I recently posted that quote on a divorce website to which I belong and the outpouring of comments were quick and emotional. It really started a discussion about forgiveness, what is forgivable in a marriage and mostly about the idea of acceptance.
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross—who wrote the groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying—there are clear stages one goes through upon the death of a loved one, with acceptance being the final step. As therapists, we understand that any loss goes through these steps: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. This includes the loss—or anticipated loss—you may be experiencing: divorce.
When I look at the quote above once again, it really reminds me that in a divorce you are well served to accept that you wusband may never tell you that he’s sorry and may never apologize. That’s really what you’re looking for isn’t it? Contrition? Admission of wrong-doing? A sincere apology? Understanding how his actions affected you?
You may never get any of those things.
Still in all, your life needs to move forward and you are the only one who can do that. Accepting what seems unacceptable doesn’t mean that you approve; it just means that his actions don’t control you anymore. You are in charge of that. This gives you strength that is unshakable, that you own.
What do you think you can forgive in this moment? What will you never allow in your life again but forgive the fact that you were married to an imperfect, perhaps troubled soul? Forgiveness gives you freedom: freedom to be happy, freedom to love, freedom to choose your own path rather than being directed by an unhealthy past.
I hope you will choose kindness, but mostly, kindness to yourself.