Subsequent Marriage Does Not Justify an Affair

8 May

I think we all would agree with the above title, regardless of our religious beliefs, but it is interesting to see how filmmakers play with that theme.  

I just finished watching The Winds of War on Netflix, the first time since I saw it as a TV mini-series back in 1983 (when I was moving into my apartment in Jacksonville, Florida.  My mom, who was down helping me, got to know one of my male friends from the squadron really well, as I asked him to let us watch the series at his place, once Mom and I were out of our hotel.  I didn’t have a good broadcast signal at my apartment!  The good old days!).  

For those of you who know The Winds of War (and the follow-on story, War and Remembrance, which I borrowed on VCR tapes from the library when we first moved here, about 1993.  I actually read that novel during my chemotherapy in 2008 also!), Herman Wouk writes about World War II.  As the world falls apart, a naval officer and his two naval officer sons hit the seas in a battleship, a submarine, and an aircraft for some white knuckle battle scenes!  Meanwhile, the family adds members by marriage as the parents’ marriage breaks up, introducing new partners to the melange of personalities.

Thing is, Pug Henry and Rhoda, his soon-to-be ex-wife, handle their subsequent romances differently.  She sleeps with her friend, widower Palmer Kirby, while her husband is away.  Palmer immediately starts trying to “make an honest woman of her” by getting her to leave her husband and marry him.  They remain intimate all along until they can legally marry.  

Pug, on the other hand, loses his heart to Pamela Tudsbury, the much younger daughter of a British friend.  She starts trying to seduce him immediately, but the war’s circumstances never quite allow him the choice to sleep with her (what his choice would have been remains ambiguous).  At one point, he tells her, “If I love you enough to have an affair with you, I love you enough to leave Rhoda and marry you.  To me, the damage is the same.”  

He makes that statement while unaware that his wife has already compromised their marriage.

Of course, both couples wind up married after Pug and Rhoda divorce, which is, I suppose, a plea that even fallen, sinful humanity deserves a bit of happiness.  

However, Pug was right.  The damage is the same, whether someone has a secret affair or leaves his spouse.  In God’s eyes, the marriage is broken by adultery either way.  

Further, what Pug did not say, but what is also true, is that Jesus said looking on a woman with lust in your heart is also adultery, even when no sex takes place.  So Pug’s confession of love for Pamela, prior to the breakup of his marriage, was also sin, even though no sex took place at that time.  

The producers badly want to portray Rhoda as weak and fallen (yet create sympathy for her), but to show Pug as strong and honorable.  Problem is, it is not honorable and strong to line up your options for a follow-on marriage while you are still legally married to someone else.  

I won’t go into whether someone should remarry after a marriage is broken on Biblical grounds.  Smarter people than me have thought and written on that and I am not sure I can speak for every circumstance that happens.

I will just say I would have preferred to have seen Pug meet Pamela after Rhoda had left their marriage.  That is the only way I would have been able to label him strong and honorable.  Watching him play kissy-face with Pamela, then return to his wife with his honor supposedly intact was a manipulation of our hearts by the series producers!

They want us to agree with them that looking on a woman with lust in one’s heart is not really a sin after all, as long as the man goes honorably home to his wife after his trip to Berlin, or Moscow, is over.

I get it that one theme of the series is that war changes things a lot.

I just don’t believe it changes the eternal Word of God.


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