Wherever a marriage ceremony takes place, it is a sacred event. It is the creation of a new family and deserves our highest respect and attention. When couples enter into marriage with a determination to make their marriage be a lasting one they are far more likely to make it happen. If a couple marries with a thought that their union is temporary and will likely end in divorce, as so many do, then they are more likely to follow suit.

Your commitment to make your marriage work needs to be refreshed continually. It deserves thoughtful planning and attention throughout your life together. Here are a few tips to help your marriage weather the storms of life.

1. Avoid even the thought of leaving your spouse

When things get tough, and they always do from time to time, don't even think the word "divorce." The nature of marriage is that it starts out a little rough around the edges, just like a diamond. It's working together through the years that takes the rough edges off and smooths out the marriage relationship. Eventually, if the polishing continues, it will turn into a diamond of the highest quality, filling your life with happiness.

When an elderly couple was asked how they managed to stay together for 65 years, the woman replied, "We were born in a time where if something was broke, you fixed it ... not throw it away." Too many people throw away something that is on the way to becoming the best part of their lives. Decide to hold on to each other, for always.

2. If your spouse wants to leave, try this

Let's say your spouse hits you with the horrifying words, "I don't love you anymore, and I'm leaving." You may think your marriage is over. It's probably not. This happened to a woman who calmly told her husband, "I don't buy it." She didn't rant and rave, just didn't buy into it.To find out what she did to save her marriage read her story here.

This applies to either a husband or wife. Like the woman in the story, you need to remember that your spouse loved you when he or she married you, and in his or her heart still does. Your mate may just be going through some kind of crazy crisis. Give him a little space to think things through, and by all means, don't jump on the divorce wagon with him. It may be difficult and will take a huge helping of courage and patience. You could respond by saying, "I want to help you through this difficult time without breaking up our family. How can I help?"

Treat your spouse with respect and kindness. Keep your boundaries so you don't get run over, but do it in a loving way. No shouting or throwing tantrums. That will push him right into the hands of a divorce lawyer. Be gentle and hold on patiently while your mixed-up-mate works through his recovery, whatever his problem may be. Forgiveness is a big part of this, so be ready with a full measure. Lots of prayer will also help you hold on in the right way. With patience and sincere caring, you can get your marriage back on track, and keep your own self-worth intact while you're at it. You, and your family, deserve your highest effort in this endeavor.

3. Keep your love alive by doing the things that will keep it growing

Gardens that are not watered or fertilized will die. That's reality. Relationships are the same. Watering your marriage may consist of noticing the good in your mate and telling him or her. Someone once said, "You can't help loving a person that makes you feel good about yourself whenever you're with her." Help your mate feel good about himself, and he will want to be with you more than he wants to be with anyone else. That works for her as well as him. Disrespect your spouse and it's like holding back water from the garden.

Also, remember to fertilize your marriage with fun times. Marriage needs dates filled with enjoyment. It will make your marriage flourish. Here are some ideas on how to doit.

It's not too late

If you're thinking, "Too late. I'm already divorced." Remember these words of our friend, Claudia Jackson: "Life always offers you a second chance. It's called tomorrow." If you're in a second marriage, or hoping to be married again, take these tips to heart and know that you, too, can make a marriage work. Tomorrow is another day to start creating a lasting marriage. Actually, don't wait until tomorrow, start today.

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