Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Boundaries in Marriage

God calls us to live a life marked by purity. Purity is the freedom from adulteration and freedom from immorality. To honor God we practice the below boundaries. Why? Because satan hates a happy marriage and will work to destroy it. It is vital to be intentional with your marriage. Work at it. Protect it. Honor each other. I'm not an expert, but these boundaries have protected us. They work for us. Before I share the boundaries we practice, let me give you some Biblical truth behind why we have boundaries in the first place.

1 Corinthians 6:13-20 says "You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

Your body is a temple. You are not your own. You were bought at a price. So we must honor God with our bodies. What does that mean? It means living pure lives and that is what I want to focus on here. As a married woman what does it look like to live a pure life? God is pretty clear it means fleeing from temptation. Not walking in the gray area. Not flirting over the line. Fleeing from sexual immorality. Based on that, G and I have the following boundaries in place to keep us away from sexual immorality. Boundaries we believe make our marriage better and stronger. 

If I could say one more thing before I dive into the boundaries? I don't believe God ever says something just to be mean or to be a buzz kill. God knows so much more than I will ever know and His intentions in telling us to flee are for our protection. For our own good. Are sticking to these boundaries always the easy way? Most certainly not! But it's important and worth it to us because we want to protect our marriage. 

1. Do not travel alone with members of the opposite sex. Emotional affairs start long before the physical affair. Spending one on one time alone in a car is an open invitation to opening up emotionally that may not have been there otherwise. Once you begin to feel emotionally attached it gets more dangerous. It's just better to flee from the temptation all together. Drive separate. Ride with a few more people to keep you accountable.

2. Do not eat alone with members of the opposite sex. This is the most common beginning of affairs from my friends who have gone through it. It starts so innocently with lunch. Then it leads to dinner. Then lunches and dinners more often. Fellowship almost always happens over a meal and you start opening up and he listens so much better and she gets it. Next thing you know it's gone too far and it's hard to turn back. And how do you not let it get too far? By fleeing from the temptation. Also, it just doesn't look great if one of my girlfriends sees G out to eat with a girl that isn't me. Or if G's sister sees me out to eat with another man. To avoid any gossip is another reason we keep this boundary. 

3. Don't confide in or counsel members of the opposite sex. G and I are big on counseling couples together. If things need to be on a one-on-one basis it's natural for G to reach out to the husband and meet with him separate and I would meet with the wife. It's out of respect for each other and it's protecting us from any kind of emotional affair or attachment by confiding with a member of the opposite sex. It's also important for G and I to set boundaries on conversations in the workplace. I used to work with all men and it was important to make sure I didn't get too personal because when you start to get vulnerable you could start looking for validation. You could feel like you gave a piece of yourself away when sharing something so personal. Out of respect for his wife and out of respect for my husband it's best to keep those conversations with G, family and my closest girlfriends. To just flee from temptation so it never becomes an issue. 

4. Surround yourself with people who will keep you accountable. These boundaries can be difficult. It is important to surround yourself with your tribe. The people who have the same beliefs and values as you to do. The people who will call you out if they see behavior they think is unhealthy or disrespecting your spouse. The people you can talk to and wrestle hard issues with. Should I watch that movie or read that book? Can I be disciplined enough to skip the pages I shouldn't read? Disciplined enough to fast forward through that scene in the movie? Keep an open dialogue with your accountability. Often as soon as we confess the issue we are struggling with the issue loses it's power. It's not a secret anymore and you see it for what it is. When we were getting married a coworker told me to surround myself with people who will always tell me to fight for my marriage. That will always tell me that no matter how bad the fight, to go back to your husband and resolve it. That's great advice. Make sure your accountability circle believes in your marriage and believes you should fight for it.

It's worth it. These boundaries have protected G and I for nine years. A happy marriage doesn't just happen. It takes being intentional and these are ways we are intentional to honor God and each other. I would challenge you to talk to your spouse and figure out your own boundaries. I don't have these boundaries because I don't trust G. I have these boundaries because I believe in fleeing from temptation. Every affair story I heard never started with an intent to cheat. The affair happened because boundaries were not in place. 

So protect your marriage. Start the discussions with your spouse now on how you can honor each other and God. Surround yourself with people who support your marriage and will keep you accountable. It is better to be proactive than reactive. It could make all the difference.

Do you agree? What boundaries do you have in your marriage?

1 comment:

anneseverydaylife said...

Great post! This makes me think that Doug and I need to sit down and have a talk. He is so awesome at honoring me anyway, but I know like you said as time goes by you just need to have those boundaries in place so something doesn't sneak in