Monday, November 11, 2013

Marriage Challenge Day 11~ Hedges

What do you think of when you think of a hedge? Hedgehog, a bush, a barrier? Did you ever think about putting up hedges around your marriage as one of the most important things you can do to help your marriage survive and thrive?

Webster defines Hedge in many ways one of which I find particularly helpful in explaining what a hedge in marriage is.

Hedge: "The act of means of preventing complete loss of a bet, an argument, and investment or the like." 

Now, let's focus in on the fact that our marriage is an investment. It is something we put our whole self into seeking the greatest. We don't get married saying.... "I take you so that we can fall on our faces and choose not to try and fail completely." No, we say, things like "I take you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad."

So what does it look like to put up a hedge around our marriage? First, we must believe that our marriage IS a valuable investment and it is precious. Realize that your actions to build strong hedges to protect your marriage is pleasing to God and he will bless it if you invite Him to lead the process!

Maybe you find yourselves running in opposite directions often, you don't eat dinner together anymore, life seems to be a constant fight, you or your husband work full time jobs, you watch too much TV, you are human! All of these are good reasons to think that we need hedges. (Especially that last one!) No marriage is immune to temptation so hedges are always necessary and always a good investment.

Here are some examples of hedges to get you started:
-Choose to stay away from movies/TV shows that encourage you or your spouse to lust after another.
-Make an effort to eat dinner together at least once or twice a week. (Start there and see if you can expand it as you go along)
-Share your thoughts and feelings with one another and choose not to share personal and emotional struggles with a person of the opposite sex unless it is with your spouse in a counseling setting. Women especially have to be careful not to become emotionally attached to other men. Sometimes we feel it's easy to share with a co-worker, someone at school, one of our kids teachers etc. but the truth is when we  share our hearts with these men and not our husbands we are putting our marriage under attack and we are conveying to our husband that he's not worth talking to. Maybe you've felt shut down by your husband in the past; pray first that his heart would be open to hearing what you have to say in a non-threatening way. Men often hear our problems and assume we're asking them to 'fix' something when sometimes all we really need is a listening ear-convey that to him.
-Making financial decisions together and not having 'his & her' money. Talk about your finances and become a team in handling the family's budget. Both sides may need education in this area there are wonderful resources for this. Dave Ramsey's tools are a great place to start.

'That's great, but my husband won't be on board with this!' If you feel like this is you then you can still make a plan to put hedges up on your end and tell your husband of your plans to protect your marriage then pray. Pray for yourself, that you would have the courage and wisdom to live out your faith and love for your husband in spite of obstacles and then pray for your husband that his heart would be softened by God's spirit and that he would see God's love for him and your love for him through your words and actions and get on board.

Verse: Proverbs 18:9-10
"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. The Name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."

Yes, marriage is work sometimes but it is the most beautiful kind of work. If we are not willing to work at it we are destroying it. But we have hope that our God is our fortified tower, strong, never failing, and he will help us in the journey!

Blessings as you protect your marriage!

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