Cherise and I have been married for 25 years. We have five wonderful children. We have weathered many storms and trials together and have learned how to grow stronger in the process. The next few days I want to share some thoughts with you that God placed on my heart about marriage. Even if you’re not married, or if you’re divorced, knowing and applying these simple truths will help you strengthen relationships in your life.

When you’re married, you simply can’t say enough good things about your spouse. One of the ways the Enemy works to erode the foundation of your marriage is through what you have to say about your spouse—and to your spouse.

When God established the covenant of marriage, He said, “A man … is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24 NIV). God designed marriage to be a united front against the Enemy. A husband and wife are to be one. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25 KJV).

The fastest way to bring division in a relationship is to degrade one another with your words. There is life and death in the tongue. “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Prov. 18:21 MSG). Disagreements will arise in a marriage … they’re a part of any relationship. But the minute you begin to call each other names and verbally ridicule one another, you’re poisoning the marriage. You’re inviting strife and division between you and saying it’s OK to disrespect each other.

Remember you are one. To act as one, you must be united as one. If you are against each other, you are against yourself. The Golden Rule will go a long way in marriage.