A successful family web requires constant forgiveness, of our own errors as well as the rest of the family.
One of the great things about young children (and my wife) is a lack of memory about my mistakes. I get a fresh start each morning. I try to offer the same to them.
Irrational loyalty in a spouse creates a paradox. There are times when I overreact to others getting the benefit of my wife’s gift to our family. A conversation that we’ve had, more than once, goes like this:
M – I think Bruce might be sleeping with Sheila.
G – You sure?
M – Not really.
G – That’s messed up, what about the kids?
M – Well, he’s not happy. Good for him to try to find happiness.
G – Good for him?!?
At that point, I get very very quiet. I do that because I know…
My wife’s already perfect. I really mean it. Making her more like me, convincing her to see the world like I do, is highly unlikely to improve her, or our marriage. Society is always telling women that they would be better if they were something else. My gift for her, and my daughters, is believing that they are perfect as they are. There is ancient wisdom with this insight, women flourish in this environment.
My marriage benefits from my spouse’s irrational loyalty. A price I “pay” for this gift is her tolerance of the errors of people that are close to us. I should chill out, it’s a bargain and I get most the benefit.
However, I’m not irrationally loyal and my love is conditional. It takes a while to grind me down but I’m an old testament guy. No exceptions, other than my kids have a waiver until they are 18.
As a result, when fraud sets off an ethical trigger, my automatic brain floods my mind with rage and fury. I’m not a nice man when crossed and I’ll share a few thoughts:
Good for him? Why don’t I get myself some and see if there’s a different reaction.
Good for him? You have no idea how often I turn away from a path of infidelity.
Good for him? That happens in our marriage and I’m gone!
Good for him? I always wondered about their sporting ethics, now I know.
Good for him? What about those children?
Of course, my internal dialogue is an over-reaction. Having had my share of vomit moments, I am being triggered by an event in my past.
However, we should remember that when we fail to stand up for what’s right, we might be attracting what’s wrong.
…and I’m not writing about the Law of Attraction. I’m writing about our ability to extinguish ethical dilemmas before a decision needs to be made.
Many of my best decisions have been placing myself in a peer group where I never had to choose.
I have learned to protect myself from my own misjudgment.
Names and conversations are compilations. If you think I’m writing about you then you’re mistaken. I’m writing about me.