Slowly with Ann I began to see the way I either idealized or villainized her. She was either just about Jesus or just about Satan. I had placed her in the impossible place of being responsible for everything good in my life or responsible for all the pain in my life. She lived in my either/or split screen of good and evil.
A clearer lens to view Ann developed for me. A lens of both/and.
I began to accept that Ann was woman, a human. She was filled with a wonderful heart, capable of blessing others in tremendously self-sacrificing ways. She was a woman with a dark side, capable of serving her own desires and needs while locking away an awareness of the long term consequences to those who love her most.
As I write this I don't for a second forget that I'm the same way. That's in fact my point of writing it. Slowly, I began to see and experience that we share a common bond in our humanity. Much is written about the differences of the sexes. In truth we are far more alike in our humanity than different in our gender. In our marriage we were both amazingly kind and shockingly selfish.
I began to see in her a glorious ruin. Glorious ruin is a phrase borrowed from CS Lewis. We are glorious in that we are made in God's image. Really. Ponder that a bit. Let it sink in. Ann is made in the image of the creator of the universe. And she is a ruin. Marred and disfigured but not so much that the original image disappears.
She is a human in need of a savior. Just, like, me. I need a savior too. Just, like, her.
Let's go back to Smedes,
Forgiving our enemy does not turn him into a close friend or a promising husband or a trustworthy partner. We do not diminish the wrongness of what he did to us. We do not blind ourselves to the reality that he is perfectly capable of doing it again. But we take him back into our private world as a person who shares our faulty humanity, bruised like us, faulty like us, still thoroughly blamable for what he did to us. The Art of Forgiving by Lewis Smedes