Is forgiveness something you can measure? Can it be gauged according to the degree of the offense? How does one manage to forgive when one’s trust has been betrayed? These are difficult questions that often require unique and personal interpretations. My last blog entry about Jude Law’s infidelity got me thinking about the prevalence of affairs among spouses, partners, and etc. Whether to lust or some other variable, statistics seem to indicate that roughly 20% of married men have had affairs at least once in their married lives . It’s not really that startling if you ponder life for a second. Our lives have just become so mired in the day-to-day mechanics of living (e.g., earning a living, taking care of kids and family, paying taxes, running errands, etc.).
Granted that life is hard and boy it is hard. Many marriages that fail out of infidelity are really the most tragic ones because trust has been broken. The question is how do some couples manage to move on, while others result in divorce or separation. Take my aunt-in-law for instance; after she found out that her husband was seeing their carpool partner, she decided to separate from him, despite a plea for forgiveness. There were no children involved, so it was a less complex situation. The more serious problem lies when there are children.
I don’t know whether to commend or feel sorry for men or women who choose to stay together even after an affair is discovered. Although one has decided to forgive for the sake of the marriage and family, I believe that the relationship is painfully scarred. Things may seem the same, but hidden level of resentment and pain becomes permanently embedded within the relationship. I suppose one’s capacity to forgive is what really determines this outcome. In the end, I still ask myself if forgiveness is something that can’t or can be measured in terms of the offense, especially when trust is in question.