Marriage: Make It or Break It

Marriage is tough, even in the best of circumstances. Can I hear an amen?

They say practice makes perfect. Well, after forty-plus years of marriage—practicing both the good, the bad, and even the ugly—I’ve learned a few truths. I’ve discovered attitudes and behaviors that can cause you to make it or break it and how to avoid the inevitable pitfalls—or at least many of them.

When we practice the good, we can hit our relationship over the fence and out of the park to win the game. But too many times, we practice the bad stuff more than the good and find ourselves sitting on the bench with our arms crossed and a scowl on our face, when we should be out there helping the team win. After all, it’s our team.

If it’s true that everyone has a dark side, it will probably show up soon after you say “I do.” A lot of jokes have been written about you know the honeymoon’s over when … You fill in the blank. Reality sets in, and suddenly your new spouse is not the angelic creature or chivalrous gentleman you thought you had landed.

Tastes, habits, and expectations differ, but we must choose how to deal with the differences. We can accept them and realize nobody’s perfect, or we can spend a lifetime filled with frustration.

Marriage vows say “for better or worse,” but we expect only the better and want to run for the hills when situations become worse. We could say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” but where are they going? Too many times the where is home to Mama or on to divorce court.

In this modern age of throwaway relationships, a commitment that stands the proverbial test of time and weathers all the thunderstorms and icy blizzards of life should be celebrated. I certainly celebrate my forty-plus years of marriage, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude and humility when thinking of how long Charlie and I have been married. But the relationship we have today came with a price: compromise, change, and a lot of hard work on both parts.

No matter how strong your marriage, or how fragile, prayer will be the essential ingredient for a healthy, thriving relationship that honors God and brings the fulfillment He intended. Without Him as the center of your union and His Word as ultimate and final authority, you’ll never experience the blessings He promises to a husband and wife who are fully and wholly submitted to Him.

Your Turn

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What’s one thing that can make your marriage stronger?

by Andrea Merrell

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Andrea Merrell is an author, freelance editor, workshop leader, and writing mentor with a passion to encourage other writers and help them sharpen their skills. She is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Andrea has been published online and in numerous anthologies. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial GraveyardThe Gift and Praying for the Prodigal. For more information or to contact her, visit or

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.