So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. (Mal. 2:15)

“Mom, will I get divorced when I grow up, too?” my eight-year-old asked as we were driving. Her question caught me so off-guard I nearly crashed. “Honey, I hope not,” I replied as we talked about the importance of being prayerful and seeking God’s wisdom in dating relationships.

Her question didn’t just trouble me because of the unfortunate legacy I’ve given her. It also demonstrates her reality: a life known only of going from one house to another. She adores her dad, but misses me while she’s with him. She feels guilty over savoring her time with one of us, thinking that somehow lessens her love for the other.

The effects of divorce are vast, yet dare I say the causes stem from one basic culprit: a lack of guarding our hearts. We enter our marriages with such love for our spouses that we can’t imagine it could grow any more. But with time it does as we get to know him or her even better than we did before. But if we aren’t careful, the things that once attracted us start to annoy. These subtle changes in perspective—the letting down of our guard—open our marriages to rifts and fissures that can ultimately lead to divorce. We all know the effects of divorce, but let’s commit to eliminating the causes.

Guard your thoughts regarding your spouse as diligently as a soldier outside Buckingham Palace.

Stacy Voss loves to run, play with her two young kids, and hike in the mountains with her husband outside their home in Colorado.