Wifey Wednesday: Divorce Proof Your Marriage

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day of our marriage linkup party! I talk about marriage and then I give you all a chance to link up your own marriage posts below.

Today, I welcome guest author, Holly Smith from A Martha Heart, who shares about divorce-proofing your marriage.

Before I even begin, I must remind you that I do not write this from a place of perfect or having it all together.  Lest you think that, please read my article here. Second, this is NOT an article of condemnation or rebuke for those of you, who are currently in the process of getting a divorce or have been divorced. I know how hurtful this is and how the process may make you feel a cloak of shame and pain–I have worn the same cloak through our journey of bankruptcy. The intent of this article is solely to give you tools, to be a help and to speak over this topic as a weapon against an unrelenting enemy, who has YOU and ME and our marriages squarely in his target.  Not for one moment should we ever forget that. So let’s shed a light on this topic, which could easily remain an unspoken topic. Finally, I am not an expert. But my Chris and I have received some good teaching over the years!

1. Take the word DIVORCE out of your daily conversations–when you are “joking” or even just being edgy, there is no need to open this door.  Leave it closed.  Now, I’m not being silly and saying that the word divorce will never come up in discussion. For after 21 years of marriage, we have watched our fellow comrades fall to it.  Every time it has broken our hearts–every time it has cut us to the core. And every time, we do pray for those involved truly.  It is not a matter for gossip nor is it a topic we enjoy, but it should bring out compassion in your heart for both husband and wife and for other family members and friends.

2. Stay on the same team.  If it becomes you versus me in any aspect of our lives, then we need to talk it out and possibly get good godly counsel. This is from a Longhorn, Methodist and Yankee who married an Aggie, Baptist and Southern boy.  Work out every difference that matters!  Some things are just fun to have opinions about, but when it edges on dissension, and you will know in your heart what that feels like, then take time to work that out. Talk about those things.  Talk about the areas where you are feeling like a situation or person is trying to divide.  Then get back to back and face the situation, as a battle. A divided house will not stand.  It won’t and it can’t.

3. When you have “somewhat” against them and you find it creeping into every conversation and many thoughts, there and then you need to throw the baggage out.  You have been carrying it too long.  Forgive it. Cover it with grace.  And love them.  I guarantee you that these thoughts will continue to happen–because, as I said you have a very real enemy, who whispers in your ear ALL the time.  So do I.  And though my hackles might rise up again, I must CHOOSE how I’m going to think.  Take that baby captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Love covers a multitude.  Choose to love.  Yes, I know.  I know it smarts and it hurts, but you choose to cover it with love. When the time is right and interruptions are nil, discuss this “somewhat” with your mate.  Tell them, this hurt me.  I love you.  But you need to know this hurt and we need to work through it.

4. Get away together.  Make it happen–even if it is a “stay-cation” kind of thing.  If you have children, you need to find a way to spend at least 24 hours together without interruptions and do what you used to do, before children. This is the time to discuss the hard things and time to DREAM and time to re-learn what it is that made you fall in love. I highly recommend Family Life’s Weekend to Remember.  My Chris and I have gone six times and benefited greatly from each one.  It is a great investment! We have given it as gifts and we will most certainly go again!

5. Laugh together.  Laugh at yourself and your silliness.  Laugh at the quirkiness of life.  Laugh about the things that once again are happening (like $4.31 in your bank account–hello? we still need a budget!).  Watch a funny movie. Listen to Brian Regan. Take a walk down through your neighborhood and “silly walk” the whole time.

6. Guard your heart and your mind.  Watch what you watch.  Watch what you read. Leave the past in the past–no archaeology to see how “they” are now. Leave them.  Guard it. If you find that what you are doing (what you are watching, drinking or participating in) brings out the “old man” in you (your old way of life before Christ changed your way of living), guard there.  Don’t go there.  Lock the door and throw away the key. When you are with other couples, guard your tongue and what you say regarding your spouse.  One word of criticism will effectually emasculate them.  Speak words that edify. Watch how your body language speaks, too.  I cannot tell you the times I have watched another woman speak “available” to my Chris. You better believe I was not only watching but placing myself and Jesus between us.  Two layers of impossible right there– we don’t spend time with them again.

