This was written by Lionel Richie for a couple who decided to end their marriage in order to save their friendship. Commodore's member Lionel Richie got the idea for this song from the failing marriage of his childhood friend William "Smitty" Smith. After Smith's marriage broke up the two buddies had a long conversation from 9pm to sunrise in which they agreed that it's better to divorce as friends rather than stay married and hate each other.
Explaining why he wrote so many ballads for the Commodores, Richie explained that there was competition in the group to write songs, and every member would present songs for each album. Since his bandmates usually wrote up-tempo songs, he would counter with ballads, as they would inevitably need a slow song or two to balance out the album.