Can(Or Should)Your Marriage Be Saved?

The situations that lead to divorce are as diverse as the demographics suggest: According to statistics from the US Census Bureau, about two and a half million people across all social and economic groups divorce each year. More than a million children are swept up in those divorces. And this group in crisis is joined by another

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Point of No Return

category of people: those at risk for divorce. The US Census Bureau tells us that fully 50 percent of all those who marry will eventually divorce an average of 11 years after the wedding.

The numbers tell only part of the story, of course, because in the end every divorce is unique. Reading the tabloids, we are reminded of that old truism from Tolstoy: "All unhappy families are different in their own way." And how! The details of others' divorces always titilate. Whether you're talking about Ivana and the Donald, or Prince Charles and Princess Di, the shocking inside story is worthy of the cover of People Magazine, and even Nightline, because at heart we are all voyeurs. The misfortunes of the rich and famous transport us, even if temporarily, out of the Sturm und Drang of our own fettered lives and make us realize how lucky we truly are.

It is only when we consider divorce for ourselves, however, that we recognize the enormous disruption and devastation the event can bring: For those who are separating, the fights can be draining, disruptive, unbearable. For the one who's leaving, the guilt may be overpowering. For the one who is left, the rejection may be ego-shattering. In the wake of divorce, children may find themselves bereft of a parent. They may feel they have caused the divorce, that they are to blame. Families who lived comfortably in the 'burbs as a unit now must sell the house, leave the neighborhood, and disperse to harsher, economically sparer realms. Divorce means divesting yourself of the comforts and accouterments of a life shared and starting out again—diminished in strength and number, and alone. The death of a marriage inspires, among other emotions, anger, grief, and fear.

For these reasons and more, divorce is not a decision to be entered into lightly. The decision to divorce, or to stay together and work it out, is the most important you may ever make. We hope this section of the Divorce Central website will help you grapple with the decision to end it, or to deal with the rejection if the decision has been thrust upon you by your spouse. Either way, look here for some ways you might start to navigate through life to a new beginning. We know the past has been arduous; but the divorced and divorcing must embrace the upbeat notion that the future, in the most positive sense of that word, starts now.

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