Paul insists with emphasis upon the duty of equal mutual fidelity in both the marital partners ( 1 Corinthians 7:4 ); and several of the Fathers of the Church, as Tertullian (De Monogamia, cix), Lactantius (Divin. We have referred to the severe punishment meted out to the adulterous woman and her seducer among savages.
The intercourse of a married man with a single woman was not accounted adultery, but fornication.
In the law of Jesus Christ regarding marriage the unfaithful husband loses his ancient immunity ( Matthew 19:3-13 ). And the same most likely was the case in Plymouth Plantation (Howard, A History of Matrimonial Institutions, II, 331-351).
The obligation of mutual fidelity, incumbent upon husband as well as wife, is moreover implied in the notion of the Christian sacrament, in which is symbolized the ineffable and lasting union of the Heavenly Bridegroom and His unspotted Bride, the Church, St. At present, in our States there is not this discrimination, but divorce, when granted on the ground of adultery, is obtainable by the wife just as by the husband.
Thus we are told by the historian Spartianus that Verus, the colleague of Marcus Aurelius, did not hesitate to declare to his reproaching wife: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis." (Verus, V). This Lecky gathers from the legal maxim of Ulpian: "It seems most unfair for a man to require from a wife the chastity he does not himself practice" (Cod.
Just., Digest, XLVIII, 5-13; Lecky, History of European Morals, II, 313).