Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Hope to a Wronged Man.
   After fifteen years of a happy married life, my wife con-
fessed to me a month ago that during one year--two years
ago--she was unfaithful to me.  She has been wretched ever
since, and confessed to ease her conscience.  I had never
suspected her, and her confession so amazed me that I left
her.  She begs my return.  Should I forget and forgive and
continue to live with her?  If I do so, can she be trusted in
the future?  Would I not always feel that she was untrue to
me, and would not our home, under such circumstances, be like
a hell to both of us?  Or shall I, in the near future, obtain a
divorce?  My reason for writing to you is for your advice, as
you are continually giving advice to the young ladies.  Why
not give advice to a man?  I believe there are others in the
same predicament as myself.
To talk of happiness to any man or any woman
who has been so rudely disillusioned is to
make an unwise choice of words.
   Therefore I do not say to this man to do what will
make him the happiest, but to pursue the course
which will bring him the least remorse and misery to
him in the future.
   Every day wives are forgiving husbands who are
unfaithful and accepting their promises of reform.
   There is no sex in sin, and while we are--the most
liberal of us--more shocked at a wife's fall from
virtue than at a husband's, still we must own up to
the fact that one sins no more than the other.
   How frequently we hear of wives who condone
the error of a husband, and how little thought we
give the matter.  How remarkable we consider it
when a husband forgives an erring wife and rein-
states her in his confidence!  It is simply a matter
of education.
   As a rule, a sinful wife confesses her fault and is
really sorry.  As a rule, a sinful husband is discov-
ered by accident and pretends he is sorry.
   He is really sorry that he is found out.
   Women are so used to forgiving, and men so un-
accustomed to it.
   But no wife should say she forgives and then nag
her husband with her suspicions.
   No husband should pretend to restore his wife to his
favor and then indulge in constant recriminations.
   It is better to go separate ways, unless the paths
may again become one.
   Men have erred and then been known to become
models of fidelity.  Wives have stepped aside from
the paths of discretion and been fervently devoted
afterward.  One such case came under my personal
observation.  A wife's exceptional enthusiastic re-
gard for her husband and his interests attracted my
attention, and it was not until after her death that I
learned of the skeleton in the closet of her heart.
It was the husband's second wife who revealed it to
   It is a terrible tragedy when a husband or a wife
destroys the happiness which lies in a constant,
faithful devotion.
   The ante-room to heaven is found in loyal love
and in an unsullied home life.
   Once the serpent of unfaithfulness enters the
Eden--the paradise is lost.
   If this husband thinks even a patched-up paradise
is better for both the repentant wife and himself
than separation and divorce, let him take her back.
Let him search his heart and memory, and see if he
finds any recollections of disloyalty to her which
have not been confessed.
   Perhaps he may unearth some memories which
will render him merciful in his judgments.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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