Blanket statements aren’t reality, they’re emotional baggage.
Have you ever heard the statement, “Once a cheater, always a cheater”? It’s easy to treat this statement like a rock that we throw at people to harm them. We want to make sure they clearly know they will never be anything but a cheater in our book.
There was a time when as I said this statement without understanding the damage it was causing to my husband and our marriage. We had actual conversations where we agreed that if either of us cheated, neither would stay in the marriage. It was a deal breaker. Here are a few reasons why I stopped using this statement.
#1–We all lie and cheat to some extent
It is unfair to use blanket statements. These statements basically say that people never change. That is simply not true. People can learn from poor behavior and the consequences. When they choose the behavior, they choose the consequence.
I have cheated on exams when I was a child in school. I failed the test when I got caught, but I was not labeled a cheater forever. I have cheated on my diet more often than I like to discuss. I have faced the consequences of those actions.
#2– We all need a safe place to admit our mistakes
I cannot expect someone to be honest with me if I am unwilling to see them again in any other light ever again. I would like my husband to be a safe person to whom I can go to admit failure and be encouraged as I try to become a better person. In turn, I need to be that safe place for him. When someone has nowhere to go to get help, sometimes they actually go deeper into the dark place.
#3– We all need to be constantly encouraged to become a better version of ourselves
Marriage is designed to make us better. It is like a mirror that shows us where we need a bit of work. We need to be encouragers to each other if we want our marriage to thrive. When we use statements like “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” it is to try and scare the person into never cheating on us. It is not an effective tactic. People still cheat on their spouse every day. This statement is not an insurance policy.
I wish I knew then the damage that statements like this were doing to the communication in my marriage. If we want our marriages to thrive, the key is communication. We need a place we can go and not be condemned when we have made a mistake (little ones and big ones). We need a partner who is going to love us through the toughest times.
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