My personal morality is guided by the virtue theory approach, which assumes that there is a particular way in which individuals should strive to live in order to create and enjoy peace and a complete development of humanity. I believe that individuals should speak the truth at all times not only because our hope is in God’s judgment, but because this is what is morally right. Being guided by the virtue of truthfulness has opened doors for me, even in situations that seems impossible to some people.
Although religion has played a part in the development of this virtue, the teachings of my parents also played a significant part. I have always learned to view what I say as a kind of product that I hope to sell to people someday. After I develop the “product,” I wrap it with love and send it to the “marketplace” where people judge it according to the “packaging.” As such, I count myself as the engineer who is accountable and responsible for anything and everything that leaves my mouth.
We are faced with situations that require application of personal morality, which is the aspect of collective view and reasoning of what is right and wrong. Studies have shown that individuals learn to reason amid the right and wrong things at a very early age when parents start correcting the childhood antisocial behaviors and conducts (Harris et al., 2009). The judgment of what is right and what is wrong works when individuals start internalizing and paying attention to the values that one has learned through emotional conditioning (Prinz, 2007).
Martin, John, and Murphy have been friends since the time they met at college. Despite the fact that they separated ways after completing their college education, they have kept in touch and have maintained their friendship through frequent communications and meetings. In fact, they even joined a group that Martin introduced to the two, which makes it possible for them to meet every month. John has recently met a wonderful lady, and they have established a relationship that according to John, will lead to marriage.
Unknown to John, his lover, Betty, is married to Martin. Murphy had been introduced to Betty by Martin and is aware that they are married, despite seeing John and Betty walking into a restaurant hand in hand over the weekend. Just as Murphy is deciding whether to inform John that Betty is married, he receives a call from Martin. Martin tells Murphy that he suspects that his wife is cheating on him, and because they share many friends, including the members of their newly joined group and college mates, he asks Murphy if he knows anything about the affair.
Murphy is torn in between two worlds. In fact, he is held somewhere between a rock and a hard substance. He wonders who, between Martin and John, he owes the greater friendship as far as this situation is concerned. No matter the party he decides to tell, he will end up hurting the other if not both of them. Should he say or remain silent in the hope that his knowledge of Betty’s infidelity will never be discovered.
In such a situation, I believe it is morally right for Murphy to inform Martin about her affair with John. However, there are wide ranges of repercussions that would arise as a result of this information. To begin with, if John learns that Murphy told Martin about his affair with Betty, there is a high possibility that it would endanger their friendship, bearing in mind that John does not know that Betty is a married woman, and even worse, the fact that she is married to a friend. The question that John will beg Murphy to answer is why on earth he did not inform him of the marriage between Martin and Betty.
On the other hand, if Murphy declines to tell Martin of the affair he had witnessed between his wife and John, he might be in for trouble as far as their friendship is concerned once Martin learns that he was aware. Worse still is due to the fact that Martin had personally enquired Murphy about any knowledge of his wife’s infidelity. His decline to pass the information would indicate that he is not only trustworthy but also would mean that he is a liar.
In order to come up with a conclusion of what is morally right for Murphy to do, it is imperative to understand the reasons as to why Betty would be cheating on his husband. In fact, this is in line with the virtue theory, which has been the basis of my understanding and judgment of what is right and wrong. Various studies have shown that marital dissatisfaction is one of the things that can lead to infidelity (Goldman, 2009). In other words, for a relationship to be successful and free from cheating, it requires the feeling of insecurity, companionship, and intimacy. Should any of these be lacking, one of the partners may feel dissatisfied with the relationship, which could explain the case of Betty.
Lack of sexual integrity and financial irresponsibility are other factors that lead to unfaithfulness in our contemporary society. Imagine a situation where the man fails to take up his financial responsibilities. A woman of low dignity might end up looking for another man who will satisfy her sexual needs as well as the financial aspects of life. Another factor that might cause cheating in marriage includes mental disorders such as depression, opportunity, and low self-esteem, as well as financial services (Shlomit, 2017).
In my opinion, I believe the right thing for Murphy to do is to inform Martin of his wife’s extramarital relationship. In our contemporary society, speaking the truth at all times is a virtue that every person should uphold. Despite the repercussions that might result from Murphy speaking the truth, it is the only moral thing to do. Infidelity has become a very common occurrence, but when it comes to exposing it, many people will choose to mind their businesses.
Although some people might view Murphy as a trouble maker for letting the truth be known to Martin, to me, he would be the hero of the truth. One of the things that Murphy ought to understand is that rather than being a trouble maker that could be the general view of many, including John, he could be the savior of Martin and Betty’s marriage. The fact that Martin has called to question him about the knowledge of the affair only presents him with a golden opportunity to preach what he believes in. Therefore, despite the complexity and intricacy of the situation, a person should speak the truth at all times despite the outcome.