A while back, when Josh and I had just gotten married, I was having a conversation with someone about how we’re intentional about protecting our relationship. It started as small talk about men and women being friends with the opposite sex. She was offended that a friend had told her that their friendship had to change because his wife wasn’t comfortable with the closeness of their relationship. My friend’s response: “If she’s secure in herself and her relationship, it shouldn’t matter who he’s friends with.”
I sat there listening to my friend, and my heart broke. My heart broke because this thinking is so wrong. I would argue that if you’re secure in your relationship, you will protect it at all costs.
It’s weird to me that people refuse to protect their marriages all because of the fear of being labeled “controlling” or “insecure”.
If we hear a man say anything about “not being allowed” to be friends with other women, or women say “my husband wouldn’t like it if I hung out with another man” our culture’s first response is “wow, your spouse must be really insecure.” or “doesn’t he trust you”.
It’s not about trust. It’s not about being paranoid or fearful of something happening. It’s about treating each other with respect and with the intention of protecting the vows you made to each other on your wedding day.
Protecting your marriage and taking precautions to prevent situations doesn’t make you insecure, and don’t you let anyone tell you that it does. It makes you secure in who you are, in your spouse, and in what God has given you.
I’ve had a few people tell me that I am being silly because Josh and I are intentional about protecting our marriage. Because we are careful with friendships with the opposite sex. Because we don’t keep secrets from each other. Because our phones are always open to the other person’s eyes.
I’ve been told, “You don’t need to worry about any of that, you’re a newlywed!”
I’ve had someone ask me if my distrust of Josh is why we are so careful.
I’ve been told to stop being so paranoid.
I’ve been told, “Josh is such a good guy, you have nothing to fear!”
And here’s the thing, I don’t worry. I do trust Josh. More than I’ve trusted anyone. Want to know why?
We are intentional about protecting our marriage.
We are intentional about avoiding any situation that might cause jealousy to arise in one of us, or cause an affair to start. Because affairs don’t start out with someone saying, “I think I’ll go cheat on my spouse today!” They start small. With little conversations here and there. With connections being formed between two people that shouldn’t be connecting in that way. They sneak up on you.
So we do everything we can to avoid putting ourselves in this position. I don’t think this is paranoid, or pessimistic. I think it’s wise.
We are careful about what we say to others about each other. I don’t talk badly about Josh to “the girls”. This only opens up lines of negative communication. When your friends only hear you venting about how he won’t ever pick up his laundry, or that annoying sound he makes with his mouth this is you telling them that it’s okay for them to speak badly about him as well.
We should be the one person who speaks life into our marriage no matter what season we are in. We should be encouraging and lift him up. That’s hard to do that when we have just vented for 20 minutes about the toothpaste stains he leaves on our nice hand towels.
Imagine you are in a season of hardship in your marriage. You are at dinner with your girlfriends and seeking advice on what you should do. If they have heard three years of constant complaining, they probably won’t come to his defense. They won’t even come to your defense but they will make the wedge between you and your spouse bigger. They will most likely affirm you in your hardship, “Yes, you totally deserve better! You shouldn’t put up with that!”
Now, what if you have refused to bad talk your husband in the past? Their comments might look more like, “Have patience with him, he might be going through something. Pray for him and lean on Christ in this season.”
Do you see the difference?
Do you see why I am so passionate about protecting my marriage?
Marriage is a covenant. It’s a forever promise. It’s a picture of Christ and His church. It’s serious. So we treat it as such. That is why we are careful with anything that would bring a wedge between us. Including what we might say to others.
Will we fight? Will issues arise? Will we have seasons of difficulty? Absolutely yes. But in those seasons of difficulty and distance, there won’t be anyone else there to comfort us and to tell us we deserve better and to sneak their way into our hearts. Because we have set the foundation early on. Because we are passionate about this commitment to one another. Because we have drawn lines and not crossed them. So we will lean on each other and on Christ. And we will work through it.
For me, I don’t want there to ever be a question or hint of insecurity about the commitment we made to each other. This is forever. I will protect it at all costs.
When we are proactive, when we defend and guard our marriages, we will be that much stronger when the hard times come.
I love what Phylicia Masonheimer says about marriage, “Our marriages are as safe from divorce as they are close to Christ”. Wow. Truth bomb.
My prayer is for you to do the same. For you to guard your marriage with your life, unashamedly. Because, as Christians, we are called to a higher standard, marriage included.