You are not ready to begin a divorce until you are satisfied you have tried everything to make your marriage work.

If complaints flood your mind, perhaps you need to examine what you’ve done to resolve them. If you’re unhappy, identify your opportunities to give your marriage a fair chance. The divorce process generates considerable strain, and I want you to be ready for it. You must be as comfortable as possible with your decision to divorce before you take steps to end your marriage.

Try a little harder before you give up. Invest the degree of energy you can imagine pouring into a new relationship before you abandon your marital commitment. Listen to your partner, enhance your physical attractiveness and rediscover your social skills. Reflect on the qualities that attracted you to each other originally and throughout the marriage.

See if you can fix it before you throw it away. This is so basic that it is sometimes overlooked, perhaps because divorce doesn’t always bring out one’s strong points. Successful men and women can be incapacitated, others may be rendered indecisive by guilt and some who have tried to leave their marriage before adequately dealing with its problems end up unable to proceed in any direction.

Trying a little harder to resolve marital problems is the first step in taking care of yourself. A small, risk-free investment of time and energy now may make divorce a lot more bearable for you. This chapter will help you examine your marriage and the prospects for marital counseling. I will take facts from actual relationships and divorce proceedings to illustrate the process.

First, we’ll look at examples of the extremes reached by relationships to start you thinking about where yours falls.

Second, the passage of time may work against a relationship. Evaluate how well your marriage has grown with you.

Third, you may lose your identity neglecting yourself and trying too hard to please. Here’s a way to attack the problem.

Fourth, counseling is the focus of this chapter. This basic technique is introduced and explained, with examples of success at saving the marriage and success at moving on to divorce.

Fifth, the chapter’s primary topic continues with a detailed road map for finding, picking and evaluating your counselor.