Whenever people get together and operate as groups, they make agreements, whether actually stated or not, regarding what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and what is immoral—in other words, what will be contributive to survival and what will be destructive of survival. This is a moral code—a series of agreements to which a person has subscribed to guarantee the survival of the group. It doesn't matter what the size of the group is—whether it is a group of two people forming a marriage or a whole nation being formed—they enter into certain agreements.
When one or the other of the partners in a relationship or a marriage transgresses against the agreed-upon moral code, he or she often feels that he cannot tell the other about it. But these transgressions, unspoken but nevertheless transgressions, can gradually mount up and cause a disintegration of the relationship.
In Scientology, a harmful act or a transgression against the mores of the group is called an overt act or overt. When a person does something that is contrary to the moral code he has agreed to, or when he omits to do something that he should have done per that moral code, he has committed an overt act. An overt act violates what was agreed upon.
An unspoken, unannounced transgression against a moral code by which the person is bound is called a withhold. A withhold is, then, an overt act that a person committed that he or she is not talking about. Any withhold comes after an overt act.
These transgressions are the degree that a person has separated himself from free communication with the remainder of the group. If, for example, a man gambles away the money needed to pay the family bills, he has committed an overt act. And if he then hides this fact and never mentions it to his wife or family, he would be pretending to be part of the group while no longer being part of it, as he has broken the agreements that the group is based on. It is this factor which causes divorce or the disintegration of a group or a family.
... All a divorce is, or all an inclination or withdrawal is, is simply too many overts and withholds against the marital partner. It’s as uncomplicated as that.
Continue reading about Marriage and Divorce in the Scientology Handbook.
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