Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 21, 1967
NUMBER 33, PAGE 6b-7a

Healthy Adultery

Charles L. Morton

Under the heading, "The New Look In Marriage," an editorial appeared in the Cleburne Times Review, September 22, 1967. The Article reported the suggestions of two speakers at a recent convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C. These suggestions were "trial marriage for a five-year period, 'healthy' adultery to make wedlock more tolerable, and a premarital 'apprentice period' to test compatibility."

It was proposed that marriage should be contracted by a five-year renewable contract. If the first five years were unsuccessful, the marriage could be dissolved "without undue stress and strain." If the marriage worked, the contract would be renewed for a second five years, and so on.

It was Dr. Albert Ellis, a New York psychologist, who offered the thought that adultery may well be what the family "needs" to make it "slightly more tolerable." To be completely fair with the doctor, we must emphasize that he cautioned that the adultery must be "healthy." He then stated further that "Healthy adultery is better than mahjongg or television."

In discussing the question, "What is healthy adultery?" the doctor said that a healthy adulterer is one who can carry on extra-marital unions without destroying marriage and family relationship. He then commented that "Hordes of healthy husbands and wives become involved in extra-marital affairs."

To be honest with the editors of the Cleburne newspaper, it would be emphasized that the above mentioned facts were stated — AND THEN DISAGREED WITH! Having stated Dr. Ellis' definition of "healthy adultery," the newspaper then replied editorially:

"...hordes of other husbands and wives seem to get along without such diversions — and that many of them are apparently healthy. And happy.

If the learned speakers who offered these proposals to their learned colleagues at the convention were kidding, it's unfortunate that they were taken seriously.

If by any chance they were serious, it's nice that they were so handy to a psychiatrist.- The suggestions for "healthy" adultery and renewable marriage licenses were probably offered with all seriousness. Human nature being what it is, it is unlikely that our generation is any more immoral than previous generations. There has been "hardness of heart" toward the sanctity of the marriage relationship since the days of Moses (Matt. 19:7), and adultery has been in the world for about as long as mankind has been here.

The fact, however, that our society talks about "healthy" adultery, together with the fact that it will be considered seriously enough to be reported in a small town newspaper, leaves much to be desired. The word of God still says that marriage is to be contracted for life (Matt. 19:3-12, etc.) and not on some five-year renewable basis. Marriage is not an experiment. It is to be entered into as God ordains it — and for so long a time as the husband and wife shall live (Rom. 7:1-6). The Word of God still lists adultery and fornication as works of the flesh and then forewarns us that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-22).

This writer is not personally acquainted with the owners and editors of the Cleburne Times-Review. It is to be regarded as commendable that these suggestions before the American Psychological Association were reported by the newspaper, not on the front page as a news item — but on the editorial page so that shock, objection, and nausea might be registered.

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