And perhaps Elizabeth found the grace to forgive and withhold judgment of John in her darkest moments because she was able to understand how John's transgression was part of his personal struggle and, likely "had very little to do with [them] as a couple," Goodstone says. She further speculates John's past infidelity was a misguided act of "self-realization" or "self-actualization" and suspects Elizabeth was able to see his affair as a separate issue from herself, because she knew what she and John had together couldn't "be replicated or replaced," which brings us to our next point. How To Forgive Your Spouse In 8 Steps
She Let Love Rule
Even if they've split, couples with a significant history can sometimes rise above their differences, and resurrect their appreciation for each other to find comfort in troubled times.
"When one partner is dying, the love that has always been there rises to the surface," says Goodstone. "Elizabeth Edwards impersonalized her marital problems and found a way to keep the love for her husband, which I am sure helped to sustain her during her final moments, because I am sure they both felt the love that had always been there in spite of infidelity."
YourTango Expert Michele Weiner-Davis agrees with this train of thought. "The fact that John was unfaithful does not negate the good times in their marriage or the history they share," says Weiner-Davis. "When death is imminent, people often have clearer visions about what really matters in life. It's not that infidelity doesn't—it matters big time. However, the good times that they shared rise up above the rest."