founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, novelist MacKenzie Bezos, recently made front-page news by announcing their divorce after 25 years of marriage. The unimaginably vast wealth of this couple has in many ways been a blessing to others. Jeff Bezos established a charitable fund with $2 billion to build preschools in underserved areas and to help homeless families.

Bezos' Twitter announcement read in part, “We’ve had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures.” Despite the oddly cheery framing of the situation, it cannot hide the sadness that a family is breaking apart. And, as many people have already pointed out, if things were that wonderful, why divorce?

Unless a marriage has become intolerable due to abuse or addiction, children – even grown children – suffer from their parents’ divorces. The four Bezos children will now be forced into divided loyalties, choosing between their parents when celebrating holidays and other special occasions. Their lives will be disrupted emotionally and physically for many years, and perhaps permanently.

“The impact of divorce on children is devastating,” says Dr. Diane Medved, clinical psychologist and author of Don’t Divorce. “Out of love for their children, many wise couples with difficulties work ceaselessly to fix, bridge, and adapt to the challenges as they arise.”

None of us know the reality of the Bezos' marriage – or anyone else's marriage for that matter – but the high-profile divorce reminded me of a few insights I have learned in more than thirty years of marriage about what it takes to make this most intimate and consequential relationship work in the long run.

Marriages have “seasons,” and while most begin with the warmth and color of a beautiful spring day, over time, the season may turn gloomy and cold. The difference between successful and unsuccessful marriages is that couples in successful marriages accept the reality of the relationship’s ups and downs. They know that a lull in their feeling of closeness, of emotional intimacy, can be overcome with dedication and patience. Spring will come again.

Successful marriages are also anchored by a shared commitment to transcendent values. “A couple that actively pursues a relationship with their Creator is more likely to also feel invested in their marriage,” observes Devorah Agulnik, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in upstate New York. “There’s a mindset that life is not meant to focus on self-gratification as much as it is focused on one another, one’s family, and their faith. Happiness and contentment will result from those values.”

A marriage is also a living thing and requires daily nourishment. “No one can assume the other can coast along without constant acknowledgement and appreciation,” Dr. Medved observes. “If there’s a single day when you may have slighted your spouse by not making him or her feel like the most important person in your life, you’ll need to compensate for that somehow.” (This is especially true during a “cooler” season.)

Jeff Bezos is now reputed to have had an affair for many months with another woman, also married. Infidelity is the cause of many, many divorces, yet second marriages – often to that “other woman” or “other man,” have a much higher divorce rate than first marriages. This is no surprise. Both partners in that second marriage have demonstrated that they don’t mind violating their marriage vows to be faithful. What’s to stop them from meeting yet another person who this time really is “the love of their life”? This is why it’s always a mistake to lead with your feelings. Feelings change; values should not.

We need to protect our precious marriages through setting boundaries around the relationship. No man or woman should ever let their guard down, allowing even “mild” flirtations with another individual. Even the briefest, momentary seclusion with someone of the opposite sex can lead to an unexpected, yet utterly disruptive and destructive dalliance. This is why Judaism places so many “fences” around male-female relationships. Our laws preventing seclusion between a man and woman who are not married or closely related is meant to safeguard us from our all-too-human frailties.

Marriages enduring a “cold” or “distant” patch don’t have to end in divorce. There are excellent therapists who can help couples learn to communicate and understand one another better, and find a way back to a satisfying, nourishing intimacy. Remember, strong, beautiful marriages are not born, but built. They endure not because they don’t have struggles, but because they do have struggles. A couple that is committed to making their marriage work can often recapture the spark and love from their first spring.