When God created Adam and Eve, He also instituted marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Because the two are now one, Jesus said, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6) Faith and commitment are elements of a successful marriage.

Often couples enter marriage with big dreams and end up in divorce because their dreams are crushed by reality. Men and women both have imperfections that don’t show up until after the marriage vows are said. Financial setbacks and health problems often interfere with expectations of “happily-ever-after.” Life comes with no guarantees and often gets in the way. And I admit that divorce may be the only choice in some cases.

The reality is that long and happy marriages must weather a lot of storms and stress.

I recently read the book Abide with Me by Shelley Arnold. Like many couples, Nick and Angelina love each other but are unprepared for the realities of two becoming one. Neither one had a good father/child relationship, and they don’t understand what a good marriage entails. The differences in their personalities and goals pull them apart, and by their 10th anniversary, Angie is ready for divorce.

If you want to know the rest of the story, you’ll have to read the book.

I sincerely believe that premarital counseling helps a couple prepare for a successful marriage. I’m grateful for the counseling sessions my husband and I had with the pastor who married us. Sometimes a married couple with a successful marriage can mentor an engaged couple. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that a good marriage is based on solid biblical principles that are stated in God’s Word. God instituted marriage, so He knows how it should work.

Maybe too many couples give up too soon when their expectations are not met. Can marriages headed for the divorce court be saved with faith, commitment, wise counsel, and a willingness to try again?

Many fairy tales end with “and they lived happily ever after.” What is the truth about “the rest of the story”?