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According to Webster Dictionary, deceit is an act or practice, intended to mislead by a false appearance or statement. Deception may be the most damaging aspect of infidelity. Deception and lies shatter the reality of others, eroding their belief in the validity of their perception and subjective experience. The betrayal of trust brought about by a partner’s secret involvement with another person leads to a shocking and painful realization on the part of the deceived party that the person he or she had been involved with has a secret life and that there is an aspect of his or her partner that he or she had no knowledge of.
Damaging another person’s sense of reality is immoral. While keeping a relatively insignificant secret from someone you are close to diminishes that person’s reality, going to great lengths to deceive someone can actually make them question their sanity. It is true that feeling an attraction or falling in love may be experiences that are out of our control, but we do have control over whether we act on those emotions, and being honest about talking those actions is critical to having a relationship based on real substance.
When we treat our partners with respect and honesty, we are true not only to them but to ourselves. We can make decisions about our lives and our actions without compromising our integrity or acting on a sense of guilt or obligation. When we restrict our partners, we can compromise their sense of vitality, and we inadvertently set the stage for deception. This is not to say that people shouldn’t expect their partners to be faithful, but rather that couples should try to maintain an open and honest dialogue about their feelings and their relationship.
When an affair occurs, denial is an act of deception that works to preserve the fantasy that everything is okay. Admitting that something is not okay or that you are looking for something outside the relationship is information that your partner deserves to know. Emotions sprung from deception, such as anger or suspicion, can tear a relationship apart, but more importantly they can truly hurt another person by shattering their sense of truth.
An ideal relationship is built on trust, openness, mutual respect and personal freedom. But real freedom comes with making a choice, not just about who we are, but with how we will treat that person. Choosing to be honest with a partner every day is what keeps love real. And truly choosing that partner everyday by one’s own free will is what makes love last. So while freedom to choose is an exciting aspect of any healthy and honest union, deception is the agent that should never be welcomed in a relationship. Individuals look on the outward appearance, God however, is always concerned with the heart, the reality and condition of what is on the inside, because if the heart is clean so will be the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of this stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (RSV)