I (Jared) think and read about marriage a lot. Mainly because I'm constantly pursuing success in my own marriage, but also partly because I want to help other people strengthen their marriages. There is so much said in our current culture that blindly stabs at, blatantly disregards, and backwardly interprets successful marriages.
For the last year or so I have also had a growing interest in and fascination with the Greek language. I would love to explain to you why (ask and I'll freely tell you), but will spare doing it in this post. Following these two trains of thought led me to what I consider to be a very dynamic discovery, so I'll share that with you.
The Greek word for divorce is ἀφίημι (aphiēmi) and its meaning is to "leave" or to "let leave," otherwise meaning to "let go."
The Greek word for forgive is ἀφίημι (aphiēmi) and it means to "let go," or to "set free." It is the same word In Greek as divorce, and there is only slight variance in the definitions between divorce and forgive.
As I reflected on this I couldn't help but draw parallels between the processes of divorce and forgiveness. I am not an experiential expert on the factors of divorce, and I do not intend to speak to your personal experience, but I would like to share my thoughts about this with you.
I think it's profound that the process of letting go of the person you marry by divorce is often a result of not letting go of their offenses against you by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is, without doubt, the most difficult gift to give another person. It's a response to pain. It's navigated through emotion. It's gratified incrementally. It is never in harmony with our initial feelings related to a negative event in our relationships. There is an emptiness inside us all, and when we're offended, hurt, neglected, or bruised this emptiness is exploited.
When this happens our natural response is bitterness. No matter how small the seed of bitterness when it's planted, if not addressed with forgiveness, begins to grow. Bitterness reacts with bitterness and a vicious cycle of unloving and disrespectful behaviors begin to set in. This can become an ugly situation and the only solution to the problem is to offer up, accept, and grow together through the process of forgiveness.
Its the process of "setting free" those that offend you and "letting go" of their offenses against you, as they happen, that can keep you from getting to the point "leaving" or wanting to "let leave" the person you vow to have and to hold.
I chose the title of this post (divorce = forgiveness) because of the congruence in their meaning. But, in actuality, the smaller more frequent choice of forgiveness is greater than the larger choie of divorce. Either way, you have to "let (something) go (free)", which will you choose?
Forgiveness > Divorce.