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You don’t have to spend much time on social media these days—or in prayer group, for that matter—to know that marriages everywhere are in trouble.  How did we get here?

When I was in fourth grade, only one student in my class had divorced parents.  I was fascinated by the concept.  I couldn’t imagine what could possibly go wrong enough between two people that they would give up on something that my own parents seemed to find so much joy and comfort in, something that I was pretty sure involved a serious promise to God as well as cake and punch.

Thirty-something years later, searching the internet for a place where Todd and I could celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, I took a brief detour through Facebook.  I scrolled through my news feed, and a startling pattern emerged.  Post after heart-breaking post about failed marriages, betrayal, loneliness, disillusionment, and defeat appeared, each separated from the one before by only one or two happier posts.  My heart squeezed in empathy.

Looking back over my own marriage, I realize that our relationship is not a testament to ourselves, but to God’s faithfulness and the willingness of others to speak boldly into our lives from time to time, whether we wanted to hear it or not.  Over the next few weeks, I will share the bits of advice that we have found most useful over the years.  They are, most likely, the reason that our marriage has never taken any detours that we would like to forget.  I hope that you will accept them as the cherished family heirlooms they are, passed down from a sister in Christ that wants you to experience the joy of celebrating a twentieth wedding anniversary.

The first is one that you have, most likely, heard before.

  1.  Never say the “D” word. Spoken by my parents, grandparents, and countless other Christian adults who were so very right.  In our twenty years together, Todd and I have never uttered the word “divorce” in reference to our marriage, not to ourselves, not to each other.  In fact, I would take this advice a step further and say, “Never even THINK the ‘D’ word!”  The moment you allow the word to land in your heart, it becomes an option, a foothold for the enemy.   Kill it the moment you hear it buzz.

To be continued…