(FinalCall.com) – Wonderful people in wonderful marriages are having sex outside of that union with devastating results. Adultery is no longer the consequence of bad marriages or bad people. It is the choice of many–too many–who fail to properly understand the responsibility of commitment and fidelity in a marriage. It is the choice of people who fail to understand the sacredness of sex.

In a world where sex sells just about any and everything, it is not surprising that according to Dr. Shirley Glass, one of the world’s leading experts on infidelity, 25 percent of women and 44 percent of men have had at least one affair; sex outside of their marriage.

For Kobe Bryant, his one nightstand has produced one count of sexual assault. This momentary act of physical gratification has produced life-altering consequences. The good kid of the NBA is guilty in his own words of “the crime of adultery.”


It’s not a crime that we talk about in those terms. We use terms like “having an affair,” “messing around” or “creeping” to describe behavior that involves lying, cheating, stealing and murder.

We lie to cover up the crime; cheat to get someone we are not entitled to; steal the time, money and affections of someone else’s spouse; and when things get too hot and heavy, we murder the love of the unfaithful partner for their unsuspecting spouse.

This moral lapse is what Dr. Rozario Slack, director of Urban Initiatives and Fathering Programs at First Things First in Chattanooga, Tenn., calls the number one cause of divorce in the Black community.

“Adultery is ruining more marriages than we know,” he told The Final Call.

It has also ruined Kobe Bryant’s life. It’ll never be the same. He’ll walk with the cloud of this over his head for years to come.

It also ruined his wife’s life. Her public statement is that this is a problem that they will resolve together. But underneath, she is suffering like every other woman who discovers that the man she married has deceived her. Her pain, however, is affirmed every day by media reports around the world.

No one marries someone they think will commit adultery. We are all vulnerable, because we think it can’t happen to us. Sen. Hillary Clinton didn’t think it would happen to her. Jackie Jackson didn’t think it would happen to her. It happens to the best of us and that is part of the problem.

Neither men nor women are immune to the lures of adultery. It masquerades as liberal thinking, free sex and par for the course of adult activity. In the song, “The Best of Me,” rapper Jay-Z sings to Mya, who is ambivalent about getting with him, “Have an affair, act like an adult for once.”

Underneath the cloak of social acceptability for adultery is the massive damage of pain and heartache that often cannot be repaired. Many a divorce court is filled with couples that couldn’t find their way back to love and happiness after an affair.

But good people in good marriages can recover from adultery. As a community, we have a responsibility to help troubled couples stay on the straight and narrow. We know whose husband is spending too much time with someone other than his wife. We know the wife who doesn’t quite get home on time or takes business trips with someone other than her husband. Yet, we are silent co-signers to their behavior.

We also know the people we think are least likely to stray.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to create and sustain happy, successful marriages. The eyes of the world are on Kobe Bryant right now, but somewhere in a city or town near you, there are other men and women guilty of the same crime.

We need marriage police to arrest this behavior and bring order back to our marriages.