Why you must build a hedge around your marriage
One question that we must ask ourselves is, what is a hedge?
A hedge, according to the free dictionary, is “a fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes.”
Also, Jerry Jenkins, co-author of left behind series, said: “One of the major causes of marital breakups in the Christian community is the lack of protective hedges that spouses should plant around their marriages, minds, hearts, eyes, and hands.”
Building a hedge around your marriage is akin to protecting your marriage. The hedge being referred to here is not a physical hedge but a spiritual and emotional hedge.
Most people have no problems insuring their cars, homes, property; others install house and car alarms, build electric fences around their house but do nothing to protect our marriages.
If we are honest with ourselves, we do not even think about. We just assume that we will not need it. Neither should our spouse.
We must remember that the enemy of our faith wants to destroy us, along with destroying every “Christian” marriage because marriage is God’s prototype of His relationship with the church. “Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:7)
As Christians, we are to be alert. Being a Christian does not guarantee you an affair proof marriage. What it does is give you the knowledge and power to resist and overcome when the enemy comes like a flood. Therefore, if you have power and do not use it or tap into it, you may not be able to resist.
We must not be naive. A lot of “good Christians” fall into temptation which invariably ends their marriages. Very few Christians if any set out to cheat or engage in a relationship outside their marriage. More often than not, the excuse is “I never set out to fall in love with this person” and “we were just friends“. We never hear of anyone who says “I was just looking for someone to destroy my marriage” That’s when we realise how stupid we were in NOT guarding our hearts more than we did.
Truth is marriage does not stop you from getting attracted to someone else of the opposite sex.
Admit it or not, we will at one point or the other, you may find someone else attractive in the course of our married life. The attraction will come in different ways. It may be a physical or emotional attraction. It may be the way the person talks, walks, laughs or sings. It really doesn’t matter the type of attraction. What matters is how you deal with it. Remembering your vows is a start in the right direction. What marriage does is to serve as a check and a reminder of your vows and commitment to your spouse in the presence of God. This should keep you from fleeing from the object of attraction in a bid not to fail God or your spouse.
The Bible tells us, our If we’re going to resist, we must wake up to the subtle attacks aimed to destroy the testimony of Christ in our marriages. We can’t be cautious enough because of all that’s at stake! We rarely meet a person who is caught in an affair that says, “I was just looking for someone to help me destroy my commitment to my spouse.” But we DO hear, “We never meant for it to happen; it just did.” This should be a warning for us ALL to build hedges, protecting marriage, BEFORE anything has even a CHANCE of “happening.”
What to do:
- Be wise: Realise you can fall into temptation so don’t toy with it. Most times infidelity starts out as a friendship. Remember that no one thinks he/she needs a protective hedge until it is too late.
- Stick to boundaries created by fences: Share your deepest feelings, emotions, hurts, needs and difficulties only with your spouse. Guard your heart and check if you are getting more emotionally attached to someone else other than your spouse. It doesn’t always start with sex.
- Do not deceive yourself: If you are not connected to God, you will most likely fall over and over again. This battle is not one that can be fought alone considering the level and pressure of temptation. It is almost impossible to win without the help of the Holy Spirit. Stay close to God.
- Realise you are different: You are not the same as everyone else. The fact that everyone else is doing it and seemingly getting away with it does not mean it’s okay.
- Flee: “‘FLEE the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart’ (2 Timothy 2:22). We are to run – to flee – to get out – and get away. Shall we run scared? Yes! Fear is essential. ‘There are several good protections against temptation,’ Mark Twain said, “But the surest is cowardice.” When you first become aware of the impact the other person has on you, that is the time to move into action. Refrain from touching them, being alone with them, flirting with them (even in jest), or saying anything to them you wouldn’t say if your spouse were there.
- Disclosure: There may be times you find yourself incredibly attracted to someone else. It may be best if you tell your spouse about it (this must be prayerfully done in order not to worsen the situation). As you know your spouse, use your judgement to explain the situation in a way that he/she will understand. Most times, it is an adult version of puppy love and it will pass.
- Pray: For strength to overcome and not fail in the day of adversity. As you pray, you will increase in strength.
Work: Your workplace: Beware of close interaction with a colleague of the opposite sex, lunch with the same person over and over again
Church: Counselling, mentoring, group activities etc. Sad as it is, men and women of God can also fall into temptation.
Neighbourhood: Refrain from going into houses around your neighbourhood where you may find yourself in a room alone with the opposite sex.
Social network (friends): Be careful with the friends you keep. If your friends do not see anything wrong in stepping outside the marriage, sooner or later you will too. Surround yourself with godly friends with godly counsel.
Let us remember that this is about us taking ownership for building a hedge. It will be nice if you can do this with your spouse. However, if your spouse will not commit, you can do it alone and God will honour it. You cannot leave your marriage unprotected. You must plan, anticipate danger, plot the way of escape, and build hedges BEFORE the enemy attacks.
Finally, in “Hedges: Loving Your Marriage enough to Protect It” written by Jerry Jenkins: “Remind yourself what price you’d have to pay for a brief session of carnal fun. We who have remained true to our spouses need to do something to ensure that we remain that way. Treat this blight on marriage as the epidemic that it is. Plant a hedge. Do something–do ANYTHING. Don’t become a statistic. Something wonderful happens in a relationship when hedges grow.”