DEBATE: Should adultery be decriminalised?

Adultery must be one of the oldest sins; dating as far back as the Ten Commandments in the Bible. My friend, you know that something is really controversial when the Bible labels it as sin, but people don’t necessarily agree.

Yes. Marriage issues are private matters


Adultery must be one of the oldest sins; dating as far back as the Ten Commandments in the Bible. My friend, you know that something is really controversial when the Bible labels it as sin, but people don’t necessarily agree. That’s how liberal human beings’ views have become, that they can even question the holy books.


Anyway, we are not here to talk about how far we have come; instead, we are here to talk about the issue of decriminalising adultery.


Is adultery such a terrible thing? Of course yes. Should one go to jail for it? Perhaps not; and before you start calling me names, please hear me out. You see, there is a reason why most people tell you that as an outsider, you will never understand the depth of marital issues and there are many reasons for that, but what stands out most is that a marriage is a contract between two people.


You can never know why someone is married to another and why they choose to stay even when they seem so unhappy. For instance, there are women and men who are currently in marriages; where they are aware that their spouse is cheating and they are not doing anything about it. Some; maybe because they know that there is nothing that they can do to change it other than give up on that marriage and others; because shockingly they know why but they don’t care enough to fix the issues.

Marriage is a complicated institution, one that even the state respects.

If someone finds out that their spouse has been cheating, the best that they can do is try to sit down and discuss the how, why and what on the way forward or head straight to court and ask for divorce. When it comes to adultery, the state has no place in this equation; where two adults are having consensual sex unfortunately to the shock and disappointment of another adult who is normally a wife or husband.

Why would the state want to take someone to court and sentence them to years in jail for breaking someone’s trust? If any penalties should happen, they should be in a civil court where the cheat can be reprimanded under the contract law because they have violated a marriage contract and the reprimand should not include serving time.

There is a reason why the state does not stamp on your divorce papers the moment you seek to dissolve your marriage. Instead, they give you time to work out your issues, then come in later to mediate and if that also fails, then a divorce is granted.

I doubt if there are many people here who actually knew that adultery is a criminal offense or if they even care.

What most people who are cheating care about is not being caught; not by the law enforcers but by their spouses.

What we should focus on should be how to keep marriages airtight, how to check whether we are still playing the role of a good spouse, otherwise, the law cannot fix what is not working in your home. It cannot force someone to stay faithful when they are unfulfilled or feeling unloved. If there is something to fix, fix it. If you feel that you have done your best but your partner is a habitual cheat, then it is time to move on with your life because not even the law can fix that one.

It threatens the moral fiber of society


Whether or not to decriminalise adultery is a question that doesn’t require the intelligent quotient of Stephen Hawking because it’s simply straight forward. Marriage is a scared institution that is recognised and blessed by God above all else, then witnesses (family and friends) next. It mirrors the values and morals of society as well as setting an example for future generations.

So, what are we doing even discussing whether or not to decriminalise it? How low do we have to stoop in order to accommodate wrongdoers within our society? Rwandan lawmakers are currently reviewing the law that criminalises adultery like it’s a human right? There’s a reason it was criminalised in the first place, is that reason no more?

Whenever people are arguing that it should be decriminalised, they always go with the line, “they are two consenting adults, why should it be a crime?” but they always forget to ask, “why did they get married in the first place if you are going to cheat?” World over, literally everything is being decriminalised and societies are dying.

By doing this, we are simply telling the young generation that it’s fine to get married but it’s equally fine to cheat on your spouse. The emotional and psychological impact this can have on children can be irreparable, not to mention what the spouse has to go through. I find it selfish that a small segment of the population is seeking to have easy judgement for their immoral behaviours that affect the very foundation that societies are built on.

Adultery is a breach of contract and trust, and it should be seen as a crime punishable by law. Speaking of the law, most adultery cases usually end up in divorce, fights ensue, property is split, children are fought over; basically it’s like war, brutal, bloody and expensive. Sometimes these lead to murders, suicide and drug abuse among family members, and then we blame individuals.

Instead of spending time debating whether or not we should decriminalise adultery, how about we teach our children that it’s wrong to commit adultery. People should be punished for breaching their marriage contracts in order to reduce on the number of people who will suffer from depression, anxiety and emotional stress.

We should seek to uphold the values, principles and morals of a family in order to create a stable environment for the future generation. Teach them that life is not a stroll on the beach but a learning process, and learning to love is the most important lesson in life, inspite of the mistakes, quarrels, problems or joys, happiness and jubilations they will go through as a couple.

You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    


Follow The New Times on Google News