Judging the “Whole” Person/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on April 23, 2013


There is an interesting article in the National Journal about President George W. Bush entitle “Go Ahead, Admit It: George W. Bush is a Good Man”. The author, Ron Fornier talks about the humanity of the former President. (Article appears at http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/go-ahead-admit-it-george-w-bush-is-a-good-man-20130422) . The discussion centers on the fact that Presidents, popular or not, have a certain decency that rarely gets noticed or reported. Examples of such decency are sprinkled throughout the article.

The lesson for divorce proceedings is not hard to find. We tend to either lionize people or demonize them at times of crisis. Divorce is such a time. However, few people are all good or all bad. Their actions lie on a continuum between the 2 poles. Do not feel that by demonizing your spouse in a divorce proceeding you will gain an advantage. Life is much too complex for such knee-jerk reactions. Appreciate the good while countering the negative. Get a balanced approach. And yes, admit it: Your spouse is not all bad. Few people are.

I know of a rabbi who urged his students going through a divorce hearing to take their wedding album with them. The reason was to remember that there was once love in their lives. Perhaps that memory will stem the desire to make the divorce proceeding hand-to-hand combat. An honest look at your ex-spouse’s character is  good for husband, wife, and children, even as dissolution is ready to begin.