Infidelity: Ancient and Current

By Rev. Alan F. Steinke, LCSW-R, LCC Pastoral Therapist

Infidelity is rampant. The most recent studies indicate that 44 to 52 percent of men, and 25 to 30 percent of women have affairs. But infidelity is nothing new. In II Samuel, chapter 11, we read of King David and his lust for Bathsheba which became a very famous, vicious and heinous infidelity. It is worth a reading as an adjunct to these paragraphs.

We know that adultery has shadowed marriage from the beginning, and so too has the taboo against it. Infidelity is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible—one for committing it (the 6th) and one for thinking about it (the 10th).

Infidelity has a ripple effect that emanates from the marital (or primary) dyad, and troubles the waters of security, peace of mind, and self-esteem of all family members. Children are the first casualties. Young children may not know the meaning of the word “infidelity” but they will know its effects by the way mommy and daddy treat one another, or the way either one leaves the house and never returns to tuck them in at night.

Older more knowledgeable children will lose respect and trust for a primary role model. They will be tossed into a rolling sea of ambiguity that will muddy all their personal attempts at intimate relationships. The couples’ parents, siblings and friends will have a lesser disorientation determined by their prior relationship with the couple. Of course, the betrayed and the betrayer have the most profound reactions once the splattered mist of infidelity has been lifted and revealed. One betrayed young man said to me recently, “It was a partial amputation of my soul. I had to live with it or die. I live very well by most measures, but I’ll always miss that part of my soul that never stops bleeding.” Infidelity and its implications are global and complex, but its signature is always pain.

The digital age has presented new questions related to infidelity. Is viewing online porn an infidelity? What about flirting with a coworker by texting? Or visiting Tinder or other such web sites? Some say yes, some say no. What say you?

At Lutheran Counseling Center, we can provide spiritual counseling and pastoral psychotherapy to the betrayed, the betrayers, the children, and anyone disturbed by an infidelity. We remember that after King David’s transgression, his and Bathsheba’s first baby died. We also remember that the Lord could have dethroned him. But He did not. Instead David remained king and a progenitor of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ—his Lord and ours.

Rev. Alan Steinke, LCSW-R, is a retired as pastor with the English District-LCMS where he served as a member of the Ministerial Health Commission. Rev. Steinke has a MSW degree from Yeshiva University, NY, NY and a Master of Divinity Degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.  Rev. Steinke is a clinical supervisor with LCC and sees clients in the Mineola office.  He is counselor-in-residence one day a week at Trinity Lutheran School in Hicksville.

Call the Lutheran Counseling Center at 516-741-0994 or 1-800-317-1173 or e-mail us at for more information or to set an appointment at one of our nine counseling sites throughout Metro New York.

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