A relative of mine looking to get married soon asked this question the other day: How do I avoid divorce?
Knowing her story, and knowing that both of her parents had been married multiple times, I appreciated her question. Someone else answered her in the moment, but this is how I would have answered.
In my almost six years of marriage I have discovered that in order to keep the relationship with my wife healthy, I must remember these things:
1) Communicate expectations clearly. Every relationship has roles and responsibilities. Each individual must be up front in letting the other know what they are expecting of their spouse. If you expect your husband to hang the toilet paper so it hangs from the front, tell him before getting mad at him. If you expect dinner ready at 5:00pm, communicate it. If you expect that you and your spouse will go to bed at the same time, communicate it. If you do not communicate it and your expectation is not met, you cannot hold your spouse responsible for what they do not know.
2) Give without holding back and without expecting anything in return. Marriage is about trusting your spouse with your life. Make sacrifices to show that they are the most important person in your life. If you cannot trust the person you are planning to marry, you should reconsider making the commitment to that person.
3) You are on the same team. Marriage is not a competition. Spouses are not in opposition to one another. When you criticize, demean, or harshly rebuke your spouse you are only hurting yourself. Previously I wrote about having a greater purpose in marriage. My wife and I are united in our mission to pursue God and make him known. Be about your greater purpose and understand that when there are disagreements, there is no winning or losing if you are on the same team.
There are obviously more keys to a healthy marriage. What would you add?