First, I want to thank all of you who responded to yesterday’s questions concerning the keys to lifelong love in marriage. Your responses were insightful, heartfelt and very helpful.
Today, I want to continue on the marriage theme and paint a picture for you.
A man and a woman settle into their seats for a lunch date. They’re married … only not to each other.
As colleagues, they first noticed each other at work and over time drew closer to one another on mutual projects they shared. Walks together at break-time soon turned into coffee before each workday.
And now this lunch.
“No one’s ever listened to me like you before,” she says.
“I feel like you’re the only one who really understands me,” he says.
If you play this movie forward, can you guess what kind of danger this couple is almost certainly headed toward?
They’ll likely continue to spend more and more time together and eventually slip past the point of no return where marriages are torn asunder and families break apart.
You can see it happening, can’t you? We all can.
And, yet, this scenario (or one like it) is played out again and again and again every day with married men and women all across our nation.
Well, maybe because so many of us don’t take seriously Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 6:18, which says, “Flee from sexual immorality.”
Notice Paul says, “Flee.” He doesn’t say, “Be careful,” or “Watch out,” or “Get as close to the edge as you possibly can.”
No, he says to flee.
In part, that means resisting temptation when we’re confronted with it. But it also means creating guardrails that protect our marriage by keeping us a safe distance from temptation in the first place.
If there’s any area in our life where we need guardrails, it’s in the area of sexual purity. When we ignore guardrails or fail to set them, the damage, the memories, and the guilt can follow us through our lives.
Simply put, guardrails are boundaries, standards for our personal behavior that tell us, “I will go this far and no farther.” They keep us from teetering on the edge of dangerous choices.
So what are some positive guardrails to build around your marriage? For a little help with that, we’ll be sharing a recorded message today from pastor Andy Stanley, the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia, who will share what he calls his guardrails for protecting your marriage. Here are his five:
1. Don’t travel alone with members of the opposite sex.
2. Similarly, don’t eat alone with members of the opposite sex.
3. Don’t hire members of the opposite sex using the excuse that you want to “help them” when the truth is you’re attracted to them.
4. Don’t confide in or counsel members of the opposite sex.
5. If you’re married and you feel your heart drifting toward a specific person, tell someone immediately and get help.
As Andy will tell you, these guardrails aren’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, but he devised these practical and sensible guardrails based on thousands of conversations, emails, tearful phone calls, and heartbreaking circumstances through which he has counseled many couples.
Here at Focus on the Family, we’re honoring marriages throughout the month of February. What better way for each of us to honor our own marriages than to put boundaries in place that will protect us from infidelity? If you’re single, we have further thoughts from Andy about protecting your sexual purity on our website at focusonthefamily.com/radio.
I really appreciate Andy’s approach because it honors the heart of our spouses, and it elevates the sacredness of sex. After all, God is the Creator and the giver of sex. As Andy says, “If sex is a fire, God brought the matches.” When you learn to honor God with your body, the reward is that God will honor you with a relationship of intimacy the way He designed it to be.