Sunday, June 2, 2013

Loving Our Marriage Enough to Protect It

Most of the time I blog whatever I want to but from time to time God would put something in my heart and keep reminding me to write about it like The Ministry of Motherhood post and the one I am about to write below.


If someone would ask me What are my three favorite marriage books; my answer would be Hedges- Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It, Fit to be Tied or Marriage Takes More than Love, and  The act of Marriage. I know it's four. Sorry, I can't decide between Fit to be Tied or Marriage Takes More than Love. Among those four, I think Hedges are the most important.

I read this book when Chris and I were still in courtship. I remember sharing the lesson I learned with him over the phone because we were on a Long Distance Relationship {back then Skype had not been invented yet}. He told me how the book was like an answered prayer for him because at that time I had many close male friends and I didn't see anything wrong with it until I read the book. You may disagree with me that's fine. I am just sharing what I learned and what works for us.

Chris and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary last week. Over the years, our heart break to see so many marriages break up even Christian marriages and the marriages of those in the ministry because of marital unfaithfulness. Most of them did not intentionally being unfaithful but they didn't set boundaries or hedges at the first place either.


On the book: Hedges Jerry Jenkins wrote about the importance of setting boundaries to protect our marriage. He described six hedges he has planted in his life as example but suggest that each individual to set and follow hedges appropriate to his or her situation.

1. When he meets, dines or travels with an unrelated woman, he always adds a third person to the group. When this is impossible, he is always the first to tell his wife.

2. He is careful about touching women. He embraces only relatives or close friends, and only in the company of others.
3. If he pays a woman a compliment, it is on clothes or hair, not the woman herself.
4. He avoids flirtation and suggestive conversations, even in jest.
5. He often reminds himself and his wife that he remembers their wedding vows.
6. From the time he gets home to the time the children go to bed, he does no work in order that he might spend quality time with the family.
7. He also promotes the importance of a man sharing his story - the story of how he and his wife met and fell in love. These stories are a powerful reminder of the love a man and wife share and it is important that these stories become a part of the family's heritage.

Rick Warren, also made similar boundaries called Saddleback Staff Ten Commandments, which are:
  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex. *
  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.*
  3. Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.*
  4. Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home. *
  5. Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex alone at the office, and thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex more than once without that person’s mate. Refer them.
  6. Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.
  7. Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attender of the opposite sex.
  8. Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chat rooms, cards or letters from the opposite sex.
  9. Thou shalt make your co-worker your protective ally.
  10. Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.
  * The first four do not apply to unmarried staff.

Realizing how weak we are and how so many have fallen into temptation even those whom we know are spiritually stronger and more mature than us; Chris and I adopt most of the above guidelines.  I remember sharing these to a friend and she commented that some of those may not be applicable in certain work setting that require one on one meeting and such. I told her they are not law but guidelines. What important is for us to be mindful, prayerful, and creative.

  Other things Chris and I do to protect our marriage:
1. Wear our wedding bands always. We purposely chose simple rings that way we don't have to worry about them getting dirty or attract unwanted attention.

2. Share passwords: E-mail, Facebook, Evernote, and so on.  It's not something that we think every couple should do. We didn't do it at the beginning of our marriage but we do now for communication and practical purposes. For instance if I don't have Internet access and I need certain documents, I can just call Chris and he can access the document for me. Recently we set up One Password for security purpose.

3. Keep phone call with opposite sex short and to the point. There was a time when I was on the phone for a long time with a minister. He called me to talk about a ministry I was involved in. He did most of the talking. Because he was a minister I feel it is not polite if I don't listen, right? I told Chris about it and told him how both the phone and my ear were hot because I was listening to the minister talking for hours. He wasn't happy about it so the next time the person called I told him it's better if he talk to my husband. Guess what? He still talked for hours even though all Chris said was, "I see... uh huh... uh huh....uh huh...." :)) Well...at least I don't have to be the one who listened to him. Lesson learned: Let your spouse be your guard. :)

4. Whenever we e-mail someone of opposite sex, we usually include each other e-mail and sign as "us" or our family.


5. I recently when through my friend list on Facebook and un-friend some guys whom on the past may have interest with me or the other way around. Do they know? Maybe... What if they get offended? That's okay because I believe it was a wise thing to do for my marriage.

6. Credit my spouse whenever someone of opposite sex compliments my body or look. Some people are by nature like to comment and they don't mean to be flirty but some people do. I once brought my two-year-old out and about still a guy would asked,"Is he yours? You looks too young to have a baby and you looks great bla... bla... bla...." I replied, "Thank you! That's because I have a great husband who take a good care of me." then I walked away.

7. We keep each other accountable and most of our closest friends know our standards and won't hesitate to remind us whenever we need a reminder.

8. Flirt with each other often - okay this one maybe for another post ;)

My hope and prayer is that this may be a blessing for some marriages. 
I am closing this post with a song from Steve Green:

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. 
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 
Matthew 26:41


Note: Some links in this post are my referral links

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