Coveting Your Brother’s Wife


#1

I’m having a hard time ascertaining if my brother is coveting someone else’s wife. Here’s the story:

My brother met a married woman at a religious conference. She was inquisitive about our faith so they kept in contact. They developed a friendship over the upcoming months. I noticed he started to change: he lost weight, he became more interested than ever in the Italian language (she’s Italian), he was more frequently occupied with texting her. Our father passed away around two months ago and now he has become very attached to her because they share each other’s burdens. She has great conflicts with her husband (she has contemplated suicide several times). My brother’s friends were not very supportive as my father was drawing near to the end of his life. She was the only one that supported him. Now they text/talk to each other every day. He travels interstate to see her every three weeks or so.

My brother and this woman have admitted to me if she wasn’t married they definitely would have considered getting married. But because she is married they decided to be like brother and sister. We talked to a priest, the priest advised it was not a violation against the 9th commandment on the assumption there are no impure thoughts associated with this friendship. I don’t know if he’s entirely right. I see his thoughts are with her more than he should through his actions e.g. daily text messaging, constantly comparing her to my mother and her support when all others abandoned him etc. Isn’t the longing to spend time with a married woman still a violation if it gets out of hand even if it weren’t sexual?

I‘m happy to hear people’s thoughts on this…


#2

My brother and this woman have admitted to me if she wasn’t married they definitely would have considered getting married.

If they talked about wanting to be married to each other, then they have crossed a line. If he wants to be married to her, then he is, at the least, envying her husband. If neither of them intends to do anything about it, it is slightly better than if they do. But even thinking about it is sinful at some level.

"You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matt 5:27-28 (RSV)

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.
Matt 15:18-19 (RSV)

Jesus was pretty clear on this one.

Even if the wish is not lustful, but only to be in a sacramental marriage with her, it is still an adulterous thought, since she is already married.

If I were in your shoes, I would tell him you're worried about him, and quietly advise him to tell his priest about it.

Praying for you and the two of them,


#3

Thanks, you prayers are definitely needed.

I don’t know if they have admitted to each other about marriage. They admitted to me privately. I told the priest in front of my brother. I guess the priest disregarded it because my brother made it very clear they have developed a brother and sister relationship which is why this is more of a grey area for me…


#4

[quote="Augustine3, post:3, topic:314883"]
Thanks, you prayers are definitely needed.

I don’t know if they have admitted to each other about marriage. They admitted to me privately. I told the priest in front of my brother. I guess the priest disregarded it because my brother made it very clear they have developed a brother and sister relationship which is why this is more of a grey area for me...

[/quote]

Augustine, if there is no impurity what Commandment "violation" are so so concerned about?

Given the priest has already looked at this I think it is time you butted out of your brother's personal life as in the end it is between him, his wife (if he has one) and God. Just being his brother doesn't, by that reason alone, seem to make it your business. If he is clearly asking you for guidance then that is another matter. If he is then I believe you should tell him to take regular counsel from the priest - you are out of your depth on this one I think.


#5

[quote="Blue_Horizon, post:4, topic:314883"]
Augustine, if there is no impurity what Commandment "violation" are so so concerned about?

Given the priest has already looked at this I think it is time you butted out of your brother's personal life as in the end it is between him, his wife (if he has one) and God. Just being his brother doesn't, by that reason alone, seem to make it your business. If he is clearly asking you for guidance then that is another matter. If he is then I believe you should tell him to take regular counsel from the priest - you are out of your depth on this one I think.

[/quote]

Very charitable tone you are using my “Christian” brother. There’s ways of saying things without sounding offensive which it seems you lack in experience....


#6

[quote="Blue_Horizon, post:4, topic:314883"]

Given the priest has already looked at this I think it is time you butted out of your brother's personal life....you are out of your depth on this one I think.

[/quote]

--There is SO much wrong with this.

  1. Since when do we absolve ourselves of family obligations AKA "butt out" because a priest has "already looked at" an issue? Priests are not keepers of arcane knowledge, nor are they generally in any special position to be able to solve problems others can't or to "pass judgment" on matters like OP relates. This attitude can be distilled to, "if a priest says its OK, it must be." If you want to take that attitude, fine, but that attitude IMHO is precisely what has lead to a lot of guilt, suffering, etc., on the part of families when one of their loved ones is wronged by a priest, and who later swear, "I never thought a priest could do such a thing!" Priests are just as human; just as uninformed; and just as prone to error as anyone else. They are also, dare I say it, sometimes just as deviant as anyone else.

  2. I'll take Brother X's knowledge of Brother Y over the "knowledge" of an unnamed priest who at best might know them as parishioners and who at worst might know them not at all. If anything, it is the priest who's out of his depth...

  3. ...Particularly since priests are almost axiomatically out of their depth as to matters marital, sexual, child-rearing, etc. If I want marriage & sex advice, the absolute last person I would go to would be someone who has foresworn marriage and sex permanently.


#7

[quote="PolarGuy, post:6, topic:314883"]
--There is SO much wrong with this.

  1. Since when do we absolve ourselves of family obligations AKA "butt out" because a priest has "already looked at" an issue? Priests are not keepers of arcane knowledge, nor are they generally in any special position to be able to solve problems others can't or to "pass judgment" on matters like OP relates. This attitude can be distilled to, "if a priest says its OK, it must be." If you want to take that attitude, fine, but that attitude IMHO is precisely what has lead to a lot of guilt, suffering, etc., on the part of families when one of their loved ones is wronged by a priest, and who later swear, "I never thought a priest could do such a thing!" Priests are just as human; just as uninformed; and just as prone to error as anyone else. They are also, dare I say it, sometimes just as deviant as anyone else.

  2. I'll take Brother X's knowledge of Brother Y over the "knowledge" of an unnamed priest who at best might know them as parishioners and who at worst might know them not at all. If anything, it is the priest who's out of his depth...

  3. ...Particularly since priests are almost axiomatically out of their depth as to matters marital, sexual, child-rearing, etc. If I want marriage & sex advice, the absolute last person I would go to would be someone who has foresworn marriage and sex permanently.

[/quote]

Thanks brother.

What is your opinion about the situation?


#8

[quote="Augustine3, post:5, topic:314883"]
Very charitable tone you are using my “Christian” brother. There’s ways of saying things without sounding offensive which it seems you lack in experience....

[/quote]

My full apologies Augustine. Part of the problem may be we are from very different cultures (and there was a "typo" above).
If you are able to overlook my sounding offensive are you able to explain your difficulty with the observations I was making? Has your brother asked you to continue assisting himto discern whether or not he is coveting another's wife?


#9

[quote="Blue_Horizon, post:8, topic:314883"]
My full apologies Augustine. Part of the problem may be we are from very different cultures (and there was a "typo" above).
If you are able to overlook my sounding offensive are you able to explain your difficulty with the observations I was making? Has your brother asked you to continue assisting himto discern whether or not he is coveting another's wife?

[/quote]

All good – think nothing of it :)

My brother and I came to an understanding last night, so it’s been sorted out :thumbsup:


#10

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