The purpose of this assignment is to discuss hypothetical situations related to apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation from the perspective of a lawyer working in Los Angeles, California. This lawyer is assumed to be deeply knowledgeable based on several years of work experience in the field. For the sake of clarity, the married couple in phases 1 and 2 will be named Michael and Jane and are assumed to represent the same people in the same circumstances.
Phase #1: Apology
Being a lawyer in Los Angeles, California, and having a lot of well-known personalities as clients means dealing with all sorts of crises and sensitive issues since these clients are regularly in the spotlight and their actions are closely scrutinized by the media. Having a practice in this city has often caused me to rethink my beliefs and convictions and means a constant process of balancing between my personal ideals and moral values and the best interests of the client. A recent case is a vivid example of when I, as a lawyer, had to decide whether to fulfill my professional obligations to the best of my abilities or do what is right.
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Hence, the recent case concerns a client who is a celebrity in the entertainment industry, thus being a well-known individual with many fans and followers. This client (who will be hereafter be referred to as Michael, which is not his real name, for the sake of confidentiality) is married to a high-ranking state government official named Jane (which is also an alias). Up until recently, most deals involving this client concerned his agreements and contracts with various entertainment studios, as well as agreements governing the receipts of income from his participation in different commercials and from other promotional-related activities, as well as property deals and a variety of mundane matters. However, a few days ago a grainy surveillance video emerged featuring my client and his wife and it appears from the video that Michael is perpetrating in domestic violence with Jane being the victim. It is not known how the video made its way to the media, but for the past few days, it has been repeatedly shown by all the major news outlets. The client is extremely upset and wants to rectify the situation as soon as possible, while his wife has withdrawn from public life as a result of the controversy. She has been refusing to speak with her husband as well even though the incident displayed in the video occurred some time ago and they have been living together since then, according to the client. The client claims that he ‘isn’t proud’ of what he did, yet emphasizes that the media have blown it out of proportion. Thus, Michael wants me to hold a press conference and craft an apology statement for him, but he is not sure how to do that properly. He has repeatedly told me “I don’t care what you have to do, but make sure I come out of this looking good.” Personally, I see some inconsistencies and alarming moments in this case and I now have to decide how to proceed and whether to satisfy the client’s demands, as well as how to do that without compromising on my moral values and the professional code of conduct.
The situation is not entirely clear to me as I have not had a chance to communicate with Jane and know only Michael’s side of the story. Being artistically inclined as a celebrity, Michael has proved to be impulsive and emotional, while Jane is a very reserved and quiet woman. I do not know about their family relationship, but I am aware of how passionately and lovingly Michael has been when speaking about his wife. Besides, I had seen them together on several occasions and there had been no signs that anything in their marriage was wrong. Nonetheless, strangers can rarely know for sure what happens inside other people’s family lives and outward appearances can be deceitful. Thus, I have to make a decision based only on the evidence I have: the grainy surveillance video from which an arguing couple is seen and Michael’s face can be discerned for one moment, while Jane appears to be crying. Besides, I have Michael’s word that it “is not as bad as it looks” and that it was nothing more than an ordinary marital fight caused by jealousy. Moreover, Michael claims to have been subjected to a lot of stress and exhaustion lately due to promoting his latest action movie and Jane’s allegations that he has been cheating on her. Based on all these facts and having no access to Jane and her side of the story, I need to decide whether to believe Michael and proceed from what he says or to treat his words with caution and a healthy dose of skepticism and distrust.
In fact, being a lawyer means constantly making a choice over whether to trust my clients’ stories or not. I have several reservations and see several disconcerting moments in the case under consideration. First, Michael has admitted that he ‘isn’t proud’ of what he did, thereby implying that he did something bad and violent based on the mood evoked by the video. At the same time, if he had done something terrible and engaged in extreme domestic violence towards Jane, it seems logical that she would have left him long ago, and yet they had continued living and appearing together after the incident. Therefore, I am inclined to assume that the video shows their marital fight caused by jealousy and that Michael is more to blame for its outcomes, yet Jane could have hardly been a passive recipient of domestic violence based on her character. That is why I tend to believe Michael that both of them were fighting and that they later reconciled after resolving their differences. Secondly, I am alarmed by the withdrawal of Jane even though it may really be explained by the fact that she is a very private person and does not want to discuss the unpleasant incident with anyone but her closest friends.
