Sometimes, what motivated someone to pursue divorce is fairly clear. Other times, the process of going from love and devotion to wanting to leave the other spouse is less obvious from the outside. Maybe even the divorcing spouse cannot describe how it happened.

Seeking to probe the thought process that sometimes leads to divorce, researchers at the University of Minnesota teamed up with colleagues at Brigham Young and the University of North Texas. It appears the researchers went into the study with an anti-divorce bias; “Researchers were encouraged to find that having thoughts of divorce does not mean that someone is ready to throw in the towel,” Deseret News reports.

“Encouraging” a certain result before the facts have been gathered does not sound very scientific. Still, it is undoubtedly true that many married people have considered divorce at some point and never gone through with it, or called off a divorce proceeding before it was over.

The study claims that 53 percent of those surveyed who had considered divorce were “soft thinkers” on the subject. In other words, they did not think about divorce often and described themselves as “willing to work hard on my marriage.” The remaining 47 percent were “serious thinkers” about divorce. Many of them said they were “not hopeful” about their marriage and agreed that they have considered divorce a lot.

The authors cautiously conclude that “maybe thoughts about divorce can be the spur needed to take some action” to keep one’s marriage together. However, not every marriage can be, or should be, saved. For those spouses, turning to an experienced divorce attorney is the best option.