Tough Love

5 keys to staying married (when you feel like calling it quits)

Though my husband, Steve, and I recently celebrated our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary, our marriage hasn't been filled with the wedded bliss you might expect from such a committed couple. Through the years, our relationship has weathered the storms of Steve's struggle with pornography and a volatile temper, my severe PMS and incessant need for control, and our unforgiving spirits.

I've battled I-can't-live-another-day-with-this-man feelings. And Steve has said that on the days I "acted crazy" (during my PMS), he's thought, I can't live like this the rest of my life. Since we've never allowed divorce to be an option, on my most desperate days, I've cried out to God, "I can't go on!"

But thanks to God's faithfulness and resurrection power, we have gone on. While we've both relied on our deep faith in God, we've also hung in there partly because I have a stubborn streak that God's transformed into tenacity. And Steve's stint as a Marine instilled him with an I-will-not-give-up-on-this-mission mindset—in this case, his mission being staying married to me for a lifetime.

As I hear others make excuses for withdrawing love from their spouse, I think of the motto Steve learned in the Marines: "No excuses—just results."

Even though we continue to struggle at times, Steve and I still love each other very much. Here are some of the lessons I've learned about loving my spouse even in the tough times.

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May 25

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