Thursday, June 4, 2009

Would you? Could you? Forgive Infidelity?

Entropy has been posting lately about marriage, or for you Princess Bride fans, mawwaige. In one of the posts about the burden of honesty we were talking about would we want to know if our spouse was unfaithful.

Entropy said yes. I don't think I would want to know. I think it is pure selfishness to unload that onto someone else just so you can feel better. I think it more fitting that the cheater suffer the guilt and burden alone. Dumping that on an unsuspecting spouse is just insult to injury.

I know three couples who have dealt with this issue. One is still together and the other two are divorced. The woman who is divorced was willing to forgive her husband and wanted to work on their marriage and save it. She has never said an unkind word about that cheating jerk. I have often been impressed by her love and commitment to him. The husband in the other couple was willing to overlook his wife's infidelity and work on their marriage for the sake of the children.
And it makes me wonder what is lacking in me because I'm pretty sure that I could not forgive or forget much less trust my husband if he ever did such a thing. And he'd never touch me again, that's for damn certain.

When we had one of our meetings with the priest before we got married, Father asked if there was anything we wouldn't be able to forgive. My soon to be husband said no. I said, adamantly yes: infidelity and drugs/alcohol. Father kinda blinked then looked at my husband and said, well, now you know.

Here's why: infidelity is not an accident. It is a deliberate choice each and every step along the way, it is a choice. Clothes don't just fall off. You don't just magically end up in someone else's bed. It may take several steps or one giant one, but it is still a choice. Each piece of clothing you remove is a choice.

That was one of the reasons I didn't like the movie He's Just Not That Into You. It showed the husband making those steps. He tried a little bit, to avoid the temptation but he kept putting himself in situations that could lead to more than just temptation.

For those husbands and wives who are willing and able to forgive and forge on, I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. Maybe a little bit of envy, too. It takes a lot of forgiveness, strength, courage, love and humility to be able to do that.

Would you, could you forgive infidelity? Would you want to know that your spouse was unfaithful to you?


Catholic102 said...


*~JennD.'J.M.J.'~* said...

Yes, I believe I could.
I enjoyed the movie because it ended with every character getting exactly what he/she deserved...especially the wayward husband ~ he did it to himself. His mistress certainly didn't deserve to be happy, either, did she? ;) His poor wife, also being left alone, was a sad character, but she pushed him into marriage before he was ready, so in a way I suppose you could say that she did this to herself as well, albeit probably not intentionally.
But speaking of forgiving infidelity, the Saints endured much worse on many occasions ~ and aren't we all trying desperately to become Saints?!

Anonymous said...

There are several things I will disagree with upon stumbling upon your post.

1) We all say what we think we would do if infidelity falls on us. It's another thing when it happens.

2) It does not take courage, infidelity, or love to keep the cheating spouse. We are wounded and more so, in denial. I have two best friends- the wife is cheating on the husband, continually. My husband just cheated on me. Both me and my male best friend stay with our spouses even though we frankly despise them because we can't let go. There's no pride in it, there's no love. You try and make it work... out of desperation, not love.

3) You know when your spouse is suffering infidelity- even if you really aren't aware. When my friend was cheating on her husband, he was constantly agitated all the while she was doing it. While my husband was cheating on me, I began to lash out and have a constant gut feeling that something was wrong. You deny it, but you're aware of it. Your spouse separates from you and you feel it. It is better to be told than have those constant feelings bubbling up inside you. Then you know you're not crazy.

I wish the movie had addressed the issues if the other woman had stayed. Because, honestly, they rarely go away. They cling to hope that someday the husband will leave the wife. It was unrealistic how she walked out on him. At least the wife was smart to walk out.

You're right though. Each action is a choice. However, you do get caught in the moment. To say you're realizing what you're doing is a bit of a stretch. At the moment, your brain is not thinking of that- it's thinking of the opportunity you have right there, not the consequences later on.

-just an outsiders opinion who experienced it first and second hand.