A marriage relationship is a dynamic entity that can grow more beautiful than the most gorgeous rose in any garden. But weeds that threaten to harm or even destroy your marriage are lurking everywhere in our society of moral relativism. Far too many spouses fail to tend their marriages with the care that good gardeners should exercise. The only way to ensure that your marriage survives – and thrives – is to plant hedges of protection around it.

Here’s how you can plant hedges around your marriage:

Don’t think that your marriage can’t become a casualty. Look around you and consider how many people you know who have been through divorce. Understand that, unless you constantly nurture your marriage, it is destined to decline and die – just like plants that are neglected. Decide that you will take the risks seriously.

Plant early before problems take root. Know that if you plant hedges in your marriage before you find yourself in a threatening situation, you can prevent many problems from taking root and nip affairs in the bud. Decide to proactively make decisions to protect your marriage. Anticipate danger, plan, and plot your escape before you find yourself in a dangerous situation.

Realize that temptation has only one effective response. Whenever you’re faced with the temptation of attraction to someone other than your spouse, realize that there is only one response that will work – to flee! Any other approach, such as trying to rationalize your way out of it, is doomed to failure. Decide to run from the situation as from a contagious disease. Recognize that the right time to act is as soon as you start to notice your attraction to another person.

Don’t blame God for what’s really your own responsibility. It’s all too easy to blame God for making it possible for you to feel sexual attraction toward someone besides your spouse. But your responsibility is to choose to channel your desires properly. If you ask God to help you do so, He will strengthen you for the task.

Flirt – but only with your spouse. Flirting is fun, and a great way to build excitement and intimacy between two people. Avoid flirting with anyone besides your spouse for any reason, remembering that it’s not a harmless way to interact. Know that suggestive comments and behavior can spark much more with a person who is badly in need of attention. But keep flirting with your spouse, no matter how long you’ve been married. Caress each other, share private jokes, etc. daily, and be creative. Know that as long as you both invest in your marriage, it can be fun, exciting, and intimate.

Rely on God’s strength rather than your own. Realize that, as a human being in a fallen world, your best resolve and inner strength can still fail you when you need it most. Choose to rely on God’s unlimited power to help you keep your marriage strong.

Remind yourself of biblical bases for hedges. Read and meditate on the Scripture verses that address the importance of hedges to protect something valuable, purity, etc.

Quit kidding yourself. Understand the tremendous capacity of every human being to deceive himself or herself when not connected to God. Know that, once you start making excuses for wrong behavior, each excuse will sound more plausible, and you will sink deeper and deeper into sin and ruin. Admit that you can’t trust your own self apart from God, and decide to stay close to Him.

Make it a threesome. Whenever you need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated person of the opposite sex, make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last-minute complication make this impossible, let your spouse hear about it from you first.