When John and I were newly married, we loved to go to yard sales and antique stores to find furniture and accessories for our first apartment. We were always on the lookout for treasures. When we found something wonderful, one of us would make a little joke — "If we get divorced, I get to keep this." Then we would laugh. We were newly married and deeply in love. Divorce was the farthest thing from our minds.
As time went on, we stopped thinking that the joke was funny. We worked on deepening the bond between us. We studied stories of people who had strong marriages. We prayed that our marriage would last forever. One day, when we were talking, we decided to take "divorce" off the table. We knew divorce was not an option for us, so we decided we would remove it from our vocabulary. We would never use it as a threat. We would never use it in a fight. We would never use it in casual conversation. And we would never again use it as a joke.
This small decision, to lose the word "divorce," was easy to put into practice. It was probably one of the easiest changes we ever made to improve our marriage. We never missed it. Even though it was an easy change to make, it has had a huge effect on our marriage. By removing the word, we reminded ourselves to remove the possibility. By removing the possibility, we encouraged ourselves to make our marriage as happy and loving as possible. Because we knew we were committed to stay together in lifelong marriage, we wanted to make all those years as joyful as they could possibly be. When we stopped joking about who would get each treasure "when we divorce," we found that our marriage is the real treasure.