Thirdly, I do not really like Michael’s attitude towards the incident. Instead of showing genuine remorse and being willing to sincerely apologize, the main thing he thinks about is his reputation as evidenced by his insistence that I make him look good coming out of this situation. Moreover, he has failed to mention that it is not only his reputation that is at stake as Jane is a high-ranking official whose reputation has been damaged as much as Michael’s. If she wants to retain her position and get promoted further, she needs to look strong and capable of making serious decisions, while the media’s interpretation of the video makes her look like a victim. It can ruin her career and chances of being appointed to top governmental positions, yet Michael has not mentioned this concern. At the same time, I can somewhat understand his focus on personal reputation damage as the new film is about to be released and bad publicity could lead audiences to avoid seeing it. This way, Michael is more concerned about the short-term impacts of the video on his career and profits than the long-term impacts on his wife’s career, which is quite selfish, yet understandable.
Furthermore, my personal attitude to domestic violence plays some role, in this case, no matter how much I have been trying to see the situation in an objective and dispassionate way. Thus, I am strongly against domestic violence in any form and I consider it unacceptable no matter the circumstances. However, the quality of the video is too poor to determine whether it shows merely a bad marital argument with screaming and waving hands only or a true domestic violence incident in which Jane was subjected to violence from her physically stronger husband. Therefore, I feel somewhat torn by my professional obligation to fulfill my client’s demands and requests and my personal moral duty to do what is right and find out the truth. Conflicts between personal values and duties to clients are not rare in the profession. Up until now, I have taken pride in being a hard-working, highly effective lawyer who clients can turn to in any case and receive professional assistance and advice, but Michael’s case questions my “hired gun” mentality and forces me to weigh my personal principles against my professional duties.
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Having thought about the case for some time, I have come to the decision to assist Michael as I am inclined to believe in his assurances that he is not a perpetrator of domestic violence and that Jane has nothing to fear from him. Besides, I have decided to assist him out of concern for Jane who has been suffering from negative publicity and media attention for some time now and for whom such attention is especially painful and harmful given her occupation and need for privacy. However, I will decline to fulfill Michael’s request to do anything just to “make him look good coming out of this situation.” In turn, I want him to issue a genuine apology. But prior to crafting a statement and helping Michael with writing and voicing his public apology, I will advise him to undertake several steps aimed at repairing his marriage with Jane as well as his public image. First, I will advise him to seek out and attend counseling sessions a highly skilled therapist who will be able to assist him with his anger management issues and stress coping skills improvement. Michael works in a very stressful profession and is extremely emotional and anger-prone because of his artistic inclinations, which is why such sessions will be beneficial for him. Besides, it would demonstrate that he is truly remorseful about his past actions and committed to changing himself, which is an integral part of the sincere apology process. Secondly, I will suggest that he and Jane see a marital therapist with a view of saving their marriage, reconciling because of the tension caused by the video, and mitigate the damage invoked to their reputation and public image. Finally, I will draft the apology statement as requested and will be guided by the idea of a genuine apology in the process.
