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Divorce focus: Knowing when to call it quits

Any person feeling inclined to read about marriage -- what makes a good one work, what poisons a partnership, tips to make a relationship prosper, certain behaviors that will unquestionably doom a marital union and so forth -- can wade into the subject matter in a mere instant.

Just google the term "divorce" and see. Actually, "wading" is probably not the right word; there is actually such an avalanche of advice and how-to articles on divorce-related matters that it is astoundingly easy for a reader to nearly drown in print.

That articles seem to be written just about every second on family law matters -- most centrally divorce -- is hardly surprising, actually, given how seriously humans tend to value their relationships with, well, humans.

Put another way: Marriage is quite a big deal, with most people in Arkansas and elsewhere willing to put some time and effort into making it work.

Alas, betrothed couples do not always sail off into perpetual bliss. Truth be told (many millions of Americans already know this, of course), some marriages are about as fun as root canals; they need to be ended, and no pre-split counseling sessions can do a thing to alter that fact.

The central question, of course, is this: How do you know -- truly know -- that your marriage absolutely should be ended sooner than later to promote your mental health and avoid living a perpetual nightmare?

Well, one of those ubiquitous articles mentioned above might have some salient points to make on that subject. One recent media article published just yesterday notes that one spouse being consistently critical and having a pronounced need to excessively control the other partner is a pretty fair gauge of a doomed union. That article also points to abuse -- emotional, physical and any other type of intimidating or threatening behavior -- as being a solid barometer for assessing marital instability.

Although those might strike some readers as being overtly obvious, we believe they merit repeating, given that it's sometimes not an easy task for a person involved in an unhealthy and even explosive relationship to routinely think clearly and dispassionately.

If you can't live together in love and harmony, notes the aforementioned article, "know when to call it quits."

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