Mark and I spend alot of time mentoring broken marriages. A large percentage of those relationships are broken because of infidelity. And most of the time those affairs happened not because someone set out to have an affair, but because there were no protective barriers put in place. When it comes to having a love that lasts a lifetime, one of the most loving thing we can do is to protect our marriage. Today’s Marriage Monday is about advance decisions you can make to protect your marriage.
When I was in my first job as a pastor, I was introduced to the concept of protecting your marriage. As part of a large church staff, I was instructed to keep my door open anytime I was meeting with or counseling a woman alone. At first this felt a bit invasive, especially when someone needed privacy to pour their heart out. In time, however, I learned that it was a very wise boundary that our church leaders had put in place.
It’s important that we are not naive about the reality of temptation. At one of our Hearts at Home conferences a young mom bounded up to me and asked if dads could come to the conference. Before I could answer she continued with, “I’m asking because my new best friend is a stay-at-home dad who is my neighbor. We shop together, go to the park together, and I really think he’d like this conference.” Wow! Red flags were going off inside my head and I wanted to scream….no, please don’t be naive.
Nearly every person who ends up in an affair never set out to have an affair. It just happened because opportunity made it possible. Most of the time it’s because they didn’t put a hedge of protection around their marriage by making decisions ahead of time that they would NEVER be alone, and never communicate regularly with someone of the opposite sex.
There are some important advance decisions we can put in place to keep temptation at bay. Here are a few that we’ve found helpful:
1) Anytime you seek one-on-one special services, choose someone of the same sex. For instance, if you want to sign up for some personal trainer sessions at the gym, if you are a woman, choose a female personal trainer. If you are man, choose a male personal trainer.
2) When emailing someone of the opposite sex, always carbon copy your spouse on the email.
4) Determine to not meet one-on-one with anyone of the opposite sex. If your co-worker asks if he or she can join you for lunch, ask a third person to join you as well. If necessary, don’t hesitate to share the boundary you and your spouse have agreed upon in your marriage. You just might lead by example.
5) Stay away from pornography. Viewing pornography is an affair in itself. Don’t let your mind be drawn away from your spouse.
No one is exempt from the reality of temptation. We have to understand that and do everything in our power to protect the most important relationship we have. If you haven’t put some protective measures around your relationship…do so today! It will help assure your relationship can go the distance.
What about you? What strategies have you and your husband agreed upon to protect your marriage?
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