There were days I thought I might kill my husband, but I certainly didn’t want to lose him. There’s a difference. As a control freak, I hate losing things, and the thought that I might lose my husband struck terror.

My heart skipped a beat that day when he walked in the door from work. I was holding our newborn, and I knew a piece of my affection had shifted. It made me mad to recognize how much Satan loves to destroy marriages. That day, I knew that my marriage, like all marriages, was at risk. I thought about the future impact that our marriage might have on people around us. Satan would love to preempt all that with divorce. How dare he interfere with my marriage!

Fast forward a lot of years…I have friends who have grieved the excruciating “loss” of their husbands. It makes me want to live wiser, hold on tighter, and cherish deeper, because, I could lose him to.

Sickness/an accident/death – My husband could get a life-altering disease or be in a serious accident.

Response — be careful, purposeful. Cherish every day. When he says, he’d like to eat healthier or he’s going by the gym after work, encourage a healthy lifestyle. Don’t grumble about the cost of healthy food or gym fees. Promote good health at home. That won’t prevent accidents or death, but it is being proactive in a world bent on destroying itself.

Affair/Immorality – My husband or I could see our affections turn to someone else, either in person or online. Certain scenarios invite affairs. Chat rooms, dating sites, meet-your-high-school-classmate promises, business trips, private counseling, living internationally—it’s vicious.

Response — take care of your sex life. Stay available. Stay creative. Stay passionate. Stay healthy. Be vigilant in guarding your affections. Show and tell your husband that you physically desire him. Watch your husband’s back. Be visible. Make sure the community knows he’s taken. Keep him aware of the most dangerous people and places.

Addiction – My husband or I could get caught in addiction. Food, gambling, alcohol, drugs—our society is programmed to pull people into addiction. Addictions don’t start as addictions. We’re surrounded by an abundance of tasty foods, some of them engineered to be addictive. The food mixes with body image issues and control issues and the food becomes much more than sustenance. No one connected to the world can avoid outlets that sell lottery tickets or popups for online gambling. Social drinking is acceptable in nearly every community. Drug abuse begins by downing a dose of an increasingly available legal drugs.

Response — Feed your marriage with “food that is convenient.” Develop a plan you can stick to when it comes to alcohol and drugs. The first time your plan falls through, get a grip or get help.

Materialism/debt – My husband or I could get caught up in spending that leads to consumer debt. Every couple faces the pressure to spend. All your friends love going out together. It’s not that you can’t afford to eat out. It’s that you can’t afford to eat out and get piano lessons for your son. Staying out of debt and avoiding materialism can be a lonely, ugly venture. That is literally, ugly—pretty clothes and remodeling the house take money.

Response — Live debt free if possible. Avoid retail therapy and addiction. Seek out another couple with the same goals. Keep life filled with the things that matter so there will be less stuff and fewer bills to fight over.

Distrust/dishonesty – A breakdown of trust wrecks marriages. In relationships where the husband or wife had a will-not-let-it-rest detective parent, that spouse may have perfectly honed skills for hiding his activities. It’s not always even an activity that “needs” to be hidden. Hiding is just an old survival skill that carried over from the teen years. The more the husband hides, the more the wife hunts. The more the wife hunts, the more the husband hides (and it can work both ways of course).

Response — If you’re the hider, give your spouse a chance. Give your spouse a chance to prove she is not your mother. She trusts you. You have entered a relationship that thrives in transparency. If you’re the detective, give your spouse a chance. He has only known family relationships based in suspicion and distrust. Let him know that your relationship is one of safety and acceptance not based on a set of spoken or unspoken expectations.

Power/passivity – If we use our marriage for power plays or if we slump into passivity, we could lose our marriage. Seeking to control and change a spouse can make him/her run far and fast. Wanting all the power to make decisions about how money is spent and how the house is organized is unfair and equally destructive. However, the opposite is also true. Failing to invest in the relationship and bypass all decision making will exhaust your spouse and wear on your marriage.

Response — Respect. You can respect the decisions of your spouse. Your marriage is worth the hard work it requires. Invest in it.

So, yes, I could lose him. There are situations that arise in marriages that leave a wife saying, “I lost him.” Recognizing the susceptibility of marriages can keep us from selfishness and remind us that our spouse and our marriages are infinitely valuable. He’s worthy of all the good things it takes to keep a marriage strong. And so am I.

If your marriage is in danger of separation, divorce, or a life of misery, get more information about our Marriage Helper Workshop that saves marriages!