“The first couple of years, about three years into our marriage, we were in a really, really difficult place. I honestly didn’t think we’re going to make it.”

Focus on the Family’s Dr. Greg Smalley remembers a time when he and his wife Erin were living with hard hearts and negative thoughts about their marriage.

“One of the sad things, looking back on that season, is that we allowed just our hardened hearts to come out through some sarcasm, through teasing about divorce…there were ways sadly that we began to joke kind of tongue-in-cheek.  It was a little bit of hints of truth about divorce, and that is such an awful thing to do.”

Entertaining the idea of ending your marriage puts you on a slippery path to end it. Greg urges couples to take the word ‘divorce’ out of your vocabulary altogether. It may catch others off-guard, but your marriage is precious to God and there are several forces at work to divide it.

“I’ve had some of my other children kind of tease about it. They listen to us argue or something and say ‘Mom is going to leave you.’ I’ll get firm with them and say, ‘Don’t speak that into my marriage, ever.’

There came a point when Greg and Erin decided to ignore the word and concept forever, and move forward at any cost. Greg draws a comparison to the Spanish explorer Cortez. After sailing for days or weeks and landing on the shores of a new land, he turned to his men and ordered them to burn the ships. They were tired, they were hungry, they were battling hopelessness… but there was no going backwards.

“I actually love that as a concept for a marriage. That needs to be our attitude. We’ve burned the ships! Whatever ships that Erin and I arrived in as singles into our marriage, we’ve burned those and there is no return. And there is no going home, and so therefore we have to move forward and face our issues and deal with the problems, because there’s nowhere else to go but forward together.”

Key Scriptures: Hebrews 13:4

Featured Songs: We Belong Together by Steven Curtis Chapman; Deeper by Meredith Andrews; Move by Toby Mac

Highlight : Taking “divorce” out of your vocabulary

Marriage: Planning for a solid first year

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