“Many promising reconciliations have broken down because, while both parties came prepared to forgive, neither party came prepared to be forgiven.” – Charles Williams, British author and translator
I recently came across this quote about forgiveness and reconciliation and it reminded me of the collaborative divorce process. I am a collaborative attorney. I often see couples enter into the divorce process with ideas about forgiveness. I often see clients come into the divorce process hoping to end the anger or negative feelings. They may want to make things better for the sake of the children or to feel better themselves, whatever the reason, forgiveness can be one of the most impactful elements of divorce.
To forgive is to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong or to stop blaming someone. In divorce, forgiveness may revolve around infidelity or poor financial management or lessening attraction for another. Emotionally clients often prepare to own their own feelings. They may have considered the benefits of forgiving the other and moving forward in a more positive manner.
Like the quote above implies, it is often easier to think about forgiving someone else. When someone is forgiven himself or herself, however, it may be tougher to accept. The selflessness of the other during the challenging process of divorce can sometimes be overwhelming. Genuine forgiveness may be unexpected. It can lead to breakthrough moments and opportunities to dig deeper to find more compassionate and amicable resolutions.
Forgiveness and divorce are intertwined. The collaborative divorce process is designed and supported to allow the greatest opportunities for forgiveness and peacemaking.