I strongly agree with a worry that the apology has become commoditized in contemporary society and has lost its true meaning because of the recent trends towards the way the public apology is issued. While the apology is currently being frequently used as an instrument of avoiding litigation and preventing further reputational damage, its true purpose should be the acknowledgment of wrongdoing and display of genuine remorse. Nonetheless, as a lawyer, I realize that such acknowledgment may have dire repercussions for the client from the legal perspective. The dilemma consists of the fact that without such an acknowledgment the apology might be botched and fail. At the same time, when done the right away an apology can lead to healing. An effective apology should incorporate several essential elements, including acknowledgment of guilt, shame, remorse, and willingness to rectify the situation. In the case under consideration, I would also recommend against holding a press conference, as it would make Michael look like he has succumbed to external pressure instead of issuing a genuine apology because of internal motivation and recognition of the wrongdoing. Instead, I would advise him to undertake the aforementioned steps, appear in public with his wife, address the press with the request to respect his wife’s and family’s privacy, and release an official statement of apology on social media and through his PR agent in major printed and online sources that are the most active in terms of discussing the incident. This way, Michael would express his remorse through an apology and address the reputational damages, including those to his reputation and that of his wife, without appearing as if he has been forced to do so.
A draft of the apology statement that would be provided to Michael for consideration and amendments is presented below.
To my dear friends and family and, most of all, my beloved wife Jane,
The last few days have been extremely rough for my family and my marriage as our privacy has been violated by an unknown perpetrator who has released a video allegedly showing me engaging in a domestic dispute with my beloved wife. This video was quickly distributed and aired several times by various news outlets, and as a result, my wife has been subjected to so much pressure and stress that she has decided to isolate herself. In turn, my life has been turned into a living hell because of my separation from her caused by this scandal. The matter is that my wife is an extremely private person and such an intrusion into her personal life has become unbearable to her. I truly apologize to you, Jane, that my profession has subjected you to this nightmare and that you have had to go through this.
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As for the video itself, I am not proud of what you all have seen and what I have done. It was unacceptable for me to lose my temper in such a way and get upset with my wife over a trifling matter. I do not want to offer any excuses and genuinely acknowledge that the way I handled myself with my wife was inappropriate and that this incident has caused damage to my marriage, but I will focus all of my energy on restoring our loving relationships and harmony in our family by attending marital therapy. There is not a single marriage that is completely free of disputes, but this is no excuse for my behavior. Therefore, I have taken measures and started seeking anger management and stress-coping skills improvement therapies in order to control my emotions and become a better husband. Moreover, I must emphasize that I am strongly against domestic violence in any of its manifestations and have never thought about abusing my wife. I’d like to stress again that what you saw on the video is not domestic violence, but an ordinarily blown-out-of-proportion fight between two loving individuals who had lost their temper.
However, this recent video-related scandal has brought to the fore the differences in lifestyles between Jane and me and views on publicity again and I sincerely fear that this might have proved too much for my wife who has always worried about the potential impact of my acting career choice on our family life and privacy. Jane, I hope that you can once more forgive me and try to rebuild our marriage. I am truly sorry that our personal matters have been brought to the attention of the public and that you have suffered tremendously because of this. I also apologize for my past conduct and short temper and promise to do everything possible to rebuild our marriage and be a better husband who will love you till the end of our days.
Finally, I address the public and especially the media, and ask you to leave my wife in peace, as she did not ask for this. I ask for your understanding. As for my fans, I appreciate the support and encouragement that you have provided and I ask for your forgiveness over my unacceptable behavior!
Phase #2: Forgiveness
Representing different clients for a long time, the attorney naturally learns a lot about them and their family life, as well as their interests, values, hobbies, and all other elements that constitute their lives. Therefore, no matter how hard the lawyer may strive towards preserving professional and objective relationships, it is easy for him/her to become close with their clients. Furthermore, it happens that clients start confiding in their lawyer as they are convinced that all the information will be kept confidential and that they do not have to worry that someone else will learn about their concerns, misdeeds, and private information. Jane has been my client for some time and I know that she is a high-ranking government official who is married to Michael who works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, California. They have two children together. At first glance, in spite of their status and fame, Jane and Michael have done their best to be an ordinary couple with a normal family life who try to be focused simultaneously on their careers while providing their children with normal life as possible.
