Loving someone or having sex is not a sin. It is just a natural way for us, humans, to express ourselves.
I recently read in the papers that the Indian Navy had sacked an officer of the rank of Commodore for having an affair with the wife of a fellow officer, also a Commodore. Both officers were at that time based in the Southern Naval Command in Kochi. And both had college-going kids. “Stealing the affection of his brother officer’s wife is simply unacceptable and the Navy has a clear zero tolerance policy towards the same,” a Ministry of Defence official was quoted by one of the papers I read.
Now, I have nothing to say about the Indian Navy’s protocols, rules and regulations. But conceptually I have a problem with the phrase “stealing the affection of someone”. How do anyone steal anyone’s affection? Yes, poets and lyricists have for the longest time romanticized the concept of “stealing someone’s heart”. But in reality affection and love are given – wilfully. They can never be stolen or forcibly taken away. So, if someone, as in this case, is married and is drawn to someone else outside the marriage, it really means the marriage, the relationship, did not fulfil that person’s emotional or physical needs. It means that there was no more relating in the relationship. And that this person related to another one, and not to his or her spouse. There’s nothing sinful, nothing wrong if such a situation arises. If anyone has a problem in a marriage, the best way to deal with it, after making sufficient attempts to resolve the issues, is to move on. There’s no point feeling suffocated, vegetated and listless in a relationship where there’s no more relating between the two parties.
However, the way people discover that their relationship with someone is over is through the way they start relating to someone else. Either they are drawn to someone because this new person is fulfilling an emotional need. Or maybe this person is fulfilling a physical need – which is about simply having sex. Or maybe there’s a strong bond, a special friendship that draws someone to another person. All these or more are indicative of the fact whatever one does not get in a relationship, one seeks in another. And there’s nothing wrong with this. As humans, we need affection, we need to be cared for, we need physical intimacy – and if we can’t get these with one person, we will naturally be drawn to someone who has these to offer us.
I believe that as individuals, and as a society, we must learn to respond to relationship issues with maturity. We cannot continue to dub a human need as a sin. Of course, people who seek love, affection and sex, outside of a relationship, must also be responsible about how they communicate their choices to their families. Especially when children are involved – the communication must be timed well and must be honest. There’s no point fearing social stigma or family pressure and therefore continue to keep the choice under wraps. When something natural is pursued clandestinely, it will be viewed scandalously. And that can hurt everyone involved. However, if the same choice is made openly, while it may shock and surprise initially, over time, everyone impacted by the choice will feel liberated. After all, who wants to be stuck in a relationship which had been dead for a long, long time!?