3 True Stories of Forgiveness
Inspiring stories of how three women overcame anger, heartbreak, and physical pain and learned to forgive.
“I Forgave my Husband for Cheating on Me.”
Christy Little Jones, 42
Fort Washington, Maryland
“You don’t know me, but I am no longer dating your husband…I’m sorry for any pain I caused your family.” Christy recalls the exact moment she read that sentence, in an e-mail sent to her last March. “My heart just stopped,” says the mother of four (to stepson AJ, 26; and Skye, 9; Blaze, 8; and Hayes, 6). “I felt paralyzed.”
Until that point, Christy, a relationship coach, believed that she and Adrian, 46, her husband of 10 years, were happily married. Certainly things weren’t perfect: Business was slow for Adrian, a car salesman, and their bank balance had taken a hit. “Adrian and I were feeling pressure about money,” says Christy. But she had seen no other warning signs. “We still had date nights and did things as a family. I never dreamed he would betray me.”
After reading and rereading that e-mail, Christy called her husband at work. Voice shaking, she demanded an explanation. “Adrian was defensive at first, said it never happened, and even hung up on me,” she remembers. “But a minute later he called back, crying, admitted it was true, and begged me to forgive him.”
The story unfolded: Adrian and a customer had flirted. A one-night stand had turned into a four-month affair. In February 2012, when the woman asked Adrian if he would ever leave his family, he broke off the relationship. “I was furious,” says Christy. “It was hard for me not to tell Adrian that we were over and make him hurt as badly as I did.” Instead the pair talked and wept together all night.
“Once the initial shock passed, I was faced with a choice,” she says. “I could either fight for my marriage or let this event change everything.”
Christy made a conscious decision to forgive. It didn’t happen instantly. For the next six months, she struggled with resentment and the fear that Adrian would not be committed to making the marriage work. “There were many times I asked him, ‘How could you live with yourself? How could you look me in the eye and lie for months?’ And to get closure, I needed to know every last detail of the affair. It was extremely painful for Adrian to answer my questions, but he did so with humility,” she says.
“Forgiving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” says Christy, “but his honesty made it easier.” So did the fact that Adrian confided his wrongdoing to two friends from their church. The three of them began meeting each week to pray together and discuss their faith and the importance of marriage. “I appreciated that he wanted other people to hold him accountable,” says Christy.
While on vacation in Virginia last May, Christy and Adrian spontaneously renewed their wedding vows. “We continue to work on trust issues,” she admits. “But our marriage is stronger for it. I have no regrets.”
Read more about the science of forgiveness and how to forgive.
Most Popular Galleries
If your dark circles aren’t quite this adorable, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Try these (en)lightening strategies to minimize them.