My favorite guilty pleasure is watching Scandal every Thursday night. Even when we went to Costa Rica, I had hubby download the current episode so I wouldn’t miss anything.
Besides loving the suspense, plot twists, and intense love affairs, I love the questions it forces us to ask and how emotional people get after watching it.
Yesterday, after watching the newest episode, I scrolled through my facebook statuses and was shocked to see so many people appalled about the adultery in the show.
If you don’t watch the show, let me give you a quick recap. The President of the United States, Fitz, is married to a woman he does not love. His wife knows this. Everyone around him knows this. Instead, he is in love with an advisor from his presidential campaign. They have an on again off again love affair. Well, this past Thursday, they turned it back on. For more on the episode that inspired this post, watch it here.
People were really upset that the adulterous couple got back together. This really made me think about our concept of morality. When did we become a culture that believes in morality at all cost? Forget our passions. Forget our desires. Forget our happiness. We must follow a very specific and limiting code of conduct. Even if this code makes us miserable, and we all secretly break the code from time to time, at least we’re right.
Morality is not a real measure of integrity. It is based on superficial, cultural values and codes. True spirituality and integrity comes from the soul. It’s embedded in life, spirit, and passion. But somehow we’ve come to believe passion is irrational and unreliable so we must choose this false sense of what is right.
If we can’t learn to trust our passions and desires, how do we expect to live happy and fulfilling lives?
While cheating is considered immoral in our culture, it is just a symptom of a larger problem in a relationship. I believe the most destructive part about the love triangle with Fitz, Olivia, and Millie is the circumstances that cause Fitz and Millie to be in a loveless marriage. Can you imagine? Spending your life with someone you don’t love. Pretending to feel something you don’t. Pretending to be someone you’re not.
The tragic problem is not that Fitz is cheating on his wife. That is only a result of their lifeless marriage. The real problem is that their relationship lacks passion and authenticity. His relationship and his life makes him feel dead, and so he seeks another woman to make him feel alive. Fitz also makes her feel alive. He has confessed his love for his mistress and has told his wife he does not love her. Their marriage is a partnership. So who’s really married? The couple with the state issued piece of paper or the couple who shares undying passion and love for one another?
Which part of ourselves should we honor? The part that operates out of obligation or the part that acts out of our heart’s desires. Which part can we trust to lead us in the right direction?
Am I condoning cheating on your spouse? No. But I believe in the sanctity of love more than marriage. And I’m not sure there’s anything more sad that a loveless marriage. If a person happens to discover their marriage or relationship has become dull, lifeless, and dead, they will most likely make a lot of mistakes trying to escape it. But I believe it’s better to let go, any way you can, than stay because of obligation and responsibility.
In a perfect world, Fitz would never have gotten himself into this situation. But what about in the real world? Don’t we often put ourselves into situations that aren’t true reflections of who we are? One day, we wake up and realize we’re not being true to ourselves. Then we must break hearts or hurt feelings in order to stumble our way out. I believe it’s more important to be true to ourselves than to remain true to our outdated obligations just because it’s the “moral” thing to do.
And what about Olivia? Is she a whore for dating a married man? Wouldn’t it be better to marry someone who’s more available and dare I say…safe? Perhaps she is following her heart. Maybe she’s learning lessons beyond morality about herself and her own capacity to love.
I think about why our culture is so obsessed with morality. Why do we settle for moral lives and forgo our passions? I trace the answer back to our concept of original sin. If we believe that at the heart of who we are, we are wrong and corrupt, then we can never trust our instincts. However, if we believe our passions and our desires come from God, then we can rely on them to lead us in the right direction. I’m not saying our passions are always right. We must first heal so that our ego doesn’t control our desires. But once we truly know ourselves, we can trust our desires to lead us in the right direction. Passions, grounded in a healthy sense of self, are inherently divine. Sometimes the path will be bumpy and messy. But ultimately, it will lead us to the life we’ve dared to imagine.
If you are in a job, relationship, or anything that is not true to who you are, get out as soon as you can. Life isn’t about being comfortable and stifling your true self. It’s about being an expression of God and God is truth. Sometimes you’ll exit grandly. Other times, it may be messy. But letting go is necessary. The exit doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to happen. I know people still planning the perfect exits to jobs and relationships 1, 5, and 10 years later. They plan because they don’t have the courage to jump.
Jumping for what we love is more important that being right. Honestly, I would rather have a life full of passion and no morality than a life full of morality and no passion. I believe if I follow my heart, I don’t have to worry about doing what’s right. I will automatically honor myself and other people when I act from a place of love. I don’t have to follow society’s rules. Divine grace will lead me when I follow the passions and desires of my own heart.
We can’t seek passionate and fulfilling lives when we choose to ignore our desires. Believe in your desires. Follow them. Fulfill them. If you do what’s in your heart, you can never be wrong.