Becky Zerbe reached that point in her marriage when she was done. The number of things that her husband, Bill, did that hurt her—or worse, infuriated her—was getting longer than she could count, and she was way past the boiling point. One day, she waited for her husband to leave work, and as soon as he did, she packed up her 14-month-old son and left the house.

Fortunately, her parents lived in the same town, and that’s where she went so she had the convenience of escape. As she walked through the door she was relieved to hear her mom was going to be supportive of her decision; in fact, she offered to help her through the process. Then she made one request:

“Mom put down my sleeping son, took a sheet of paper and pen, and drew a vertical line down the middle of the page. She told me to list in the left column all the things Bill did that made him impossible to live with. As I looked at the dividing line, I thought she’d then tell me to list all his good qualities on the right hand side. I was determined to have a longer list of bad qualities on the left. This is going to be easy, I thought. My pen started immediately to scribble down the left column.”

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