To be honest, I could never do it. If my wife cheated on me, I just cannot see myself mustering the spiritual strength to forgive her and keep the relationship together. I would like to think that I could, but I am realistic. Such a deep betrayal of promises would just be too much for my male ego.
My wife and I have even talked about it. She insists that she would be able to forgive my indiscretion, while I admit my own inability to forgive hers. She reminds me that it would hurt and she would likely charge me a large tax were I ever to stray, but that she would be able to find a way to move forward together. Fortunately, we have never had to find out. Elizabeth Edwards has. And where others would have crumbled, she has proven heroic.
Elizabeth Edwards provides a case study in the reasons why only about one-third of marriages survive an affair and why women are more able to forgive than men. In her new book, Resilience, Elizabeth shares the painful experience of John's adultery and deceit. His self-centered timing of confessing his peccadillo just after having publicly announced his Democratic candidacy for the presidency only serves to heighten the very humanness of the marriage of John and Elizabeth Edwards.
The power of the book rests in Elizabeth's detailed telling of how she has come to forgive John and hold the marriage together in spite of his failings and their having to learn to trust all over again. These details are not ancillary to the story. They ARE the story.
First, one wonders just why Elizabeth feels compelled to share these personal intricacies aloud and in public. Some speculate that she seeks fame and money, although she needs neither. Others suggest that this public revelation is intended as a public flailing of John, a way of exacting revenge upon the one who has hurt her. Still others insist that Elizabeth's is an exercise in catharsis, a purging of the story once and for all, to put an end to the never-ending public inquiry into her life and their family.
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