There is a saying that the most beautiful woman has not yet been born. If a husband does not guard his eyes, he will ditch his wife. Basket ball superstar, Kobe Bryant (25) learnt this the hard way in 2003 when a 19 yro woman accused him of raping her in his hotel room. Facing a 25 yrs to life jail sentence, he initially rebutted the allegation,
but when police told him they had evidence, he firmly denied raping her but confessed to having sex with her which was adultery against his wife of two years and mother of his daughter. Further probe exposed strings of affairs with other women unknown to his wife. Due to inconsistency in the woman’s testimonies and her refusal to testify in court, the case never went to trial and was settled out of court.
Yet, much damage has been done to Bryant’s career but more important, to his marriage. His wife, Vanessa, felt deeply betrayed and humiliated but unlike other woman didn’t immediately file for divorce. Perhaps, she understood what most people do not understand: adulterous men are often victims of their own weaknesses: a deep inclination to respond sexually to the sight of any beautiful woman.
In the video, “Sex and the power of visuals,” Dennis Prager argues that the mere sight of a beautiful woman alone is enough to sexual arouse an average normal man yet it takes far more to arouse a woman. That is why men spend millions annually to see women with little or no clothing on. Magazines market their products with pictures of women with little to no clothing on, or even parts of women, like legs and breasts.
On the other hand, many women commit adultery not because of an overwhelming sex urge on sighting a handsome man, but because they are looking for something or are in one form of trouble or another. In many cases, financial difficulties push wives into adultery, especially when their husbands are struggling financially or when they are emotionally or sexually dissatisfied or desire children that their husbands can’t give; studies also show that women are more attracted to men who are successful–superstars, men with money.
At a net worth of millions of dollars, Kobe had lots of female fans who would literally do anything for him, no holds barred, even setting sexual traps. As the story went his rape accuser had offered to show him the tattoo on her back. To be faithful, it therefore means that a man must guard his eyes and thus his heart. An involved effort not to “look” at a beautiful woman is hard swallow for many men, yet with little effort of self-mastery, it can be learnt. There is a subtle difference between “looking” and “seeing”.
A man can “see” a woman without necessarily “looking” at her–which is taking in the details of her size, shape and figure. A husband who is looking at a woman who isn’t his wife is merely looking for trouble and is on a short route to infidelity. It goes without saying that husbands who watch internet pornography are willing dupes of Satan who has them bound in cast iron chains on the path to marital destruction.
Forgiveness and mercy
Many spouses wouldn’t be quick to run to divorce courts if they knew that in most cases, adultery stems from weakness on the part of the offending spouse rather than malice or an absence of love. Studies show that 56% of husbands who admitted to cheating said that they were happy with their marriages while 34% of adulterous wives rated their marriage as “happy”.When spouses better understand the factors enabling adultery, they can easily overcome angst and work towards helping their spouses overcome their weaknesses.
Vanessa Bryant overcame her angst and “manned” up to the task of helping her husband overcome his failings by talking with a priest. “One thing that really helped me during that process was talking to a priest and that was the turning point,” Kobe told GQ Magazine. “It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks,
‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.” Talking with a priest or going for “spiritual direction” is not only popular among Catholics like Kobe and Venessa Bryant, but is often practiced by many people unawares.
People seek the advice of a mechanic or a plumber because they know more about cars and plumbing. Likewise when sick, people go to speak to a doctor. Bryant was spiritually sick, he cheated on his wife and was facing jail term; he was in need of spiritually healing and needed talk with a good mender of bad souls. Everyone who has read the bible is familiar with the story of King David who committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and to cover up his crimes had Uriah killed in a battle, but God sent the prophet Nathan to talk to him and acknowledged his sins and repented.
When people are ill, they go to a doctor, and not just any doctor but a good doctor. Accordingly, couples should do what in business is called “due diligence” to find the best spiritual consultant to solve their problems. Be he a priest, a relative or a friend, he should be a person who leads a worthy life, with a deep piety, wisdom, experience, maturity, zeal for souls and an unquestionable faithfulness to all the Church’s teaching. He need not have formal training in spiritual direction.
Couples should remember that it’s not just a one off talk; they should try to make it a regular visit because healing can take many years and the root cause of infidelity may lie in deep recesses difficult to reach. Thus regular spiritual direction will help couples talk over issues relating to their marriage and family, work, friendship, and social life and this can bring them closer together.
There should be an effort to address a very particular area of their life which needs improvement, that defect or fault that keeps them from making more rapid progress. From time to time they may simply need to unburden themselves of unexpected joys and sorrows that come their way. If they are seeing a priest for direction, they may also want to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Penance, adding the sacramental grace to the actual graces received from being open and docile in spiritual direction.
Thus every spouse should know that adultery isn’t necessarily the end of marriage. If the offending spouse is served understanding, forgiveness and mercy rather than divorce papers, marital harmony may return even richer. This was how the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant saved their marriage and they have been married for 18 years now with 4 adorable children.