I mean really know them, like they have discussed the transgression at length with you. The ins, the outs, the fall out, the aftermath.
How does their relationship look?
Are they consistently working at building trust daily? Are they in a blissful second honeymoon kind of phase?
Is love still there?
I don't know about you, but the marriages I know of, where an infidelity has occurred, is best described as a very clear lifelong exercise in the words "work in progress."
On their best days, the thoughts of the indiscretion are placed at the very back of their minds and they can smile, love, live, breath.
However, on their worst days, there is still an unspoken truth wafting through the air that leads to checking unattended phones, and snooping through open email accounts.
The love is still there, but the trust is irreparably damaged.
I can see it, feel it. It's tangible. It's real life.
They have decided to stay married, but things are different, and they probably will always be.
Not bad, not good, but most certainly different.
Being I have witnessed the real life versions of such circumstances, I find myself annoyed with how this scenario is portrayed when it applies to any sort of public, political or celebrity couple's story displayed for your nightly news.
Or even more dishonest, when the narrative is being duplicated for a television show, or blockbuster movie.
The illustration we typically see is a couple experiencing an affair, one-night stand, however extensive the relationship may be, only for it to end with the marriage winding up back in a place where their love is somehow much greater, and much stronger.
Their happiness is now overwhelmingly unbreakable.
Who are these people?!? People no one knows, that's who!
Being honest, the majority of the time the forgiving party within this story line is the wife.
Is this, as a society, what we really want to teach women? Is this what you want for your daughters?
It is perfectly acceptable to be cheated on, because in the end your marriage is going to be so much stronger, and your love will be so much more wonderful than ever before.
When are we going to stop indirectly, sometimes directly, feeding women these fallacies of necessary forgiveness?
Pay no never mind to the possible expensive price of her own self worth, because the societal credit of being a "wife", being "chosen", is worth so much more. Right?
Indeed, everyone does not have a visceral, dramatic reaction to infidelity, but if one does, it should be okay for them to leave. And when I say leave, I mean leave without stigma, or the judgment associated with having given up on their covenant with God, and that other person, laid at their doorstep.
Marriage is a difficult journey for most, even without infidelity, and if an affair becomes a part of the process, there is nothing wrong with deciding to stay.
We all make individual choices someone else may never even consider.
However, there is something wrong, very wrong with gorging women, or men for that matter, with the idea that the pain and hurt of betrayal will somehow magically turn into a redeemable experience, something for which you can and should be grateful.
I could be wrong, but in real life, it just doesn't seem to work out that way.