7. NEVER go to lunch or be in the same home with someone of the opposite sex alone–unless it’s a family member. NEVER. I don’t care if it’s business or whatever.  Don’t do it. Bring a friend.  Invite your spouse along.  It is a good boundary.

8. Self-monitor your conversations in social networking. Guard every aspect of your words and intent. If you struggle here, I recommend that you invite your spouse or a close friend to keep watch and have the right to say–that looked a little flirty to me.


9. Find those activities you enjoy together and make TIME for them.  We love to read and to travel.  We love outdoors and hiking. We enjoy movies and going out to dinner. We hold hands and smile at one another often. We love to listen to music–past and present–and to sing.  These (and much more) are activities that we enjoy. Watch over your schedules here and make one another priority.  Most activities we enjoy do not cost a cent either, so no excuses.  You DO what you WANT to do.

10. Dream of the future together.  Talk about the dearest passions of your life and plan for it. I have a sweet friend, who wanted to swim with sharks. Her husband had cancer and he died. Afterwards she found that he had stashed away in their closet savings for her dream–just a dollar and then some more, but enough for the trip.  She immediately planned and went.  Though her heart was (and is still) broken, they dreamed together and planned for it. Dreaming is something God intended for us to do and it is even better if we can dream together and weave plans for the future.  They may not happen the way we hoped, but we are tied together–and what God has tied together, no man or “impossibility” can separate.

Perhaps here, you’d like for me to give you an out…like a get out of jail free card or an excuse.  I won’t.  I will pray for you, though.  You are welcome to let me know to do just that.  Marriage is worth it.  It is sacred and blessed.  And I am in this for life with my Chris.  After 21 years, I find that we are still learning about one another–I know that we can never outlive our ability to find out more and love more and laugh more and dream more. He is my heart–not one part do I withhold.

What advice do you have for us today? Link up your own URL in the linky below!

31 Days to Great Sex
31 Days to Great Sex is here (only $4.99!) It's the best $5 you'll ever spend on your marriage!

Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

Find out more here.





Comments

  1. Wow Holly, what a great post.

    I remember learning some of these things in our own premarital and post marital counseling. Of course before we got married, some of the counsel felt like “duh, of course we’ll do that! who wouldn’t?! we are in love, people!” And then we got married and realized that the pre-wedding and honeymoon buzz does ebb! And as Jim Rohn says, you realize that it’s hard to drift your way to the top of a mountain!

    As we mentor and walk with couples (courting and marrieds), my hubby and I find that some (just like we did) do struggle/wonder at these radical, counter-cultural, simplistic-sounding things that make a marriage strong. I think many folks are waiting for a miracle cure ‘out there’, unwilling to accept that it’s the daily habits, prioritization, radical mindsets and actions that keep their marriage growing and flourishing.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…We are Happy, not PerfectMy Profile

  2. This is such a great post. Thank you for sharing..

  3. This list stands the test of time.
    I find what people need to pay close attention to is their “me” thinking. What’s in it for me, what’s he doing for me, how will that affect me, and other self-centered thinking that directly inhibits or encourages our actions, thoughts and attitudes.

    In the past ten years, more or less, electronics and social media have topped the relationship iceberg with a new layer of distraction. The past can show up at that doorstep, and a new future can start there, in a wrong direction, all depending on the hold those media have on a person. Someone happily married can feel that draw — Satan is wiley, crafty and uses kindness and good deeds as his foot in the door. Keep guard at the door every minute. We, as married people, cannot let our guard down, ever.

