Now that’s a hard pill to swallow if you’re in divorce court.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a very intelligent, thoughtful, empathic, compassionate and practical judge who says it as it is- whether or not her views are the norm or “outside the box” as she prefers to describe it. This is refreshing I think to myself. Most Judges in divorce court these days are a lot more cynical. They’ve seen and heard way too much to try and get people to “do the right thing.” Their words of wisdom and years of experience seemingly fall upon deaf ears day after day, so after a while it becomes useless to try and save divorcing men and women from themselves.
Let’s face it, any divorce attorney will tell you (or would secretly admit), that if you’re in Court, you’ve gone too far to start using the “F” word. This Judge sees it differently and she’s making a difference. She tells litigants that no matter what the past is, it cannot be changed; that we can only move forward, and to do that, we must be willing to forgive each other.
After nearly 20 years of divorce experience believe me when I tell you, I’ve seen some pretty unforgiveable things, and yet, when she talked of forgiveness as the first step to a better outcome, it all made sense. But first, let’s clear some things up…
When divorce is about vengeance it is no longer about you or what is best for you. It becomes about what is worst for your spouse. Your focus and attention is diverted from your goals, your dreams, and your new life. Instead, all of your time, energy and legal fees are spent on trying to make your spouse miserable. When that doesn’t work, it is usually you who is left feeling depleted, defeated and drained. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of tears have been shed and thousands spent on winning battle after battle only to lose the war.
What is forgiveness and why should I give it to someone who has wronged me?
Forgiveness really isn’t about the other person; it’s about you. It’s an act which is meant to allow you to move forward. It doesn’t mean you sanction the wrong, understand it or approve of it. It doesn’t make you the bigger, better or wiser person. It doesn’t make you smaller, weaker or dumber. It simply means that you are ready to move forward in your direction without being weighed down by all the negative feelings and experiences that your spouse brought you.
It means that you refuse to spend another of your very valuable minutes, emotions or dollars on trying to get even with your ex. There are hundreds of quotes about forgiveness on the internet. Some are long, others short. Some are funny and others sad. We see victims of violent, vicious, demoralizing crimes forgive their attackers- not because the attackers deserve it but because the victims want to reclaim their personal strength, power and control over his or her life. The victim tells the attacker that he no longer has power over her.
Forgiveness does not mean not fighting or seeking what is just. It does not mean you do not pursue your rights. It doesn’t even mean you must forget! It simply means that you fight with your interests as the primary factor. It means you do not lose sight of your goals because you are too busy plotting your next move to hurt your spouse.
The “F” word is a lot more than Forgiveness. It’s Freedom!