Well, tis’ the season for a valentine’s article. Last year we did a piece on looking for love. The madames loved it a lot. Today we are continuing that journey. Let’s talk about faithfulness in relationships. You are already singing that song about Nairobi. Good tune. May its words never come true for you. Amen. If they do you will be contending with a lot of physical and emotional damage.
Emotional damage is easy to relate with and it’s what a lot of people think about when they hear of unfaithfulness in a relationship. Some, like my friend Kai, have argued that being whipped on the eyeball by a cow tail is more painful than a heartbreak. We understand that his journey to excellence in agriculture was decked with unique experiences.
The physical damage is something most people don’t think about. Syphilis, chlamydia, HIV himself, HSV, gonorrhoea… these diseases still exist. They still prowl like an angry lion, looking for someone to devour. And boy can they devour.
Something else easy to relate with is the side of the victim. We can sympathize and empathize with the innocent one in the malady. Fair enough. It’s a human trait to mourn with our fellows when they undergo hardships.
What we never do is put ourselves in the shoes of the perpetrator. The horror. I can already hear Ivy-the-businesswoman screaming at me: Tema hiyo mate! Translation:Spit out that venomous Komodo-cobra saliva!Which sane person would ever think of such a thing? Me? A perpetrator in cheating? Me? (Insert obligatory One-punch man meme here).
Yes you. And me. And we. All of us. Think with me here. Who cheats in relationships? Demons? Nah. Humans! Some of them are even our friends. I hope we don’t praise them for it. It’s wrong enough that someone’s heart is in pieces. You don’t have to fuel God’s already boiling indignation while at it.
Listen up, you, me, we and all of us. If everyone decided that they are going to be faithful, then we would all be faithful. Sounds simple and straightforward. Almost worth a sarcastic clap for pointing out the obvious. But it’s true. Cheating only exists because people choose to do so. If people decided not to, cheating would stop. Cheating can’t do itself, it needs someone to do it.
There’s two ways we can look at this. Either someone woke up and without any provocation, decided to cheat. That’s not normal. That’s pathological. They need a collaboration of ISO-certified mental research institutions to attend to them. The other way is someone taking advantage of an opportunity. Now this is more common. And this is what all of us should be wary of.
There’s a monster within us all. A propensity to do evil. This monster just needs opportunity and then it manifests itself in ebullient fashion. That’s why we spend most of our childhood taming it so that we can become reasonable and decent adults. An untamed monster will jump at the opportunity to do mischief. A tamed monster will be strangled by the leash of his/her master, even in the face of temptation.
This world is brimming with ways to be evil. Cheating is one of them and it’s an opportunity we encounter later in life. So unlike other vices which we tame in our childhood, this one has to be culled when we are adults. I don’t know if you have ever dealt with adults but they are not an easy bunch.
We have to recognize, absurd as it sounds, that the monster in us will jump at a good opportunity to cheat unless we hold it by its scruff and lay down the law. And that’s not easy. Discipline is painful. But thank God we can build habits. If we can acknowledge the presence of this monster then we can start to show it who’s boss early enough. Like taming a feral dog. That way when the opportunity to cheat comes, (the devil is in this world and he revels in creating easy opportunities to sin. Deal with it) the dog will know to obey its master’s voice and not chase after that rotten bone.
We know by now that good things don’t just happen. That’s not how this world works. Good things exist because someone built them. In fact, I would argue that evil things occur almost by default and with little effort. Good things? We have to put in the work and be deliberate. So maybe we think we are the good people. We are the ones who will never hurt our spouses in that way. It won’t be automatic. We will have to call a meeting with ourselves and agree to keep our evil side in check. We will have to set boundaries for what the monster within can do and what it cannot do. A wise guy said, if the footmen have worn you out, will you keep up with the horses? We know the warning signs. Let’s not entertain them. That’s how you train yourself to turn away from the proclivity of the flesh. It starts with the small things. It always starts with the small things. Vilfredo Pareto said it. He has been right since 1896.