Setting Boundary Lines in Marriage
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)
One of the leading causes of divorce is infidelity. Couples always think it won’t happen to them—until it does. One thing can lead to another all too quickly, and even the most well-meaning spouse can find themselves in a compromising position before they know it. Whether it’s infidelity of the body, the heart, or both—affairs happen.
So how do we guard our marriages from this burning blaze of destruction? How do we stay away from pornography or other means of unfaithfulness when temptation seemingly lurks around every corner? How do we fight our flesh and find the resolve to end the conversation, leave the room, turn off the computer, or change the channel?
We must believe it isn’t impossible. First, because all things are possible with Christ (Matthew 19:26) but also because of the promise found in Galatians 5:16 (ESV) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. This is one of those instances where the Word gives us a clear cause and effect. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. That doesn’t mean we’ll never be tempted again, or will never have the opportunity to gratify those urges. It doesn’t even mean the desire to gratify the flesh won’t be present and even at times powerful. Those times will occur. However, when we walk in the flesh, we’re not going to gratify—i.e., indulge, entertain, cater to, or fulfill—those sinful, lustful desires. It means we’re going to make the right decision and choose the way out that is always provided for us. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Many spouses believe that setting up guardrails means creating a list of rules. I know couples who have pledged never to ride in a car alone with a member of the opposite sex, or never eat out at a restaurant unless there’s a group from work, or not to watch TV when home alone, etc. And those are good things to do! I’m not advising against them. But it seems that the true guarantee is given here in Scripture. To do our part to guard our marriage, we must walk in the Spirit.
So how do we walk in the spirit? By disciplining ourselves in prayer and Bible reading. By growing familiar with God’s voice through His word. By delighting in His commands and obeying them. By saturating ourselves with His Spirit so the world grows less and less enticing. Have you ever noticed that the closer you draw to God, the automatically you closer draw to your spouse? Your perspective shifts when you’re walking in the Spirit. Your heart rejoices and your load lightens and your priorities change to what they’re meant to be. (Matthew 6:33)
By all means, set boundary lines for your marriage that are wise, that you and your spouse are both comfortable with, and stick to them! But more importantly, walk in the spirit. Maintain your relationship with the Lord and spend time seeking the Kingdom together with your spouse. There’s no sturdier guardrail than that.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com./
Related Resource: Listen to our new, FREE podcast on marriage: Team Us. The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Find practical, realistic ideas for strengthening your marriage. Listen to all of our episodes for free on LifeAudio.com or in your favorite podcast app!