However, recently an unknown person has released a grainy surveillance video that shows a serious fight between Michael and Jane, including alleged domestic violence in which Jane is the victim, and Michael is the perpetrator. Michael has been trying to reach Jane and apologize, yet, being a very private person, Jane has chosen to withdraw from public life and now communicates only with a few of her closest friends and children. The video has been broadcast by several major news outlets for several days now. Jane has contacted me and asked for advice on whether she should forgive her husband despite having strong negative feelings towards him. She has weighed several factors both for and against reconciliation and has asked me to offer my advice both professionally as a lawyer and as a person. Frankly speaking, the situation is quite new to me and I am at loss as to whether I have the right to advise Jane given the delicate situation, but I will try to do that to the best of my abilities and following my heart.
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Hence, it is necessary to say at first that Jane claims that the main reason for her withdrawal is not her concerns about privacy, but that “she hates him and never wants to see him again”. She also indicates that Michael owes her “big,” but refuses to elaborate further in this direction. Such negative feelings imply that Michael must have done something really bad and that perhaps his denial of domestic violence does not align with Jane’s view of the situation. At the same time, knowing Jane it is difficult to imagine that she would passively tolerate repeated instances of domestic violence and still choose to stay with her husband. In order to achieve her position as a high-ranking governmental official, Jane has had to work extremely hard and her will is very strong, as well as her sense of self-respect and self-worth. Besides, she is financially independent and even though she would stand to gain wealthier in the event of a divorce, Jane is simply not the type of person who would be motivated by money. Therefore, it is possible that the video shows the first instance of domestic violence or a serious fight in which Michael could have beaten her even though the video is fuzzy and it is not clear as to what has really happened between the two. Thus, I have to base my advice to Jane on this one-time instance without making any decisions as to whether it was their first fight or not.
First and foremost, I would like to clarify my position on domestic violence and marital fights. I am strongly against domestic violence in any form or manifestation and consider it to be unacceptable in the family as it has severe negative impacts on the woman and children. Of course, men can also be victims of domestic violence, which I would be equally opposed to, but such cases are less frequent than gender-motivated domestic violence against women and they have no relation to the case under consideration. Women who tolerate domestic violence are psychologically damaged by repeated exposure to physical and emotional violence and need professional assistance to gather up the courage to leave their husbands and then regain their self-esteem and return to their regular lives. Therefore, women should weigh all the pros and cons of staying in the marriage after the first signs of potential or actual domestic violence, as well as consider the chances of its repetition and sincerity of the husband’s repentance and willingness to change. I believe that sometimes people can become better as individuals if they have enough motivation and will to do that, for instance, by attending anger management courses and addressing the underlying reasons for their violent behavior, yet such instances are exceptionally rare.
With respect to Michael, I am not sure whether he is genuinely sorry for allegedly subjecting his wife to physical and emotional pain. The matter is that Michael is a major celebrity thanks to his success in the entertainment sphere and as a result, his reputation is very important for him. Although not all representatives of this industry have stellar reputations and are frequently suspected of cheating on their spouses, abusing drugs and alcohol, and engaging in other activities that are frown upon by society, Michael values his reputation. Moreover, he has been rattled by the media outrage and public outcry related to the allegations of his participation in domestic violence. This problem is topical in contemporary society and the overwhelming majority of well-known personalities have voiced their negative attitudes towards such conduct. Therefore, unless Michael reconciles with his wife and clears his reputation, he is at the risk of becoming ostracized in the industry and losing film roles, endorsements and as a result a great deal of money. Jane also says that his attempts to ask for forgiveness have not been completely sincere and that his utmost concern is preserving his reputation beyond anything else. Based on this information, I cannot advise Jane to treat Michael’s apologies as genuine and sincere and fear that the situation could repeat itself in the future.
