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Hello Gramps

My wife was a wonderful lady. We both held many church calling in the stake and the ward. However, she has fallen and has had many affairs during the past 5 years. I’m trying to do what is right. I love her  and keep on forgiving her. Family, friends and some leadership tell me that I’m “too nice” , “dumb” for forgiving her. They don’t understand how hard it has been to forgive but I’m trying to be Christlike. Am I doing what is right while I keep on forgiving her?

Jonathan

 

Answer

 

Dear Jonathan,

Your question is a heart breaker.  Just reading it I can see how much you love your wife and how her choices have really tested your patience and forgiving spirit. Like many personal questions here at Ask Gramps, we can’t make major life decisions for you. We can only guide you and direct you in gospel teachings.

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. I’ve needed it before. I’ve needed it many times. It’s easy to forgive someone for cutting you off in traffic or saying something rude to you one at the mall. The bigger things (and infidelity is a very serious thing- extremely serious) in life are often forgivable sins, but they can be much, much more difficult to forgive. When speaking of forgiveness President Boyd K. Packer said,

“Sometimes you cannot give back what you have taken because you don’t have it to give. If you have caused others to suffer unbearably-defiled someone’s virtue for example-it is not within your power to give it back.” (Packer, the Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness, October 1995 General Conference).

He goes on to say

“There are times that you cannot mend that which you have broken. Perhaps the damage was so severe that you cannot fix it no matter how desperately you want to.”

I feel as though your friends and family (with some justification) are thinking about the words of President Packer. They usually just want the best for you, and yes, your wife did in some ways steal your virtue by being unfaithful.

Some practical advice: I think you need to get an STD test. It’s not offensive to say that, but if someone has been unfaithful with various people-it’s a good idea. There is also the uncomfortable fact that if she’s done it so many times over a long period of time, it might be safe to say that she’ll have another incident of infidelity in the future. People can change, but habits so ingrained need a special kind of effort. Do you think she has the ability to do that?

Like I said in the beginning, no one here can make such a serious life decision for you. However I want your wife to read those words and understand the gravity of it. She needs to speak to her bishop immediately and I don’t blame your friends and family for telling you not to forgive her. If you decide to forgive your wife once again, you should make sure she knows this is her final time.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

 

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