Beyonce: Love is an endless act of forgiveness
Should we forgive cheating? Last week Beyoncé and Jay-Z released their joint album. In it, Beyoncé appears to forgive her husband for his earlier infidelity. Should others follow her lead?
It is 16 years since Beyoncé and Jay-Z started dating. In 2005 they hit a rocky patch and secretly split up, but three years later the pair were married.
But throughout their marriage, rumours of Jay-Z’s infidelity continued to surface. These suspicions went into overdrive when footage emerged of Beyoncé’s sister, Solange, hitting Jay-Z in an elevator after the 2014 Met Gala.
In 2016, Beyonce released her album Lemonade, which features a number of lyrics that seem to be about Jay-Z’s infidelity: “Can‘’t you see there’s no other man above you?/ What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you.”
Jay-Z responded a year later in his own album — 4:44. In the track Family Feud, a collaboration with Beyoncé, there are several lyrics that suggest he did cheat on her.
And now the pair’s surprise joint album — Everything Is Love, released by “The Carters” — seems like the end of a trilogy.
The chorus of the album’s final track, Lovehappy, gets to the heart of the current state of Mr and Mrs Carter’s relationship:
“You did some things to me/ Boy, you do some things to me/ But love is deeper than your pain and I believe you can change/ Baby, the ups and downs are worth it/ Long way to go, but we’ll work it/ We’re flawed but we’re still perfect for each other.”
In other words: you’re forgiven.
This seems out of character for Beyoncé, who has cultivated her image as a strong, independent woman and an ardent feminist.
Historically, adultery has been considered a serious crime by many cultures. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is the sixth commandment. The ancient Greeks considered it worse than rape. And although laws against it have all but vanished in the West, adultery is one reason you can file for divorce.
There is a stigma associated with staying in a marriage where one partner has been unfaithful. For example, Hillary Clinton faced huge criticism for staying with her husband, Bill, after he was unfaithful.
Should we forgive adultery?
Once a cheat, always a cheat, say many. How can marriage be sacred and special if breaking that trust is forgiven? Forgiving cheaters is a sign that you do not value yourself very highly and are happy to allow someone to take advantage of you. And there are always other people out there who would never lie to their partners.
Author Esther Perel sees things differently. Almost every person, she says, has been closely connected to infidelity. Every human is flawed: it is not simply the case that good people stay loyal and bad people cheat. And as Perel says, cheating is not simply about lust; it is about “reconnecting with lost parts of yourself”. Cheaters should be forgiven.
- Should you forgive cheaters?
- Should we celebrate or mourn the decline of monogamy?
- Think of five reasons why a couple might want to divorce. In order, list them according to how legitimate you think they are.
- Class debate: “This house believes that marriage should be replaced with a contract that can be renewed every five years.”
Some People Say...
“This beach ain’t always been no paradise/ But nightmares only last one night.”Beyoncé
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been together for 16 years. In that time, during which the pair have had three children, there have been several rumours about Jay-Z’s infidelity, which both have confirmed in the lyrics of some of their songs. Now they have released a joint album where they give the impression that Beyoncé has forgiven Jay-Z.
- What do we not know?
- Just how happy they really are. Both have opened up a lot about Jay-Z’s infidelities in recent years. Jay-Z has said: “I want to have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together.” We also do not know what the future holds for marriage in general. In 2016, the marriage rate was at its lowest in at least 150 years, while divorce rates have never been higher.
- Secretly split up
- This came after rumours emerged that Jay-Z and one of his protégés, Rihanna, were hooking up. But last year, biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli claimed that these rumours were faked in order to drum up interest in Rihanna, who at the time was still relatively unknown.
- Met Gala
- Officially the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, this is an annual fundraising gala held on the first Monday in May to raise money for the museum’s Costume Institute (a.k.a. the fashion department).
- The Carters
- Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter.
- In 2013, Beyoncé stated in an interview with Vogue that she considered herself to be “a modern-day feminist”. She has also said that “we should all be feminists”.
- A set of rules that Jews and Christians believe God gave to the people of Israel.
- Hillary Clinton
- When the allegations were first brought to light, Clinton initially believed them to be part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”. After it was proven that the affair had occurred, she admitted that she had been misled about it by her husband.