Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Build a Hedge Around Your Marriage

Did you know that 70 percent of all married men and 60 percent of all married women have had affairs? This information comes from Dr. Holly Hein, author of the book, "Sexual Detours." That means that only one out of three marriages where the husband and the wife are completely faithful to each other. Those odds are pretty pathetic.

Building a hedge around your marriage is just one step that can be taken to protect your marriage. This hedge is actually an established boundary that helps to keep you from compromise with opposite sex friendships. It is a strategy to minimize exposure to an unwanted advance and its a precaution taken to prevent becoming entrapped in sin. It will help protect you from the unexpected detours life can take you on.

The following words of advice should be taken seriously. As you read this list, you may be thinking, "I'd never do that!" My dear sister, you would be surprised what some Christian women will do when tempted.
  • Do not go to bars, clubs, or lounges.
  • Do not go to restaurants that encourage servers to dress and act provocatively.
  • Do not interact with men, unless in a group and never one-on-one.
  • Do not meet up, dine, or travel with a man if one of you is married, unless there is a third party.
  • Always dress modestly, and convey godly speech, actions, and attitudes. 
  • Try to avoid being paired up with men in one-on-one work projects, school assignments, or volunteer work.
  • Always have a third party if required to travel together. Don't ride along together in a vehicle.
  • If you are an unmarried woman, do not pair off with an unmarried man (one-on-one) until you have had ample opportunity to get to know him in a group context.
  • Do not allow yourself to be alone with a man in a bedroom, an apartment, a house, a hotel room, or any place that is not in public view.
  • Keep all of your electronic communication clean and pure, and free of flirtation.
  • If you feel pulled toward an adulterous relationship, immediately pull back and and break off contact.
  • Always wear your wedding ring, unless you live in a Christian fellowship that does not wear them.
  • Always affirm and support the marriage of others by inquiring about their spouses.
  • Always try to get to know the wives of the men you interact with, as a means of respect.
  • Always mention your husband in the conversation with male friends, and reinforce that you are "one" with him.
  • Restrict any personal contact with men to socially appropriate forms of greeting, such as a handshake.
  • Don't flirt! Be careful about the "innocent" playfulness and teasing - especially when you are alone with each other. Keep your hands to yourself!
  • Don't provide a listening ear for him to share his marital difficulties or tensions at home.
  • Don't allow a mental, emotional, or spiritual bond between you that is more intimate than what he has with his wife, or what you may have with your husband.
  • A compromise in the mind will lead to a compromise in behavior.
Ask God to show you what practical "hedges" need to be in place in your life, and ask Him to give you grace to maintain those safeguards.

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; 
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15,16

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