    Thanks for this — I’ll pass it along to several people today, and I hope it will continue to travel after that!
    Amy recently posted…The Text and “App”lication Parenting DilemmaMy Profile

  4. Okay..so what would you do with this situation..My husband and I have been married 30 yrs. We have a friend who has done our haircuts for years. We pay her. She has recently lost tons of weight and looks good. I have noticed that her clothes have become a little more tight fitting and lower on the top. The last time she came to do our hair..she made some comments and all of a sudden..it hit me..She’s flirting with my husband! He was not able to get his hair cut at the time because of stitches he had so she said..next time you are in town..just come to my house..and I will do it then..We have all done this before..I told him..you are not going to her house alone and he didn’t put up a fuss because I think he recognized it. So our daughter went with him..Our friend doesn’t always have the happiest marraige. My husband is a good looking man, financially secure, and is an awsome husband and father. She knows it..because she’s seen this for 17 yrs. doing our hair. He has done some remodeling in their bathroom for bartering for hair cuts and she still owes up about $1300 worth of hair cuts..We have literally watched her kids grow up and her son is friends with my youngest sons..
    I’m keeping a watch on it and I’m there always when she’s cutting his hair.Not letting my guard down for a second..

    • My own reaction, based on the dicey situation you have going, is this: Your husband is knowledgeable of the situation, you’re alert, you have some protections in place …

      but find a new stylist.

      If you are financially secure, the $1300 still owed means nothing in view of building a protective wall around your marriage. You want a fortress, not a child’s playhouse.

      And, pray for this woman, her husband and her marriage, for her to find peace and renewed relationship with her husband. In my mind, she would be an enemy — an attack on my marriage — and I have learned to get my feelings out of the way and pray for that person who COULD cause harm to find a healthy alternative. To feast at her own table, to drink from her own well.

      Lastly, give God thanks for your husband — for all he is to you, and for his view of this situation. It appears you have a good man, and that does attract someone who does not.
      Amy recently posted…I Blog Because …My Profile

  5. This is all fantastic advice! Thank you for writing this.
    Jaimie recently posted…Abraham: Living by FaithMy Profile

  6. Keri, if it was me, I would kindly write a note of appreciation for all her years of service, let her know you are finding a new hairdresser/barber and then (if it was me), I would write $1300 Paid in Full. Flee from this situation. There is no need to place yourself or your husband in that sort of position. Money is all God’s and He will bring the increase from your forgiving the debt owed. At the same time, it is freeing you up to guard the gates and walls of your marriage. Praying for you! Holly
    Holly Smith recently posted…A Journey of Faith: Life that Can Not Be TakenMy Profile

  7. So many great points, Holly, but I especially like number 3. I think that’s one of the most destructive ones–if we don’t deal with the bitterness that’s building up and forming in our hearts. Great thoughts, as always and thanks to Sheila for highlighting your post!

  8. Holly what a great post and practical ways to protect our marriages. Thank you so much for sharing this…

  9. #11, umm….have sex often. Sorry as a man reading this I thought something huge was missing.

  10. Oh Fellas, I couldn’t agree more! I believe intimacy on EVERY level is what UNION is all about….communication with one another, prayer with and for one another and even staying healthy and fit for one another–so many aspects contribute to a great marriage and great sex.

    Like Ngina quoted above growth in marriage takes effort and intention–we don’t just naturally grow together. I live in Colorado, surrounded by 14ers. I’m not going to climb them without training, effort and hard work over a long period of time…same thing in divorce proofing your marriage. The layers of marriage and intimacy, with an adventurous and enthusiastic heart, is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER article (or more!). Sheila does an excellent job of tackling this topic from every angle–in a God-honoring way, too.

    Thank you both for sharing your point of view. Excellent!
    Holly
    Holly Smith recently posted…A Journey of Faith: Life that Can Not Be TakenMy Profile

  11. I love this post. Thanks for sharing it!

    Weekend to Remember was a huge part of saving our marriage 6 years ago. We’ve been twice, and I hope we can go back again in a few years!
    Megan G. recently posted…date nightMy Profile

  12. Never be alone in a home with person of opposite sex, regardless of if they are family. Have someone with you. Things can happen, sad to say, even with a family member or inlaw.