Jane is hesitating about making the final decision on separation from Michael or forgiving him for several reasons. First, she regards herself as a devoted Catholic who believes divorce should be the absolute last resort. She takes the “till death do us part” vow very seriously and in spite of her anger has not completely closed the door on the marriage. Besides, she follows the Pope’s encouragement that adherents be patient, merciful, and forgiving. On the other hand, the problems in their marriage go beyond the alleged domestic abuse. Jane suspects Michael of cheating her based on text messages and whispers that she has heard from people in the entertainment industry. If the allegations are true, it is difficult to imagine how the marriage could be saved. Therefore, I would recommend that Jane consider all of her options and base her decision on factors such as her personal well-being and that of her children. While marriage infidelity does not encompass the same physical pain that domestic abuse can cause, it certainly creates emotional trauma that is difficult to handle. For this reason, Jane should not rule out a divorce
Nonetheless, prior to proceeding with divorce and ultimate separation, I will advise Jane to sort her feelings out. She must clear her head and assess the situation objectively without letting her anger and hurt to interfere with her decisions. Discussing this with a therapist would be helpful, as she would learn techniques for making the decision. She should evaluate the incident and determine whether it was domestic violence and what caused it. She should think back to the situation and recollect whether there was only shouting or whether physical violence was involved. In addition, she should think back and assess all the years of her marriage. It is understandable that now she feels hurt and angry and maybe even wants revenge judging by her words that Michael “owes her big”, yet she must decide clearly for herself what she wants for her future. If she truly no longer loves Michael and has only remained with him out of religious conviction or due to other reasons discussed in more detail below, then I would advise her to leave him. In any case, if there have been repeated instances of domestic violence, she should not hesitate to leave him for good and perhaps seek justice by legal means. Nevertheless, if there was no domestic violence as such, and there were only marital quarrels, and she still loves her husband deep inside her heart, they can seek out a marital therapist to sort their problems out.
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Secondly, Jane hesitates to leave Michael and subsequently divorce him because of her worries about the future of their children, which is why she has been considering reconciling with her husband. The problem is that this way of thinking is extremely misguided. Jane’s notion about sacrifice her personal happiness and life and spend it with the man whom she does not love and who may be abusing her emotionally and physically for the sake of children is destined to fail in the long term. This is because growing up in such an environment will have extremely adverse consequences on the children, including their mental health and psychosocial well-being. There is no chance that children are not witnessing domestic violence if it is indeed present in the house. Being exposed to it since the early years, they internalize fear and distrust to adults, as they are constantly worried that their parents will start fighting. They develop a distrust for adults and romantic relationships in general, which often makes such children incapable of building and maintaining healthy relationships with peers and other people of all ages both in adolescence and adulthood. There is also a high risk that domestic violence targeting the wife will one day be aimed at the children since a man in rage is capable of anything, especially if children try to protect the mother. This way, Jane risks the well-being of her children by remaining in the marriage even if there is domestic violence in their family. Children will ultimately have a much happier upbringing if both of their parents are happy, and their chances of life success will be higher if they grow up in a secure, safe, and calm environment. Besides, the divorce of parents does not automatically mean that the children will be abandoned by their father. Jane and Michael can decide the custody issues as civilized adults and the children will be able to keep in close contact with both of them. Moreover, there is a high likelihood that their relationship with their parents will improve if they stop seeing parents fighting and quarreling since they will trust them more. With respect to the financial security of children, Michael would be obligated to provided child support for them and he would see them regularly, especially if they manage with Jane to build a friendly relationship and she can forgive him for all the hurt that his behavior has brought her. Hence, the children should not be the reason why Jane cannot divorce Michael, and together they can continue participating in the children’s lives even after divorce, thereby alleviating their concerns about the children’s future.
