The D-Word Saved My Marriage: What Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Missed that Could Save Yours

The D-Word Saved My Marriage: What Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Missed that Could Save Yours

Gnawing off your foot to save yourself is sometimes the answer, I guess. If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can’t do it, whose marriage is safe?  They have a nanny!

And we good Christian girls should have perfect marriages, tiny waists, and never… ever say the D-word.


Ha.  I said it.

And no, I am not getting one… nor have I ever had one.

Before I got married, I was given three pieces of advice:

  1. Submit.
  2. Never go to bed angry.
  3. Never say the word divorce.

I was forced to ask; If I got in in a fight with my husband and he decided to go to bed before we found a resolution, do I submit and go to bed too… or stay up so as not to go to bed angry?

Early on I had a problem with the first two rules.  My husband Justin and I come from a hearty lineage.  He is German.  I am Scottish-Norwegian.  We fight with ancestral flair.

Nazi versus Viking.

And my thick calves, breeding stock hips, and extraordinary capacity for adjectives put him at a disadvantage that sometimes warrants an early bedtime.

I would never buy a car or take a vacation without him.

I love him.

I like him.

I respect him.  And we talk all day via text or phone call.  We are friends and partners.

And I don’t think that throwing the D-word around is any more helpful to a good fight than me attacking the character of his dearly departed mother, but after 25 years I would also like to interject… it isn’t the end of the world either.

The frugal view of behaviors that are becoming of a good Christian wife have always left me feeling less than.  If I overslept, burned dinner, or sent a kid to the HOP HOUSE in mismatched socks… I believed I was failing Justin and Jesus.

Indeed my list of THOU SHALLs had me chained to an existence of shame and unhappiness.

In a recent conversation with a friend in the throes of marriage horrors of her own,  I heard myself say something that left us both in shock.  I knew what I was supposed to say.  I knew the rote Christian speak: It doesn’t matter if you’re not happy, you should submit to and serve him, and then you will be blessed…

But, instead, I said, “Why don’t you just leave?”

As I argued against every reason she “couldn’t,” the course of the conversation changed from can’t stay to wait a minute… I don’t want to go.

A new wave of freedom entered her marriage, and I have never seen her so happy.

Unbeknownst to her, at the same time, my husband and I were at rock bottom.  Tragedy after tragedy, malady after malady, and disaster after disaster had worn us down and left us void.

We spouted ugliness.

He slept on the couch.

We went to bed angry… and woke up angrier.  And in the midst of one of our worst days, he said the wrong thing at the wrong time about the wrong socks.

And I said the D-word.

But it wasn’t a threat or ultimatum… it was an offer.

Under the heavy burden of finance, family, and law if you truly believe that miserable is your only option… you pick miserable.

I didn’t raise my voice, I just said it a matter of fact.  “This isn’t our only option.”

I am not a feminist. I am comfortable with and believe that Justin should take out the trash, hold the door, and hang things on the wall. The man can find a stud like some kind of third-eye carpentry savant.  Granted this might ruffle some feathers, I believe God hates divorce – but He came to bind up, heal, and restore.  And He knew that legalism only produced rebellion. So what if we weren’t hell bent on the rules of marriage and we were all for the friendship and communion of relationship?

What if every Christian counselor, friend, pastor, and wise mentor didn’t give the same old advice of submission but instead listened to the voices of the broken and noted; everything is permissible… but what is beneficial?

If you are getting smacked around and your pastor tells you to submit… that is of no benefit.

If your adrenals are shot and you are thinking of fresh and creative ways to hide a body… the best advice might be some freedom.  My friend and my husband were both set free when they came to the realization, “Wait… I have a choice?”

Assume I told you that you HAD to read my blog every day at 9 am and if you didn’t you would meet with an ugly accident.  Whether the accident part was true or not, very few if any of you would have much interest in my blog.

The option to choose brings us to a place where we contemplate what we want.

And then the list wasn’t of the reasons they were trapped… but the reasons they wanted to stay.

To the same extent, I want Justin to have clean socks, and I want him to have his jeans folded, and shirts hung nicely in his closet.  For years I made our bed and cleaned our room, my efforts were for him to have a comfortable place to relax after work. But looking back I believe there was a point where I did it for him, and, a day things changed, and I was suddenly doing it, because of him; because it was my duty. Because I had no choice but to submit to him as a leader. When things were at their worst – I stopped doing these things altogether, and I stopped doing his laundry, most rebelliously.

Law, legalism, and rules breed rebellion and resentment.

But in the place of want to… instead, have to, I want him to have a cleared spot to remove his boots.  I love to see his shirts lined up and wrinkle free, although I don’t understand his die hard commitment to beige.  And I know his socks must be folded not rolled, because if I roll them they stretch out and he has skinny ankles… and they slip down in the toe of his boot.

