3 ways to protect your marriage

When we first pledge our love to each other on our wedding day, we never think either one of us could possibly end up having an affair years later.  Tragically, it happens quite frequently, and even among Christian couples.  We can’t be ignorant of Satan’s mission revealed by Jesus in John 10:10 where He says Satan is out to “kill, steal, and destroy”.  Satan would like nothing better than to rip apart your marriage.  He is always plotting ways to get you or your spouse connected with someone of the opposite sex.  That’s why we have to be vigilant from day one!

James 4:7 advises us…”Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  One of the ways we can resist the devil’s schemes to destroy our marriages is to talk with our husbands about rules we will both follow relating to the opposite sex.  Agree that you will never spend time alone with another man and your husband will never spend time alone with another woman.  If your job requires you to be in a one-on-one meeting with someone of the opposite sex, agree that the door will always be left open.  Agree that you will never share anything personal about your marriage with a member of the opposite sex.  If at all possible, agree to never work as a two-person team with a member of the opposite sex on a project or at your job.   That feeling of being a “team” is extremely bonding!

Safeguard your marriage.  You may think you don’t need all these strict rules, but I know from personal experience that you do.  Many solid Christians have fallen into Satan’s trap by failing to follow these safeguards.  Don’t let your marriage be another notch in the devil’s belt.

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Scared to set boundaries?

Have you ever caved in when you should have set boundaries in a relationship because of the “what if” questions?  What if he leaves me?  What if he leaves me and I won’t be able to take care of myself?  What if he gets really upset if I confront him?  What if….?

When you find yourself paralyzed with fear because of the “what if” questions, it usually means one of three things.  Either you don’t really trust God when he says in Hebrews 13:5 that he will “never leave you nor forsake you”.  Or it means you have allowed the spirit of fear to dominate your thoughts.  Or it could mean that you have become your own worst enemy and convinced yourself you’ll never be able to set boundaries and stick to them.  In other words, you’ve pummeled yourself with negative self-talk!

You CAN overcome these paralyzing fears.  How about choosing to trust God’s promise to never leave your side (Hebrews 13:5)?  Maybe it’s time to command the spirit of fear to leave you, in the name of Jesus (2 Timothy 1:7).  Perhaps you need to stop telling yourself that you’ll fall to pieces if you respectfully draw a firm boundary. Coach your soul just like King David did throughout the Psalms.  Tell yourself you will not crumble.  Remind yourself you will not fall apart.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  With Jesus by your side, you have all you need.  You’re not doing this alone!

Your girlfriend shouldn’t be his too

At the risk of you thinking I’m totally looney, may I suggest that you talk with your husband about clear boundaries regarding your female friends?  In other words, he should not be a close friend of any of your own girlfriends!  I know this might seem old-fashioned or even ridiculous, but many affairs start out with a husband “just talking” with another woman.  We need to be careful and alert to the schemes of the enemy!

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober-mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  So, be alert to the enemy’s scheme to get your husband emotionally entangled with one of your friends.  He should not spend time with her without you.  He should not even be spending time on the phone with her giving advice or listening to her woes.  Without him intending to do so, he will slowly find himself developing an emotional bond with your friend, and she will start bonding with him.   Danger lies ahead!

Examples of boundaries

I get asked quite often about boundaries in relationships. The subject of boundaries is a topic tossed around a lot, and women sort of instinctively know they need boundaries in relationships, but they don’t exactly know the how, what, when and whys of healthy boundaries!

First let me explain that there is a difference between asking your boyfriend or husband to change and setting a boundary.  A boundary is not a request for the other person to change.  A boundary is deciding what YOU will do to protect yourself physically, emotionally or mentally from the other person’s harmful or destructive behavior.  A boundary basically says to that other person, “I can’t control your choices, but there are some things I CAN do to control how your choices affect me”.

Let me give some examples:

  • A husband refuses to stop looking at pornography and that choice wounds his wife’s heart.  She makes a request for him to stop (and most likely to seek serious help for that addiction), but she can’t MAKE him stop.  So, she establishes a boundary.  She tells him if she continues to catch him looking at porn, she will move to a separate bedroom or even separate from him entirely until he gets serious help for his problem.  That’s setting a boundary.
  • A husband is emotionally abusive and that wounds his wife.  She makes a request for him to stop, but she can’t MAKE him stop. So, she establishes a boundary.  She tells him if he screams obscenities at her or degrades her even one more time, she will immediately leave the room (or the house) because she won’t tolerate that kind of behavior.  If the emotional abuse continues, she might set an even larger boundary and tell him she will need to separate until he seeks serious help.  That’s setting a boundary.

By the way, boundaries are Biblical.  Here’s an example from Titus 3:10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.  And 1 Corinthians 5:11  I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

Boundaries in the bedroom

Insist on being yourself in the bedroom, ladies!  What do I mean by that? Well, unfortunately, I frequently hear stories from women about how their husbands are asking them to do increasingly bizarre things in the bedroom.  Their guys want them to perform rather perverse sex acts, or dress like a stripper and do a pole dance, or dress like a dominatrix with whips and chains.

Why are many husbands asking these things of their wives?  It’s likely because they’ve seen such stuff in pornography and they’re trying to replicate it with you!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this is ok.  Does it seem right that your husband would use you to try to recreate a fantasy featuring another woman he saw on a porn site?  At that point, your husband isn’t even making love to you.  It’s only about the sex act and you’re just playing a role.

The Bible instructs husbands in 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  It is not respectful for your husband to ask you to play the role of some fantasy character from a porn site!  I believe it’s right for you to insist that you get to be yourself in the bedroom.  Yes, as wives, we can wear sexy lingerie and yes, we certainly should want to please our husbands, but let’s agree to be ourselves, and not some high school cheerleader or dominatrix!  That’s my take on the subject. What do you think?