Finally, Jane often says that she does not want to be miserable for the rest of her life, yet she fails to mention whether this misery will be related to being alone and single with children or remaining in the unhappy marriage that she is currently in. Irrespective of the exact cause of her misery, I will point out to her that it is obvious that she cannot go on living like this. Personal happiness is among the most essential things in life and she should sort things out and decide what happiness means specifically for her. If she says that she is miserable and unhappy because of her current marriage, I will recommend that she separate from Michael and initially try living without him for some time. As time passes, if she ultimately decides that this is what she really wants, then I will suggest that she file for divorce. Nonetheless, I will still ask her to try to forgive Michael deep in her heart as hatred and hurt will bring misery to her life, yet again it is necessary to emphasize that her forgiving Michael does not mean returning to him and going on with their life as before. She can try to forgive him by focusing on all the happy moments they have shared over the years, about the love they had when they married, and their shared concerns and love for their future. If she forgives him, they can remain cordial towards each other, which will benefit their children. If she decides that she has been hurt too much, they simply avoid each other – even if it means their only contact with each other is through Michael’s attorney and me – and therefore prevent further fights from occurring for the sake of children. Besides, I will try to explain Jane that misery is the inner state and that she can be happy without Michael and that if the point comes in the future when she has healed and is ready to date men again, she should think optimistically. Her intelligence and high status as a government position certainly means she will not be lacking in potential suitors. In any case, she has her children and her career, as well as other things that surely bring joy to her life. She should decide not to be miserable any longer, and that will become the start of her new life. However, if Michael is the one who is making Jane miserable, I will obviously recommend separation and divorce.
Ultimately, Jane is the only one who can decide whether there is a place for Michael in her life. In any case, I will emphasize in our conversation that Jane can forgive Michael and still divorce him. The fact of the matter is that forgiving does not mean reconciliation and re-initiation of their marital relations. In turn, forgiving is the inner state of harmony and letting go of all anger, fear, anxiety, hurt, and other negative emotions caused by the other person and interactions with this person. Letting these negative emotions go will surely have a positive impact on Jane’s emotional well-being and will help her find peace in life. Currently, she claims to hate Michael, and even if this hate has underlying causes, it is still emotionally exhaustive for Jane. Hate can ruin a person’s life and deprive it of happiness and all other positive emotions. Thus, with a view to avoiding self-destructive feelings, Jane should consider forgiving Michael, although she does not have to do it immediately. However, at some point, it will become necessary as it is a prerequisite of rebuilding her life and finding inner peace that will allow her to live further and experience future joys in life. Therefore, I will advise Jane to forgive Michael when she feels capable of doing so but will emphasize that it does not mean that they should reunite. Moreover, I will ask her to seek professional assistance from a therapist or a counselor to help her deal with the emotional and psychological wounds.
Phase #3: Reconciliation
Each marriage is unique and all families encounter different problems while living together. These problems are caused by different factors and situations that are unique to each marriage, which is why it is difficult for outside observers to accurately assess the situation and decide whether the married couple should attempt at reconciliation. In some cases, reconciliation is in the best interest of both parties of the conflict and some marriages even become stronger after overcoming the quarrels and difficult periods of their marital life. In turn, in other cases, separation is the best option that will ensure the happiness and safety of the husband and the wife, as well as being beneficial for their children. In the case under consideration, it is difficult to predict for sure whether full reconciliation is possible or even advisable as there is too little accurate evidence, and both sides of the conflict present different versions of the events. However, reconciliation seems to be possible if both partners sincerely want it and the victim is willing to forgive his/her spouse for causing the problems.
For full reconciliation between wife and husband to happen, the latter must issue a sincere and genuine apology, while the former needs to accept his apology and forgive him. Michael needs to acknowledge his faults and take full responsibility for his deeds regardless of possible repercussions. Without acknowledgment of the misdeed, Michael’s apology will not be regarded as genuine and would merely seek to ignore the scandal, which might work in the short-term but would not address the underlying cause of the incident. Domestic violence is a serious and topical problem in contemporary society and Michael needs to realize that such conduct is unacceptable and can be persecuted under the law if the wife decides to file criminal charges. However, he should not issue an apology and admit his guilt under the pressure of external factors. Instead, his conscience and inner moral core should oblige him to do that. He must sincerely realize all implications of his conduct and be ready to take responsibility for it. He should also find a way to solve his problems with a view to abstaining from such conduct in the future. If perhaps alcohol abuse, other substances, stress, or some psychological problems have resulted in violence, he should see a therapist in order to start treating his problems, as well as abstain from alcohol and controlled substances. Michael should also give his wife time to process the incident and cope with its aftereffects. Nonetheless, the most significant prerequisite for full reconciliation is a sincere and genuine apology of the perpetrator and his willingness and determination to rebuild his marriage and family life.
