Monday, October 3, 2011

Establishing Safeguards in Marriage

safeguard: something that serves as a protection or defense or that ensures safety. (Source)
 It seems to me a bit ironic that we often lock up things that will rust and ruin and leave our most valuable possessions at risk. We double-lock our homes and drive to work in cars that we lock as we exit. We put things into safes and banks and locked cabinets around our homes. We make sure all is safe, and only give our credit card number to reputable companies. Why is it that we see as absurd measures to safeguard our marriage relationship? Why will some of your roll your eyes and scoff when I share about the safeguards my husband and I have put around our marriage? 

A safe cracker doesn't usually get into a safe in 5 minutes or less. It usually takes many moments of tedious attempts before the door finally swings open and the valuables contained inside are his. Such is an attack on a marriage. Many different things can chip away at the relationship before the value of it is totally lost.

For this reason, we have made some mutual agreements for our marriage so that those little attempts are greatly minimized. We want to give Satan as little room for his work on our relationship as we possibly can. I am going to share these, not as prescriptives for everyone necessarily, but as examples so you know what I mean when I say to safeguard a marriage. Whether you use any of ours or not, I hope you that are married have some in place to guard one of the most precious relationships this life affords.

Never be alone with a non-family member of the opposite gender. My parents ingrained this into me from a young age. Reputations are at stake. Temptation can crop up at any time and in a way that one least expects it. My husband does not ride in the car or go to lunch with a woman alone even in his business transactions. If I were offered the opportunity (which is unlikely since no one is really very eager to go to lunch with a woman and four small children :-), I would refuse as well. Dave Ramsey, financial guru and superior business leader, has said that he will not even get on an elevator with a woman alone.The "business" of our marriage is much more important than any business meeting.

computer monitorSet boundaries around technology. When I was a teenager, the only ways to contact anyone quickly were telephone and dial-up e-mail. Now there are so many ways to connect with others that I couldn't even list them all! My husband and I both have facebook accounts, but we have an agreement that we will only "friend" people both of us know as mutual friends if they are of the opposite gender and that we do not have "chats" with even those friends. Since I am much more "chatty" on facebook than he is, I have made an additional restriction for myself just so things don't get too complicated and do not have any male friends that are not family members. We both have open access to the other's cell phones, e-mail accounts, passwords and history, although neither of us feels the need to "check up on" each other.

Don't share a passion with any non-family member of the opposite gender. This may seem odd to you, but I actually heard a Christian marriage counselor speak to this even after we set up this safeguard in our marriage. He said that the reason there are so many affairs between ministry partners is that they are sharing something they are passionate about, which can lead to emotional connection and more. My husband and I enjoy singing together and with different family members, but we do not sing alone with anyone else of the opposite gender. Singing together is a special way of connecting that probably only is understood by those who love to make music with others. Singing is only one example of sharing ministry with someone else. We also have individual hobbies such as fishing for my husband and piano for me. He only goes fishing with other male friends,  and I do not teach adult males piano lessons. 

Keep physical contact to a minimum. Even the Bible declares, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." You can study the Greek on that, if you wish, but my husband and I take it at face value. We do not make a practice of hugging non-family members. I know, some churches would call us downright non-spiritual. After all what about greeting one another with a "holy kiss"? Sadly, we've seen too many infidelities among those close to us to be able to justify this practice in our culture. For those who insist on hugging us at weddings and funerals, we've perfected the "one-armed, polite hug". Yeah, you know what I've probably done it yourself when faced with that great uncle you see at these events who doesn't even know your name but thinks it his duty to hug you (that is a perfectly hypothetical example!). 
Don't complain about your spouse to anyone.  Yeah, I'm getting a little more personal. Even if you chat with high school friends on facebook or hug Christian brothers and sisters, this has to be a definite way to break down the safety of your marriage. No, I'm not telling you to lie. If you can't say something nice....well, you know. This means to your best friend or your mother or the other mom/dad at the park pushing their kid on the swing next to yours. There are many different ways this can end, but none of them are good. If you must seek counseling, go to a non-biased, spiritual leader like a pastor or pastor's wife (refer to our number one rule on this, though!).

Yeah, I know, we're kind of weird. Is all that necessary? Maybe not. But you know what? Fort Knox, with all of its security measures, has never been broken into. Maybe with all of our "unnecessary" safeguards, our marriage will keep its value as well.

How about you? What safeguards have you placed around your marriage?

PhotobucketJennifer Self is a disciple of Jesus Christ who loves following His plan for her life as a wife to the most wonderful man in the world and mama to four little blessings. Her days are filled with spending time with her man, homeschooling, preparing reasonably healthy meals and keeping the dust bunnies and the clutter monster at bay with a little blogging mixed in. After her family has been taken care of, she dabbles in her other passions of reading, health and music. She blogs about her life, her Heavenly Father, marriage, parenting and home at and real food for real families from the perspective of real faith at


  1. This is a really great post. If more people put safeguards around their marriages, I believe there would be less divorce. If we don't give Satan a foothold then it'll be harder to climb the mountain. If you are weird then so am I! I have perfected the one-armed polite hug...I don't answer the door to a male if my husband isn't home...and if I have to for a particular reason, we stay on the porch even if it's his best friend...we have access to each others passwords, emails, phone records, etc. And so many more security measures...
    Yes I am weird...If loving my husband and protecting our God ordained marriage is weird ;-) Have a very blessed day!

  2. So glad I'm not the only weird one....May God continue to bless your marriage!

  3. Excellent, Jennifer. It just makes good sense, really. My husband and I are very cautious in these areas as well, so count me as one of the "weird" group, too.