My Husband’s Lover was that notorious TV series from last year about a married couple. The husband cheated on the wife – nothing new there. What took the public by storm was that the husband cheated with another man. It turns out that the husband was gay all along, the man he cheated with was an old flame, and he got married for the purpose of hiding his true sexuality from his domineering parents, particularly his father – a military man and a staunch advocate against homosexuality.
I just got to thinking – what made this show so popular? Married couples cheat all the time – both men and women. Psychologists have all sorts of answers to explain why. Then it hit me: the show deals with a new spin on infidelity that the society has not yet started to explore – a spouse cheats because cheating allows a venue to remove the mask they were forced to wear as a consequence of the marriage they got into.
One of the most important lessons this show drove home is the importance of being true to one’s self. It reminds us of the importance of developing the strength of character to stand up for who we really are, even if it means defying the norms that our families live by. The need to confront one’s true identity is so strong that, as this show reflected, it may one day be too late. Its too late when you have a spouse who has no idea that he or she is living a lie. Its too late when you have a family you need to keep together. Of course, the truth will always be known and mistakes can always be corrected. But when its too late for the truth to come out, mistakes cannot be corrected without suffering some consequences.
The show leads the audience to these difficult questions: is it better to continue living a lie to keep a family together, or is it better to finally admit the truth and set everyone free? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. I am all for truth, honesty and freedom. But I also believe in taking responsibility for one’s decisions and actions. Marriage and starting a family are both big steps in a person’s life, and its not something to jump into spontaneously. At the same time, we can’t ignore the reality that many people get married for reasons other than love. Some people get married for ulterior motives and, albeit disturbingly, the marriage actually works.
In the final balance sheet, the show once more confronts us with these values: truth, honesty and acceptance. A marriage can work so long as the people involved are truthful and honest from the start. If not, this is where acceptance comes into the equation. A marriage can work if the deceived spouse can accept the deception.