Another prerequisite for full reconciliation between Michael and Jane is that the latter forgive him for all the pain, suffering, and hurt his behavior has caused. It is not easy to forgive the dearest people as they cause the most hurt that runs deep and may last for a long time. However, it is possible to do that in the case under consideration, even if Jane needs time to heal before offering forgiveness. The current words of the victim show that she is angry and wants revenge. Besides, she is miserable at the current time. In order to forgive, she needs to find the inner strength and the love she had felt for her husband before the incident. Love can solve any problem no matter how serious and complicated they may seem. I believe that forgiving in the case under consideration is possible if Michael shows repentance and regret and Jane manages to overcome her anger. Men often fail to understand that their actions and words hurt their beloved significantly and cannot find an underlying cause of the problem. If Jane continues to hold a grudge against her husband over some other issue and his actions beyond the ones involved in the media scandal, she should tell him that directly or otherwise he will never know that. The husband should stop being so hardheaded and playing an alpha male role and listen to his wife attentively, trying to realize what she truly feels and why. Overall, family therapy can assist them with this if they are willing to try to reconcile and save their marriage. Besides, it is necessary to note that forgiving does not mean forgetting, but at the same time, it does involve thinking and reminding the man about the incident all the time. Jane should try letting go of her anger and hurt and seek inner harmony and peace. If she decides to forgive, she should do that without holding back so that their future life is not tainted with negative memories of the incident. Nonetheless, in case the situation repeats itself in the future, she should be prepared to acknowledge that the apology was not sincere and that reconciliation was not full and effective.
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Overall, as an outside observer of the situation, I believe that full reconciliation is possible under the given circumstances. Unfortunately, marital life is full of obstacles and domestic violence is, unfortunately, a common occurrence, but the latter can be prevented in the future and the couple can restore their relationship. The most important prerequisites of full reconciliation include their sincerity, honesty, and willingness to work on their relationships, identify problems, and develop mutually satisfactory solutions to these problems. Human beings are mostly kind-hearted by nature and tend to forgive when they realize that it is the only way to heal and lead a healthy and happy life. However, the person should be sincere in their willingness to do that as otherwise, neither forgiving nor reconciliation will be possible.
In addition, if given the opportunity to influence the situation to lead towards reconciliation, I would initially try to find out whether the incident was one-time and did not invoke serious harm to the victim since this factor would influence my decision whether to promote reconciliation or recommend complete separation of the couple. If the incident was truly one-time, I would demand that Michael sincerely apologize and then go the extra step by demonstrating this with his actions, not just with his words since it will take more than a statement to regain her trust. I would also advise him to reconsider their previous life and develop some strategies aimed at making Jane’s life happier and easier. For instance, he could take more responsibility for children’s upbringing by spending more quality time with them when he is not filming his latest action movies. This way, the man could show his wife how much he values their common life and that he is serious in his intentions to change for the better. However, I would advise him not to try to pressure her into forgiving him. Instead, he should give her time and space, while still being there when she needs him. Attention to her needs and desires is important as well. With respect to Jane, I would advise her to think about all the good things they have had together and remind her how much she loved him when they first got married. I would emphasize that all married couples experience difficulties and even crises in their life, but the most important thing is to listen to and hear each other, as well as support each other in all ambitions and endeavors.
If the couple has lived together long enough and has children, it means that they feel something for each other and this feeling cannot be easily erased by a one-time incident. This would be how I would try to lead to full reconciliation if it were revealed that the incident was one-time and not severe. However, if domestic violence was an inseparable part of their marriage, I would encourage the woman to leave the husband, file charges against him, and request full custody of their children.