Marriage is a good and precious thing – blessed by God. It was the first institution put in place by God Himself.
The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made of Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They became one flesh. (Message Bible – Genesis 2: 24 & 25a)
But in today’s world marriage is under attack. It is estimated that 40 – 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. And the rate is even higher for second marriages.
We need to value our marriage as precious gold, or vast riches. I don’t have many really valuable things. Most of the things I do treasure have a sentimental value in my life. My daughter’s baby blanket, my dad’s diary of things he did in everyday life, my mom’s wedding ring set, pictures of my grandparents and pictures of dad in the service, letters he wrote my mom, school pictures through the years. I don’t keep these things out to be stained, torn, lost, or stolen. Each of them has a special secure place where I store them. I value them.
We need to place a high value on our marriage too and protect it from all harm. Out of naivety, ignorance or an independent/prideful spirit, some of us leave our highest treasure – our marriage -unguarded, unsafe, out in the open and exposed to the elements, vulnerable !!!
These are all boundaries that we use around our home, on our highways, and on our computers to protect us. We need to take this same premise into our marriage in order to protect our marital relationship from seemingly innocent outsiders or outright intruders that pose a threat to our marital oneness.
John 10:10a records Jesus saying –
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy……..
If we are going to avoid becoming casualties, we must have a plan. Here are some hedges we need to put in place in order to protect our marriage:
1.) We (together and separately) need to invest in our relationship with God. It is amazing to me that so many people are willing to invest such enormous emotional, and financial resources in ventures other than their spiritual life. If you want your marriage to grow and flourish, you first must have a deep, abiding walk with God. Know what the Lord expects of you and your spouse to keep your marriage strong. Make Him the glue that binds you as “one flesh.”
2) No secrets. There’s never a good reason to keep a secret from your spouse. We’re not talking about what your dress size, ladies. We’re talking about where the money goes, where you’ve been, and what’s really going on in your relationship and family. Honesty is essential.
3.) No opposite-sex friendships. You can be friends with other couples together, but it’s a terrible idea for you to have a close relationship with anyone of the opposite sex outside of that.
4.) Agree upon work boundaries. Understanding that professional men and women work together, and that many affairs begin in this environment, it’s important for you and your spouse to agree on some ground rules to protect either of you from falling into this trap. Special caution should be taken with business travel. Don’t skip that office Christmas party, and if possible, have at least a little familiarity with any secretaries or assistants who work daily with your spouse. Pop in to take him to lunch occasionally—not as surveillance, but just to be familiar with his world and to spot trouble before it arrives.
5.) Beware of extreme time-eating hobbies. It’s fine to have individual interests, but if your hobby or passion causes you to spend time with others more than your spouse, you might soon feel like you have more in common with those outside people. Limit the hours spent on separate endeavors each week, or find something you enjoy doing together.
6.) Be loyal. It’s a mean world out there. Your spouse needs to be able to count on you to speak positively about him and defend him if necessary. Avoid friends who love to engage in husband-bashing or who find such behavior cute.
7.) Transparent communication. The only reason to have a cell phone or online password that your spouse doesn’t know is if you have something to hide. Both partners in a marriage should be completely comfortable with having their spouse look at any social media accounts, text messages, or other forms of communication.
8.) Be accountable. It’s not a sign of a lack of trust for married couples to check in with one another—it’s a sign of the times we live in. If you’re going to be late, call and let your spouse know. If you’re going to lunch with a group from the office, shoot your spouse a quick text to say so. Finding out about these things later, or being left to wonder about a husband or wife’s whereabouts breeds suspicion and resentment.
9.) Taboo Topics. You’re married. That means it’s no longer OK to talk about sex around members of the opposite sex (especially as it pertains to you personally), and it’s definitely not OK to flirt, no matter how much you insist that it’s nothing. Every affair in the history of the world started out as “nothing.”
10.) I consider what is at stake. What story do I want my grandchildren to tell? This puts it all in perspective for me. Do I want them to be proud of my life’s story or embarrassed? Do I want to be remembered as a person who loves her husband and is faithful to him? Or do I want to be the one who squandered her legacy in a moment of indiscretion?
The marriage promise is so worth protecting and it takes hard work and commitment. Still, the effort made will pay off as we grow old with the one given to us by God, knowing we held true to our marriage covenant by God’s grace and our desire to do so. I know I have a precious marriage worth saving before God and I’m doing all I can to keep those protective boundaries in place !!!!!
Any other hedges you can add to help protect a marriage? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!