How can someone recognize troubling times that lead to a divorce?

While the state has the say in the basics of the terms and conditions of what a marriage is, the two spouses themselves also make home rules -- the terms and conditions that are unique to them and to them alone. No one else knows these rules, and no one else should ever know them. These home rules, these private protocols, spoken and unspoken, are part of the intimacy of marriage that make it the most intimate of human relationships. Over time, spouses come to know so much about each other that they know every button to push and can inflict unimaginable pain upon each other when the marriage sours.

The difficult or "interesting" times are often not fully appreciated until they are past and the spouses look back on what they did together, particularly when that means overcoming pain and adversity or the satisfaction of raising children who turned out right.

Marriage is about the compounding and cumulation of memories. It’s not the house that matters, but the home that the husband, wife, and the kids made there. Memories last and usually get better with time. Couples who make memories together look back on them warmly.

There’s no test, no series of objective questions that anyone can answer that definitely say, "Yes, my marriage is doomed (or saved)."

There are certain warning signs, however. Constant bickering, arguments about nothing, silent withdrawal, nastiness -- all are warning signs that spouses should recognize, either as indications that the marriage is having trouble or to face the fact that the marriage is on the rocks.