“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
Psalm 16:6 NIV
Rules. Regulations. Boundaries. These words often have a negative connotation in our mind. They sound restrictive. They make it seem like we’re tied down with little room for freedom.
But is that really the case?
Next weekend the biggest sports event of the year happens: the Superbowl. Two of the things that help the game of football run smoothly are the rules and the boundary lines. The rules were created to protect players by making it clear what they can and can’t do. The boundaries keep play regulated to the field and clearly show when players and the ball step outside of permissible areas. The same is true of rules and boundaries we have in our relationships with God and in our marriages.
They’re not there to be a killjoy, but rather to protect what is sacred and good. As the psalmist wrote above, they provide us with a delightful inheritance. Just like members of the defense come in to break up the offense in football, there are forces in our world that come against our marriages. Satan loves to steal, kill, and destroy. Other people also sometimes try to separate spouses for their own selfish reasons.
The good news is that we can be proactive in creating rules and boundaries to protect our marriage before another team comes against us. Here are some to consider:
- No joking about the d-word: in our pre-marital counseling, our pastor gave us this advice and we are so thankful. Joking about divorce is hurtful and it leaves the door open in our hearts and minds that this is an option when things get tough.
- No yelling: sometimes discussions can get heated but making the rule to never yell at each other is helpful. Allow each other the space to take a step away and cool down before tackling the issue again.
- Checking in to discuss finances and large purchases: coming together regularly to do your finances together provides accountability and gives both husband and wife knowledge of finances and the opportunity to make decisions together. Decide on the dollar amount where you’d like to discuss whether the purchase is right for your family at that time.
- Calling when you’ll be late: it’s just courtesy to check in with each other when this happens.
- Setting agreed-upon boundaries for working with members of the other sex at work or church: discuss scenarios that could come up and how you’ll handle them.
- No venting to members of the opposite sex about each other: This is often the starting point for emotional and physical affairs, so having the boundary up front can provide protection and peace for your marriage.
I’d love to know: which other rules and boundaries do you think are helpful for marriages?
I trust you’ll soon experience the benefits of rules and boundaries in your marriage as you put them into practice.