
Imagine you are ultra tired and exhausted after a long life of so many things you have even lost track of all the things that contributed to your exhaustion. But you are exhausted; particularly with sex. You still love your spouse, though and neither of you wants a divorce. Would you be okay with your spouse taking a lover?
5. An Affair of Your Own
If you are immersed in an affair of your own, would you be fine with your spouse also taking a lover (if they asked your permission?)
If none of these scenarios grab your fancy, what scenarios can you think of that you would say yes to your spouse committing adultery with your condonation?
By the way, have you read Marion’s book?