There’s no getting around it: Marriages need protection.
Marriages are falling apart all around us. And adding the word “Christian” in front of the term “Marriage” doesn’t make you any more exempt from the “intruders” that exist all around us. If we’re not careful, they will find a crack in your walls and slowly seep in.
Marriage is our sacred space, but it’s up to us to make it that way. In 1 Corinthians 13 we read that one attribute of love is protection. Love doesn’t just stay safe on it’s own…you have to learn how to protect it.
Since getting married almost 9 years ago, my husband John and I have experienced the reality of this important attribute of love. In an attempt to protect our marriage, we’ve had to be deliberate about keeping a circle around our lives by setting certain boundaries. Here are some ways we protect our marriage, and how you can protect yours:
Emotions: Your emotional and spiritual world is the most intimate part of who you are. We believe it’s important to guard ourselves from interactions that give someone the part of our heart that belongs to our spouse. We need to have great caution when sharing our heart with someone of the opposite gender, because frankly, our emotional connection with others is strangely “magnetic”. There are certain conversations that I choose to partake in ONLY with my husband, and he with me.
I have found there to be truth in this matter even when it comes to same sex relationships as well. Women, in particular, love to connect on a deeper level- and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when those interactions are taking the place of the connection that we are meant to have with our spouse.
Sometimes, even venting to our friends about our marriage can be enough of an out to keep us from communicating with our spouses. I wonder how much communication between spouses is lost because it is finding it’s way out through other relationships. It’s important to be proactive about connecting with your spouse, sharing your heart, your spirit, and your feelings. We are created to connect, so we will either bring that need to our spouse or allow it to be filled by intruders. Protect your emotions.
Interactions: Throughout our marriage, we’ve found that it’s important to be deliberate about the choices we make in our behavior with the world around us. From our words, to what we write in emails, to our body language- we have to make a choice to honor each other in everything that we do and everyone we interact with.
We have built a trust with one another, and it’s a trust we committed to from the moment we said I DO. Because of that trust, we have full access to each others lives and anything that has to do with interacting with other people (especially when it comes to the opposite sex) including emails, text messages, computers, conversations, etc. etc. There is nothing to hide when there are no secrets, and so we aim to live every part of our lives transparently with one another.
Trust ALWAYS comes with certain responsibilities, but that intimate trust also allows us to share in a freedom with one another that far outweighs the sacrifices. Protect your interactions.
Time: This is the quietest of intruders, but one that is ravaging many homes because of it’s silent entrance. Our time is a most valuable commodity that should be invested in the people that we love and cherish the most. For us, we choose to invest our time in each other. And not just the quantity of time, but the quality of our time.
That may sound like a no-brainer when it comes to marriage but the truth is, it’s so easy to be “together” without actually being together at all.
Time can slip away with your separate hobbies and interests. You can be in the same room, but find that the time you are spending is really not being invested in each other at all. With all the modern distractions of Facebook, Pinterest, Television, Smart Phones, Netflix and entertainment- time can slip away like sand between your fingers. Add to that the demands of work, responsibilities, and raising precious little children and it can feel like finding time for each other is like playing a game of roulette.
It’s important for us to prioritize, or we find that our time is being given to the inanimate in exchange for the intimate (Tweet It!)
Protecting your love is a daily task. We try our best to be mindful of that, but most importantly we actively pray that God will continue to keep us on guard…“always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, and always persevering”.
What are some things you can do in your marriage to make sure you’re always “using protection”?
[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
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