Everybody seems to have a thought — or more than one — on the Petraeus matter.
Emails and other details aside, the question i always ask when i hear a story like the one about Petraeus’ extra-marital affair is this: What am i doing to make sure i won’t do the same thing?
Seriously, there’s no room for gloating or celebrating a leader’s downfall. Many couples never make it 7 years, let alone 37 years, in their marriage, as Petraeus has. Whether or not a divorce is in the future, who knows. But what will prevent any one of us from being the next Petraeus?
Petraeus didn’t just wake up one morning and say: “Today’s the day i start an extra-marital relationship.” That’s not how it works for anyone. Just like i didn’t wake up one day and say: “Today i will start giving myself over to a pornography addiction by visiting an adult bookstore and then a strip club — i’ll make a day of it.”
The reality is these things build up over time. A slow erosion takes place in the heart of a man such that before long, the man who never thought he would cheat on his wife actually does.
What keeps the foundation of a man’s heart strong? What prevents us, any of us, from becoming the next Petraeus?
It all depends on what you’re building into your life. Are you living with a keen understanding of the reality that sexual temptation is prevalent and powerful enough to take you down and waste you?
We all need to strengthen ourselves, the way Petraeus needed to invest in his marriage.
Petraeus was a military man. A fighting man. At one point in his life he was a warrior. He needed to be more of a warrior with regard to fighting for his marriage, his integrity, the national security and so on.
There’s a story about a Native American youth who was about to enter manhood. At the ceremony where he was to be official recognized as a man in his tribe, the tribal leader said: “In your life there are two dogs warring with each other: one white — representing what is good , and the other black — representing what is bad. Which dog will win in your life?”
The youth answered: “Whichever one i feed.”
We all need to feed the white dog.