Divorce. The word itself sounds angry. I have two young friends; one is considering divorce and the other is in the thick of it. Both situations make my heart break in two.

I love marriage. I have almost 30 years of it under my belt (you’ll be hearing more about that very soon), and while we’ve had our ups and downs like everybody else, I still love it. I still love him. I’m crazy about the fact that we are in this life as a team, and that we’re stronger together than we would be as two separate people.

One of those friends asked me why I thought Kevin and I had worked out. After all, we were only 18 and 19 when we became engaged, 19 and 20 when we walked down the aisle. The world slammed some powerful odds against us that day. I gave her a couple of answers, but I’ve really thought about it since. This is what I think:

  • We chose well. I don’t say that arrogantly; please hear me. Even at our young age, we were able (praise God) to see patterns for success in each other. We were very fortunate to both come from parents who modeled committed marriages. We were both respectful to those parents. We were each strong in the areas where the other was weak, forming a great compliment to each other. We were on the same page about faith (first and foremost), children, and we had common goals. We were able to work out our differences well, and problem-solve together during challenges.
  • We support each other. Whether it be dreams or challenges, we both do our best to be there for the other. If we don’t agree with the dream or goal, we’ve become better about speaking up and voicing any concerns (after learning the hard way a time or two!).
  • We listen to each other. Whether just recounting our day, or giving audience to something really important, we try not to tune each other out, even when we’re tired, or angry. We’re not always successful, but we are committed to try.
  • We’ve invested in our marriage regularly. When Maddie was a week old, Kevin arranged for my mother to watch her so he could take me to a movie. I was horrified that he wanted me to leave my tiny baby, but he was insistent. So off we went to see who knows what movie, because all I did was check my watch the whole time. However, I look back at that now, and see it as wisdom beyond his 24 years. He set a precedent that day, that we would not lose us in that new phase of our lives, since, one day, those little people would grow up and move out and it would be us once again. Regular time together, regular intimacy (sorry kids!), and special planned time away, have all been of great benefit to us as we’ve entered the empty nest phase of our lives.
  • We have never stopped laughing or dreaming. He still cracks me up like nobody else, and we have a lot of fun together. We also dream about the future all the time. Trust me when I tell you that God has made us very aware of who’s in charge, but if we didn’t plan together, we wouldn’t keep moving in the same direction. Really, we’d stop moving at all.
  • We value each other. We try hard to each think of the other before ourselves, and make sure we feel loved and cared for all the time. We work to make each other feel valued not only for what we do to make our home and marriage work, but for who we are as people, not taking the other for granted.
  • We don’t engage in spouse-bashing. I trust him to speak well of me to other people, and he trusts me to do the same. If I trash him to people who don’t really know him, his one bad day could be the bad first impression that taints him forever in their eyes. We treat each other honorably.
  • We forgive. We try to not dredge up or rehash, but forgive, mean it, and move on.
  • We keep God in the middle. When we get out of sync with keeping God in the middle of us, inching Him out and running things ourselves, we always regret it. We work hard at keeping Him as the leader, because He’s always moving in the right direction.
  • We have never considered divorce an option. We went into the church 30 years ago with the full intention of signing off on a life-time deal. It wasn’t commitment to make a go of it. It wasn’t commitment as long as we still love each other, or as long as it works out. It was forever. So, because of that, divorce was never an option in the heat of an argument, or when we were each almost blind with anger. It was never an option when the other messed up royally and the consequences effected us both. We made a promise and we’ve been keeping it for all this time because we are committed to it and each other.

I don’t list these things out to make us look like we have the perfect marriage. We don’t. I am no more qualified to write a guidebook on the do’s and don’t’s of marriage than the next married person. But I can tell you what has worked for us, in hopes that there might be something of use in it for you, or really, for those young people coming up behind. Marriage can seem like something you might try for a while and see how it works, or something causing you to wonder why in the world anyone would get themselves entangled in it. Really, it is inching its way toward being completely irrelevant in the world today, which devastates me. But I’m here to tell you that long, committed marriage is possible. Hard sometimes; completely worth it ALL the time.

Because you find and understand yourself in a way you’ll never achieve otherwise, when you go all in, focusing and investing in the right someone else, ’til death do you part…just the way God intended.


“Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Matthew 19:5 MSG