Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

How to Keep Your Marriage Strong


I thought long and hard about writing this blog post. Mostly, because I’ve only been married for 19 years and who am I to give advice?

I’ve seen marriages break up after 25 and 30 years, and I’ve always wondered, “What was it that they couldn’t get past?”

A friend from college had a best friend who’s parents he described as “the perfect couple.” Indeed, they had been together since high school and seemed to be very loving and affectionate every time I saw them. They both seemed very happy. Then one day, after 27 years together, he asked her for a divorce. He’d fallen in love with another woman, someone he worked with and after almost 3 decades of marriage, it was over.

I thought my cousin had the perfect marriage. They too had been together since high school. I always looked to them as the ideal of what I wanted my marriage to be like. However, what I didn’t know was that he was an alcoholic and it was destroying their marriage and family. Ultimately, it led to the demise of the marriage and him.

Divorce is an ugly thing. It destroys families, even when there are no children involved, the hurt and pain is obvious.

Look at the Bobby Flay/Stephanie March divorce drama going on right now. It’s gotten so ugly that she’s claiming her tasting his food warrants a bigger settlement and he’s claiming her health problems are from a boob job (he probably wanted her to get in the first place).

Then there’s Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford and her ex-husband’s mess. She had to be court-ordered to put him on her youngest child’s birth certificate, then had her lawyer send a tip to the U.S. government that he was a drug-dealing terrorist. Since he was a German citizen, this “tip” automatically got his visa revoked. Kelly thought that meant she would get full custody of the children and cut him out of their lives for good. Turns out, courts don’t like people to alienate children from the other parent and ruled he could take the children to live with him in Europe and Kelly could visit.

Now she’s throwing a fit because her children are not with her.

All of this is to point out that whether or not children are involved, divorce is ugly with a capital U. Marriage should not be taken lightly and in the words of some wedding vows:

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is [an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is]* commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Marriage is not a white dress or a big elaborate party, it’s a very serious undertaking and it’s not for the faint of heart. Marriage may be described as a rose garden, but roses have thorns and you have to get around those thorns to get to the beauty of the flowers.

One of the tips from the Blue Zones is staying married and having a family. So how do you do it? How do you stay married when at times all you want to do is strangle your spouse?

Michael Hyatt wrote a piece on protecting your marriage. He had some great tips such as not flirting with someone of the opposite sex, not traveling with someone of the opposite sex and not even having a meal alone with someone of the opposite sex and always speaking highly of your spouse. You can read that article here.

I have often recommended Stormie Omartian’s book, “Power of a Praying Wife.” It really turned my thinking around about how to approach my marriage and any problems that might pop up. You can find that book on Amazon:

I use this book every morning (along with the Praying Parent book). It has helped me more times than I can count.

The biggest takeaway I have is that we need to be responsible for our own happiness and not expect it from others. Like everything else in life, you cannot change another person, you can only change how you react to it and change yourself.

You chose this path. You chose this person. You chose this marriage.

Do whatever it takes to hang in there and make it the best marriage you possibly can. Stop thinking about fair, or past mistakes and grievances and focus on what YOU can do to be the best, most attractive and supportive spouse you can be.

And leave the rest to God.

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