How to Waste Your Marriage…and Your Life


I’m currently in a season where it’s hard to get everything done I need to get done. (Know how that feels?) So I thought, rather than not deliver anything, I would rewind a post from 3 years ago. It’s especially pertinent in our current times and I hope you find it helpful. – Bret

It’s easy to waste your marriage on things that don’t benefit you or your spouse. The problem is, you often don’t realize you’re doing it until it’s too late. So below are five contributors to a wasted marriage that you need to watch for. (To help you remember them, they form the acrostic – W.A.S.T.E.)

W – Worry

Worry is a reaction to a negative event that hasn’t happened yet. All of us worry from time to time.  We worry about things like…

  • Not being liked.
  • Poor grades in school.
  • Not finding a job.
  • Not keeping a job.
  • Poor health.
  • Our family’s health.
  • The choices our children might make.
  • Not having enough income.
  • Whether our retirement will be sufficient.

Having worry is not the problem. The problem is when worry has you. Incessant worry will keep you from enjoying the good things in front of you because you can’t be pleased in the present if you’re always fretting about the future.

The Bible says: So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matt. 6:34 NLT)

Don’t let a fear of what might happen tomorrow rob you of the good that’s right in front of you. This type of worry can waste your marriage and your life.

A – Anger

Where worry is a reaction to something that might happen, anger is a reaction to something that has happened.  Anger is a reaction to being hurt, and you can’t go through marriage or life without occasionally getting hurt. If you’re in a marriage where the hurt is intentional and continual, then it must be addressed and dealt with. But most of the time, the offense was probably something unintentional that you took as intentional and personal.

It’s not that you should never be angry. The Bible says, “And don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (Eph. 4:26-27) In other words, you will get angry, but you must be careful how you react when you’re angry.

Don’t hold onto anger and grudges from past hurts. Learn to work through your anger and forgive. Otherwise, your anger will act like acid in your life…wasting your marriage and your life.

S – Selfishness

Nothing will boil your selfishness to the surface like marriage. After the new wears off, marriage begins to reveal just how much you want things to be your way. Whether it’s how you spend money, have sex, raise your kids, or load the dishwasher, so many marriages become a tug-of-war about who gets to have their way, rather than who gets to give themself away to the other.

The Bible tells us that we are to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) and serve one another. (Gal. 5:13) These two things don’t always come naturally, but they are critical if you don’t want to waste your marriage or your life.

T – Too Busy

Ok, I admit I shoehorned this one in to fit the acronym, but it’s too important to leave out.

We gradually allow our lives to become too busy. Over the course of time, we say yes to too many things. We take on too many hobbies or activities.  We take on too many responsibilities at work. Then one day we wake up to find we’re servicing and supporting a million lesser things while feeling too busy for the important things in life.

I once served as a chaplain to people who had six months or less to live. Not once did one of my patients say, “You know, when I look back on my life I wish I had been busier.” Instead, they said things like, “I wish I had spent more time with the ones I love.” Or, “I wish I had gone to that game with my son instead of going into work.” They all regretted being too busy and spending their time on trivial distractions, rather than the things and people that really mattered.

If you don’t want to waste your marriage, or your life, never be too busy to stop for what’s more important.

E – Excess

Despite our complaining about not having enough, most of us live lives of excess compared to the rest of the world. To many in the world, a car is something only the rich have. Yet many of us have two or more cars and complain because they’re not new enough or that they don’t have the newest features. We complain about not having what we want to eat, while many people in the world are struggling to just have one meal a day. Compared to much of the world, we live in great excess.

I’m not against us having stuff, I’m against stuff having us. Excess is not about how much you have, but how much you can handle. So many marriages suffer because they have become a slave to their stuff. We reach a point where our stuff is not making our lives better. It’s getting the better part of our lives.

So, don’t get to the end of your life and find out your marriage was wasted on worry, anger, selfishness, being too busy, or excess. Instead, pour yourself into the things that really matter and will live beyond you. Pour yourself into your spouse, your kids, your friends, and a cause that’s bigger than you. Spend your life on memories, not money; experiences, not excesses. Don’t waste your marriage or your life.


Are you wasting your marriage in one or more of these ways? What can you do to invest in more memories and experiences with the people who matter to you?

Copyright © 2018 Bret Legg

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