It really depends on the mode of usage.
Tommy said he did it because "I love my spouse".
OTOH, equally comprehensive,
Tommy said he did it because he is an I-love-my-spouse kind of guy.
She confronted us by saying "Over my dead body."
And equally descriptive,
We encountered the over-my-dead-body confrontation with her.
"We are in dire straits here. We are up against a rock and a hard place. Damn if we do and damn if we don't."
We could narrate their experience with,
They felt they were in a between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place situation and a damn-if-they-do-damn-if-they-don't dilemma.
It depends on whether you are quoting direct speech, or using the phrase as an adjective.