This weekend I treated my husband to the same scene that probably played out in the bedrooms of all 800,000 active-duty marriages. Ours was crowned with me stomping out of the tub clad in a towel and crying, “Please, please, promise me that won’t ever happen to us!”This is why women are well-served to keep the future in mind even in the peak of their youth and beauty. As you reap, you will sow. It would have been perfectly fair and just if the husband had decided that it was "no biggie" to go dancing with 22-year old girls and then demanded to know why that would upset her. (Based on her reaction to the Petraus affair, it's not hard to imagine that she would have been more than a little upset.) But the husband is clearly of better character than his wife, since when he had the upper hand, he chose to be respectful of her feelings.
My husband of 25 years thought this was the silliest thing I have ever said. And I have said a lot about infidelity through our own history of 7 deployments, 16 moves and 2 so-called geographic bachelor tours, when he was sent on assignment without us.
I don’t mean that either of us has jealous tantrums or that either of us is a cheater. I mean that when military life requires that you spend so much time apart, your marriage confronts one of the factors shown to contribute to infidelity: opportunity.
When we were first married, the opportunity was all mine. My husband was stationed on an all-male ship in the middle of the Persian Gulf. I was a 22-year-old girl who thought it was “no biggie” to go dancing with a bunch of naval aviators. “It was just dancing,” I claimed. “What are you so mad about?”
Later, the opportunity was all his. I was home with a baby and no friends, and he was making port visits. One night he woke me up with a call from a 7-Eleven in Daytona Beach, Fla. “Some girl was flirting with me a little too much,” he said. “I thought I should go get a Klondike bar instead.”
It's not how you treat people when you're down that matters, but how you treat them when you're on top of the world and the center of attention. The wife who treated her husband respectfully when she was the hot young thing will usually be treated respectfully by him in return. The wife who didn't, well, she may not be.