  13. Love this! Taking the “D” word out of the equation is so important. Removing this gives us the time we need to get to know each other and to accept each other’s differences. When throwing in the towel is not an option, you learn to fight with each other against the world rather than against each other. So fortunate that would is nowhere in our vocabulary.
    Fawn Weaver recently posted…Dinner + Movie Giveaway {& Link Up Thursdays}My Profile

  14. Thanks for your post, truly wonderful advice. My situation…I’ve scoured the internet trying to find biblical blogs for advice. My husband and I married in Sept ’08. In Nov ’08 he was laid off. Up to that point he was a very hard working man. Since then he has not been employed. He started his own car detailing business but it is not income producing (he is actually losing money). He has been doing this over 4 years. I’ve asked and begged for him to find a job. Any job. Minimum wage is better than he is doing now. He is a welder by trade and will only apply for those jobs – and that is sporadic at best. I pay all the bills and what I cant cover comes out of savings – and that $ is coming to an end – 2 more months and it will be gone! I told him yesterday that we either go to counseling or he needs to leave. He agreed to counseling (this time – he always refused it in the past). I pray this works. I feel such shame and resentment. I have to choose to love him daily b/c I’m not feeling it anymore. Any other suggestions of what I might try? He is not a believer. We do not have mutual friends. His family is not a source of support for us. We have basically become roommates (he falls asleep on the couch when he finally comes home at night). This is not who I married – this was not our life when we merged together.

  15. Dear S. My heart breaks for you, in your now situation. And yet, we have such a BIG God, who cares about the details of your marriage and your hearts. First, and it sounds simplistic, I would begin by asking God for scriptures to begin praying over your husband. Then I would pray that God would place godly men in his life to spur him on. Finally, I would pray over your every word and action towards your husband–asking God to take them all captive and make them obedient to Christ. Remind the Lord that your heart is FOR your husband and that you want the fullness of God’s very best for his and your lives. In the meantime, I would also practice “telling on him” to God. For instance, “Lord, convict him of sleeping on the couch. Lord, make the couch lumpy and uncomfortable, so that he wakes up with a crik in his neck. Lord, may he be driven back to our marriage bed.”

    And I will pray for you both, too!
    Holly
    Holly Smith recently posted…A Journey of Faith: Life that Can Not Be TakenMy Profile

  16. I enjoyed this post and agree with most of it though I must say #7 just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. To “NEVER” be alone with a person of the opposite gender is pretty extreme. I think a better suggestion would be to evaluate your own strengths/weaknesses regarding your marriage an set boundaries accordingly. I personally have never felt threatened by my husband’s interactions with other women (work related or otherwise) and haven’t felt myself tempted to inappropriate interactions with other men either. For me to follow this divorce proofing technique, I would have to quit my job for the perceived risk of me being alone with clients and coworkers. I understand if someone struggled with infidelity that this would be the appropriate action (along with counselling etc) but for myself, I would be quite insulted if my husband thought this rule was necessary for me to follow, as I am confident I can have non sexual/flirty etc. relationships with males.

  17. Hi! Great post! Thanks so much! One more thing I would add from personal experience: never be alone with your brothers-in-law. Yes, they are family, but NOT blood-related. No, I have never been alone with ANY of my brothers-in-law, but know that if I were, especially with one in particular, there would be many many issues, possibly even infidelity! That is just my own personal experience!

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Linked up to Wifey Wednesday. [...]

  2. [...] Sheila Wray Gregoire has a fantastic website called To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Her site is full of articles about marriage, divorce, faithfulness, parenting, about sex, and more. Not only is it a resource for information, but it’s also a great place to connect and support each other. Check out her Wifey Wednesday column – this week she talked about how to divorce-proof your marriage. [...]

  3. [...] in Wifey Wednesday. This week over at ToLoveHonorAndVacuum.com, Holly Smith wrote the guest post Divorce Proof Your Marriage. One thing that stuck out to me is the advice to keep the word DIVORCE out of your daily [...]

Leave a Comment

*


*

CommentLuv badge