Looking through the news, I saw David French announce he was running as an independent for President. You’re asking “Who?” I’m sure. Same here. But that’s not the reason for this post. In my Twitter surfing, I came across this article which talks about Herman Cain, David French, and other political figures and their thoughts on temptations when there is distance between spouses. David French, an Iraq war veteran, and his wife put up some boundaries while he was deployed:
Before David left for Iraq, he and Nancy put together rules, in a painfully honest conversation about human frailty. There would be no drinking during the year of separation. Nancy would not “have phone conversations with men, or meaningful e-mail exchanges about politics or any other subject.” Nor would she be on Facebook, where “the ghosts of boyfriends past” could contact her. When Nancy innocently started e-mailing about faith with a man associated with a radio show she was on, she told David about it, and he asked her to end the relationship. David knew, with his “stomach clenching,” that “the most intimate conversations a person has are about life and faith” — and that “spiritual and emotional intimacy frequently leads to physical intimacy.”
I came across the article because some on social media are being critical of David French for the restrictions. It blew my mind. These are conversations spouses should be having, and the fact that this is a foreign concept to so many shows we as a culture aren’t placing the proper value and care on protecting marriage. Before I get on a soap box, let’s get back to what David French said.
You know what stuck out to me? The phrase painfully honest conversation.
Samantha and I have had a few of these conversations. We spoke to a youth class at our church about boundaries and being intentional in our relationship. But this was about our dating phase. The reality? These conversations needs to continue into marriage. The conversations are ongoing and should never end.
So, what boundaries should we setup for marriage? Here are a few things we do.
If either Samantha or I have a conversation with someone of the opposite sex (either in person or online), we share. Sharing creates openness. Yeah, these conversations are harder to open up. I’m not denying that. This isn’t about being paranoid, or being offended when these topics are broached, but about not allowing seemingly innocent, but potentially hazardous conversations to go any further.
Obviously, we have some rules about what’s allowed when it comes to our phones and the Internet, among other things. Whether it be the types of conversations had, where those conversations happen, or what you’re doing with free time, rules create checkpoints in your mind. If you have the checkpoints, it provides a moment for your heart and mind to pause, look closely at what you are doing, and turn from temptation or a negative situation.
Always speak well of your spouse. If you speak well when they’re not around, it does a few things. First, you’re reminding yourself, “Hey, I have a great spouse. I am so lucky.” Second, it creates a barrier between you and the opposite sex. It’s a way to put up “do not enter” sign around your relationship.
Each relationship is different, and each couple is different. Have a conversation with your spouse (as tough as it may be) and discuss what checkpoints and boundaries are needed in your relationship. We’d love to hear your techniques to protect your marriage.
Just as boundaries are important in marriage, they’re built on the foundation set in dating. In fact, this post was inspired by a conversation on the way home when Samantha reminded me that we if tell others to have these types of intentional conversations, we ourselves need to continue to have them!
If you’re a teen, parent, or church leader, or know one of these people, Samantha’s book on teens and dating in the church just came out, and discusses some of these topics. Buy it today!