When I was kid (living in my pre-3rd grade house) I would begin to read Can This Marriage Be Saved? in my mom’s Ladies’ Home Journal. I’d always have the same feeling—an 8-year-old’s version of “That sonofabitch!” because the feature would always start with Her Turn and I never got to His Turn. I’d sneak a peek at the end of The Counselor’s Turn to see if it looked like the couple was going to make it. As I remember it, the marriages hardly ever failed.

Yesterday, I was enjoying some unstructured time in the library during my lunch hour. I usually read whatever book I’m into, but since I left my book at home, I perused the periodical section and picked up the current LHJ. When I saw the familiar feature, I experienced the most unusual feeling. I was eight and my heart sank and I was 56 and my heart sank, because I knew the answer was no. I knew that if I’d known at eight that someday I’d be in one of the couples that didn’t make it, I’d be ashamed, because at that time I thought it would always be in my power to make whatever home I’d create as a “grown-up” a good, two-parent home.

The irony is that, in my story, I really didn’t get to know the husband’s side either. After trying to engage him in therapy, he stood up, said he wanted out, and left the office. Then the counselor summed up for me why my marriage couldn’t be saved.