The Divorce-Proof Marriage

By Greg Smalley
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About a third to a half of all marriages will end in divorce. But by following seven straightforward guidelines most marriages can thrive. Investing in your spouse can produce a happy union.

Some people say that the three most beautiful words in the English language are I love you. The four
most heartbreaking, in my opinion, are I want a divorce. While divorce statistics fluctuate, about a
third to a half of all marriages will end with these four words. Just like that, a lifetime
commitment is broken.

We all want to live happily ever after. So how can we prevent our marriages from becoming another
divorce statistic? It’s not easy, of course. But here are seven strategies to strengthen your

Reaffirm your commitment.

Matthew 19:6 tells us, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What
therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Remove the word divorce from your
vocabulary. Make a decision to stay married and do whatever it takes to build your marriage.

Invest in your spouse.

Show him or her how valuable he or she is to you. How? Sacrifice for your
spouse. Acknowledge his or her special traits or virtues. Learn what makes him or her feel adored
and appreciated. Ask about your spouse’s goals, passions and dreams, and help him or her pursue

Invest in your marriage.

Pray together or share a devotional together. Go on dates. Take up a
shared hobby. Have sex often and in a way that you both like. Be a healthy individual.

It’s not enough to invest in your spouse and your relationship. You have
to take care of yourself, too. Deal with your personal baggage.

Fill yourself with God’s love.

can’t give what you don’t have.) Make sure to take time to do things that you enjoy, but also
remember to relax and recover your strength.

Practice healthy conflict.

Don’t sweep problems under the rug or avoid conflict. Deal with issues.

Surround yourselves with couples who have strong marriages.

Be deliberate about forging
friendships with husbands and wives who live out their commitment.

Get help.

Counseling isn’t just for emergencies — it can be preventative, too. If formal
counseling isn’t your thing, join a support group where you can find instruction, encouragement and

Dr. Greg Smalley is vice president of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.

Do you know of a marriage in crisis? Learn more about Focus on the Family’s marriage intensives by visiting

© 2018 Focus on the Family.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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About the Author

Greg Smalley

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the …

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