My friend wanted some help with his marriage. He did not know anything about counseling, and he was even a little averse to it. His wife did not know what to expect. I told them they should check out http://accesscm.org to see if they would answer all their questions before they went into a counseling commitment. I am no expert, but even I can tell they needed some sort of outside help. They are not making any progress on their own. Plus, they have the kids all messed up now with them worrying about whether or not their parents will be getting a divorce.
I think that marriage vows are absolute. That is obviously my opinion, and it is not shared by everyone. From my perspective I think that everything and anything that could be done to save a marriage should be done before you go getting a divorce lawyer. I know that emotions run high when there is serious conflict in a marriage. Infidelity and abuse make it all that much worse. Once you lose trust, it seems impossible at the time to ever be able to regain it. This is where professional help comes in. It can show you what is wrong and how to fix it.
There is no magic bullet to fix broken marriages. However, there is value in looking to see if there is something worth saving. Does forgiveness come into play? It most certainly does. That is part of both healthy and unhealthy marriages. Both sides need to learn to forgive. Both sides need to also learn respect and how to be less selfish. I am one of those people that see marriage as a 100 percent venture instead of that 50/50 thing so many people tout nowadays. I am against the Hollywood throwaway types of marriage where you stay together as long as it is okay with both parties. I see value in having a third-party counsel a couple whose marriage is on the rocks.