What if, instead of some liberal and desperate protest for my rights or my honor and celebration, where my body and mind WILL NOT be bossed around – what if I was counseled to love well?

And rather than some uber-conservative, legalistic, and religious law bound covenant where hellfire, brimstone, and obedience to an alpha male are the consequences of my wedding vows, what if… I was counseled to communicate with my friend and partner – as a team?

I know it isn’t always this simple, there’s some marriages that can’t or won’t make it.  But given a choice, would there be less failed Christian marriages?  Would we feel less trapped, victimized, miserable, and more adored?

I don’t know…

But given a choice…. I’d sure love to stay.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami

Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

Today I worked in conjunction with my friend Rebecca Huff of That Organic Mom.  Rebecca shares more of her marriage story here.



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  1. Edith Ohaja on March 10, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Enjoyed this article. Yeah, the sense that something is compulsory brings out the rebel in me too. Once I contemplated the situation of women in really bad marriages and wrote a poem, “Am I still worth your time?” I guess the rebel in me was talking because the poem was coming from the angle of “If he absolutely refuses to change and treat you well, why waste your life with him?” Anyway, I wasn’t just writing for Christians, but the picture painted was of a guy who’d broken all the rules, inckuding the one on marital fidelity and wasn’t even sorry. If you have time, you can see it in the Category “Poems” on my blog.

    Moving on. I want to get some info about your linkup that will make it easy for me to perticipate.
    1. What is the name of your linkup? I check your blog every so often on Fridays and it’s hard to locste. There should be the name of the linkup attached to the accompanying article so I don’t have to blundly click on diffetent articles.
    2. I need the time the linkup goes live in GMT. I stay in Africa, Nigeria to be precise, and the whole Eastern time thung is confusing to me.
    God’s grace!

  2. Edith Ohaja on March 10, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Errors above: including, participate, locate, blindly, thing

    The type size in your comment box is gargantuan. Lol!

  3. Rebecca on March 10, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Isn’t it amazing how our perception changes everything?

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 5:26 am

      How so I perceive working out?

  4. Rebecca on March 10, 2017 at 5:22 am

    While my marriage has improved vastly, I haven’t been to the gym in weeks… maybe you can write about that next! lol

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 5:26 am

      Ugh. I can’t get out of bed.

  5. Lia on March 10, 2017 at 5:33 am

    YES. Every bit of this… yes. 14 years into our marriage, 2 moms buried, 2 miscarriages, fostering, homeschooling, working.. it takes a toll and you forget that you are friends and not just co-managers of your life!

    Thank you for this. I am so THANKFUL that God brought us to a place of realizing that we don’t WANT to leave each other. God hates divorce, we have seen the effects of divorce and it is ugly… we like each other, we love each other.. but we forgot! Thank God that HE did not forget and showed mercy and grace and things are awesome and improving.

    THANK YOU for this.

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 5:34 am

      • ruth on March 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

        well said. thank you.

  6. ruth on March 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I have to admit, I get lost in the “have to” and forget about the “want to.” Thank you!

  7. Martha on March 10, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Powerful. Thank you.

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 8:17 am

  8. Julie Richmond on March 10, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I think this is one of my favorites (love everything I have read of yours)!
    I’ve been divorced 2x. The last one and its circumstances is how I finally met Jesus so I have never had a relationship as a believer.
    This is the best advice for all relationships!!
    Have a beautiful weekend!

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

      You too friend!

  9. Christine Carter on March 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I love this, Jami. At my wedding, I remember a friend told me the best advice I ever heard. She said, wake up every day and say “I choose you.”

    And yes, you raise up so SO many important issues about marriage and issues with the pressures in many Christian circles regarding marriage. I just read an article recently about this very thing… I have to go find it. I can’t remember where or why I read it!

    • jami_amerine on March 10, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      I love you

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  12. Larry Johnson on April 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Let me say up front that I am divorced (over 23 years) . I also do not intend to remarry because my vows to me wife and the Lord were ”til death do us part” not until we’re divorced and she remarries. That said I truly believe that if I/we had heard and practiced one thing we would not have divorced. It’s the only ‘piece of advice’ I give to anyone either getting married and one of the few I offer in counseling. That is: When you wake up each morning each partner should ask themselves this question: What can I do to make today a better day for my spouse? If everyone would do this I truly believe that the divorce rate would be drastically reduced. Try it for just 30 days, even if your partner does not, and see what a difference it will make in your relationship.

  13. […] My husband, Justin and I are coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary. […]

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