Infidelity. It’s all around us. Chances are that you know of at least one marriage that has been devastated by adultery. In the last few days I read a great book by Jerry B. Jenkins called Hedges – Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It. In this book Jenkins writes, “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, their heads, their hearts, their eyes, and their hands.” He goes on to list some very practical “hedges” that he has put in place in his marriage. Although he expounds on each one in much greater detail in the book, I will share the main themes with you here.
Warning: What you’re about to read will probably sound radical, old-fashion, or possibly even paranoid. And while ignoring the wisdom of placing similar “hedges” in your own marriage is not a guarantee that you or your spouse will fall into adultery, making a commitment to planting strong protective hedges will do much to ensure that you will remain faithful to the covenant vows you and your spouse took before the Lord. So here they are:
Hedge #1: Whenever I need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated woman, I make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last-minute complication make this impossible, my wife hears it from me first.
Hedge #2: I am careful about touching. While I might shake hands or squeeze an arm or a shoulder in greeting, I embrace only dear friends or relatives, and only in front of others.
Hedge #3: If I pay a compliment, it is on clothes or hairstyle, not on the person herself. Commenting on a pretty outfit is much different, in my opinion, than telling a woman that she herself looks pretty.
Hedge #4: I avoid flirtation or suggestive conversation, even in jest.
Hedge #5: I remind my wife often – in writing and orally – that I remember my wedding vows: “Keeping you only unto me for as long as both shall live…” My wife is not the jealous type, nor has she ever demanded such assurances from me. She does, however, appreciate my rules and my observance of them.
Hedge #6: From the time I get home from work until the children go to bed, I do no writing or office work. This gives me lots of time with the family and for my wife and me to continue to court and date.
I would encourage you to consider your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Are there any additional “hedges” you need to put in place in your marriage. In a culture where we see so many marriages falling prey to the heartache of adultery, what steps do you need to take to ensure that yours is not one of them?