There is a simple formula for forgiveness and it is understanding. When we fully understand another person’s feelings, motivations and choices it is impossible NOT to forgive. But until we truly understand, it is just as impossible to forgive. People often delude themselves by pretending to forgive or forcing themselves to forgive, but it’s never real and there is always residual resentment that festers.
I have had the honor of helping many folks recover after an affair has rocked their relationship. The healthiest couples always seek to understand the root causes and motivations of the affair for themselves or their partner. Those are also the people who find ways to forgive and rebuild. The sad truth, though, is that a number of people seem to have been conditioned to believe that they SHOULD NOT forgive or even understand. They seem to be driven by sentiments like “What will my friends think?” or a paradigm that says “I DESERVE to be angry! I DESERVE vengeance!” I’m not sure where these paradigms come from or who exactly they think is cross-examining their private relations, but I know this sort of mindset only brings misery to everyone concerned.
If this has been part of your way of thinking, let me offer you advice I once got when I was new to psychic abilities and could ACTUALLY hear what people were thinking and saying about me: What other people think of you is NONE of your business! Once I made it my policy to remind myself of that truth, life genuinely got better. There will always be naysayers. There will always be yappy dogs along your path. But anyone who is more interested in talking about your life than living their own, really is NOT someone who’s opinion should concern you. They are, in fact, admirers!
That said, I’d like to take the idea a little deeper. It just seems to me that the Western world’s one-size-fits-all approach to marriage is not really fair to anyone. If so many people have affairs and/or are hurt by affairs, maybe monogamy as defined by the State just doesn’t work. I mean, does it really make sense to go into a legally binding contract for a lifelong relationship with someone WITHOUT negotiating terms? Just because the government or a religion says “this is what you get, take it or leave it” why would we suppose that could ever lead to true happiness?
Now, I’ve always been a religious AND spiritual person, but this just seems absurd. Why would any two adults let an organization define the terms of their most intimate, most important relationship? And if we do so, why on earth would we suppose it would make…and KEEP us happy? My point is NOT that we should eschew marriage. My point is that marriage, its terms and expectations should be negotiated like the contract it is.
Would you sign any other sort of contract without reading and discussing its terms? What about a contract that bound you into a LIFETIME commitment? Don’t you think your attorney would advise you to look that thing over? Review the terms? Understand the definitions? Even negotiate a point or two?
My contention is people should sit down, discuss and negotiate. Otherwise one partner may be signing that contract thinking you are obliged to clean the house every day, make supper every night, agree to sex 3 times a week, pop out 3 babies and raise them in your spare time, all while keeping your girlish figure AND a smile on your face. Meanwhile the other partner might sign thinking you are going to get a promotion every year, provide for retirement, wine, dine, and romance them at least once per week, take them on luxury vacations, happily change poopy diapers and listen while they vent about their hard day every time you get home from work. Sound familiar?
Sure, some of those are old-fashioned ideas, but all of them are deeply entrenched in the cultural psyche and they hover in the back of our youthful dreams and fantasies when we think of marriage. Know what else is dancing around back there? Happily Ever After! That’s right! How are two people with such grand expectations going to achieve any happiness if they never discuss those expectations? Leave alone EVER AFTER, puleez!
The real truth is, people all have quite different expectations of marriage and relationships. Their families have expectations too. And often extended family can be very persistent about getting THEIR expectations met! After all, they don’t have to live with you, or fight with you before bedtime! They can wreak their havoc and walk away because they have not signed a legally binding contract.
I think maybe, when we are mature enough to sit down and negotiate marriage line by line, value by value, we will truly be ready to live it. I also think we will be mature enough, as a society, to discover that marriage is NOT just for one man and one woman. I think we will soon discover that marriage is NOT just for gay couples, either. I think we will discover that a marriage of 3 people, 4 people, or 5 people may actually work BETTER than two for a lot of folks. We may discover that people only have affairs because forcing ourselves into a couple is NOT really what works for everyone. As we relax and loosen up our definitions we will probably find something that works best for OURSELVES. And we will probably find that that kind of happiness makes it much, much easier to let other people find what works best for THEMSELVES. And wouldn’t it be nice if pursuing our own happiness ALSO meant letting other folks do the same?