The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

November 14, 2012

What military spouses know about infidelity


Still, infidelity cannot be explained away, says military spouse and author Jacey Eckhart, who posted to a blog for spouses earlier this week:

[begin ital]

One of the results of the Petraeus admissions is that the question of fidelity between military couples rears its ugly head. I cannot bear all of the shrugging off of fidelity I have heard this weekend, as if infidelity for military couples is the logical result of spending so much time apart. . . . The thought that we should expect a little cheatage to come our way simply because we spend too much time apart is a poison in our culture. Infidelity is not acceptable. It is not inevitable. Faithfulness is not too much to ask for military couples. In fact, I think that it is because our military lives are so demanding on both the service member and the spouse that faithfulness is required of each of us. Every day. All the time. Physically. Emotionally. Financially.[end ital]

I'm all for faithfulness. But should its absence merit criminal action, as it does for service members under the Uniform Code of Military Justice? Another military wife I know, who has thought long and hard about infidelity after her husband admitted to several affairs on overseas assignments, thinks yes, telling me that "the military has a moral responsibility to spouses to enforce rules forbidding adultery. [The service member's wife] is literally at the mercy of the military commanders and puts her faith and trust in both her soldier and in the soldiers responsible for him to ensure that her own interests are being looked after."

But there's a wary undertone to these discussions because few military spouses believe that adultery is worthy of the tabloid-like headlines it has received during the last few days, particularly if there are no national security issues at stake. Many military spouses feel that the avalanche of media interest in the Petraeus affair is disingenuous at best — at worst, prurient with a pinch of schadenfreude. Not only do none of us want our marriage parsed by others, but we hear the profound truth in the Onion's recent headline, "Nation Horrified to Learn About War in Afghanistan While Reading Up On Petraeus Sex Scandal." Ten years of combat, and this is what grabs America's attention?

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