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Hosea with his arm raised. Klosterneuburger Evangelienwerk, fol. 7v. Circa 1340

Faithfulness is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. It may be exhibited by a husband or wife who, in a sexually exclusive marriage, does not engage in sexual relationships outside of the marriage. It can also mean keeping to one's promises no matter the prevailing circumstances.[1] Literally, it is the state of being full of faith in the sense of steady devotion to a person, thing or concept.


Its etymology is distantly related to that of fidelity; indeed, in modern electronic devices, a machine with high "fidelity" is considered "faithful" to its source material, whereas a spouse who, inside a sexually exclusive relationship, has sexual relations outside of marriage could equally be considered as being "unfaithful" as having committed "infidelity".[2]


Faithfulness in the marriage is a virtue in Christianity. In Catholicism, it is one of the four pillars of marriage.[3] In others Christian churches (Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Evangelicalism), it is an ethical invitation.[4] It is a commitment in Jewish marriage,[5] and an obligation of Islam.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of faithful". Merriam Webster. Retrieved June 7, 2018. 
  2. ^ David M Newman, Elizabeth Grauerholz, Sociology of Families, Pine Forge Press, USA, 2002, p. 267
  3. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, The sacrament of Matrimony, Official Website, Vatican, Retrieved May 27, 2017
  4. ^ Gerald R. McDermott, The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology, Oxford University Press, UK, 2013, p. 453
  5. ^ Don S. Browning, M. Christian. Green, John Witte Jr., Sex, Marriage, and Family in World Religions, Columbia University Press , USA, 2009, p. 2
  6. ^ Ina Taylor, Religion and Life with Christianity and Islam, Heinemann, UK, 2005, p. 50