What is the alternative to divorce?

The obvious answer is, the couple stays together. Many couples do, for a variety of reasons. Everyone has heard this: “We’re staying together for the sake of the children.” Until no fault and the liberalization of divorce laws, many unhappy couples stayed together until the children grew up and left home. At one time, society expected the selflessness of spouses who could put a stable home for children ahead of their own quest for happiness.

Staying married does not necessarily mean that couples have resuscitated their troubled marriages. It may have meant they have achieved an understanding and in some cases a kind detente. This regime is one many couples live with, and it can work provided that the spouse remain cordial and don’t turn everyday life into a battlefield. In this, spouses may achieve a benign indifference to one another and yet preserve the social and financial benefits of a marriage. It is a kind of trade that some couples consider worth the effort.

Many couples abide dead marriages for years. Some may even go to great lengths, putting on a masks that mislead even friends and family. In this routine, the spouses must achieve a rapport that insures a measure of domestic tranquility because fighting and arguing in front of children does them no good at all.

Because divorce is such an everyday thing, some social scientists and observers believe that people jump too readily to a divorce, when it would be possible to salvage the marriage.

Sometimes couples can and do reconcile and deal with the differences they have. They decide the marriage is not damaged beyond repair. It may be a cliche to say that a marriage can be stronger for weathering a storm, but it is often true.

A good divorce lawyer will usually urge his or her clients to seek marriage counseling before proceeding with a divorce, because many marriages are not dead, but just wounded.