Make your marriage a place God can use. Invite God to use your marriage to advance His kingdom on earth. As God’s love flows between you and your spouse, let it enlarge your hearts so you can share it with others. Let your love for each other overflow toward your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and other people you encounter. Think and pray about how God might want you to serve together. View your marriage as a mission base from which you mobilize to share God’s love with the world.

Gain support from your church. Take full advantage of the resources your church has to offer to support your marriage, such as classes, counseling, Bible studies, small groups, recovery programs, mentoring programs, and retreats.

Respect civil protections that can bolster your marriage. Get to know the laws governing marriage in your state. If they recommend counseling for engaged couples or couples in danger of divorce, heed those recommendations. If they mandate a waiting period before obtaining a marriage license or a divorce degree, use that time well to pray about God’s will in the situation before taking action.

Adapted from Getting Marriage Right: Realistic Counsel for Saving and Strengthening Relationships, copyright 2004 by David P. Gushee. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.,

David P. Gushee is Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy and senior fellow of the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership at Union University. He has also served on the staff of Evangelicals for Social Action and the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of seven books, and his articles have appeared in many publications. He and his wife, Jeanie, live in Jackson, Tennessee, with their children.