Til divorce do us part: Knowing when it's time to end a long marriage (or relationship)

Apr 9, 2012, 6 a.m.

All These Years: What Have We Done -- Signs of Ending Relationship

"All These Years" is an old country song by writer and artist Sawyer Brown. Some see this song as just another melody about cheating, broken hearts, and accusations. But Sawyer Brown's words nip at the most important concepts of marriage, life and long-term partnerships. In words set to a melody of sadness and sorrow, it addresses many of the primary causes of divorce.

The song speaks of the monotony that can accompany the process of making a living. It acknowledges how easily people can co-exist without being aware of what is going on in the family. It talks about the gradual personality changes that accumulate until eventually two people, once bound as one, are no longer joined in mind and spirit. The singer expresses a deep understanding in the causes of divorce. He confronts the sense of confusion that accompanies the subtle family burdens that mount and accumulate until they eventually lead to divorce and a befuddled pondering of what happened to the years.

Feeling The Winds of Divorce Even Before The Mind Can Assimilate The Facts

Sincere couples enter a marriage with an honest desire to hold it stable through conditions of better or worse. They are serious about the concept of "'til death do us part." They believe, with all their heart and mind that their love will surmount every obstacle. But sometimes the differences are just too great to overcome. Sometimes living together results in overwhelming circumstances. Suddenly a once happy couple faces one of the most difficult questions of their life: When to divorce?

Separation or divorce is seldom easy. The causes of divorce can come about early in the union or after many long years of perceived peace, shared struggles, or even decades of tolerated rejection and abuse. In some cases, the incompatibilities show up quickly. A marriage or cohabitation ends even before it has taken up a serious beginning. In other cases, the deterioration seeps in so slowly that you don't even see the signs of ending relationship until it has already terminated.

The effects are real. Pain comes and goes. Something feels wrong, but the mind refuses to respond to the distant howling that accompanies the winds of divorce.

A Parting of the Ways in the Mellow Years of Life

The balance of this article discusses long-term unions that are nearing an end. If, for some reason, you are drawn toward the technical details concerning cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the United States, download this report from the Department of Health and Human Services. It speaks of complications that involve money, adultery, abuse, race, age, and much more.

But if you are reading this article, the real question at hand is likely this: When to divorce? The signs of an ending relationship are specific to each case. You are the only one that really knows your personal causes of divorce.

You are in the mellow years of life. You may have invested forty of fifty years into this marriage. A parting of ways may not be the best solution. Rather than seeking out a divorce, perhaps you should consider ways to bring two people back into a state of mental, physical, and emotional harmony.

But if it has gone too far, and the roads up ahead are all closed, and the bridges behind are already burned to the ground, divorce may be your only alternative. Only you can determine when to divorce.

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