Sunday, December 11, 2005


Jerry Jenkins has written a terrific book on how to plant and grow protective hedges around our marriage. Whereas yesterday we looked at how we build walls around our heart that keep others out and that can ultimately lead to our downfall, a hedge is different.

A hedge is designed to keep others out of our primary love relationship. A hedge keeps temptation at bay and helps us to avoid compromising situations. These are protective barriers that keep us from hurting ourselves and those that we most care about.

For a hedge to grow it needs the proper nutrients at the proper time. A large hedge starts out very small. The gardener patiently nurtures it and tends to its needs in order to grow. Our relationships are the same way. We need to know the sensitivity of our spouse, as well as our own weaknesses.

Our respective hedges may differ from couple to couple, and from individual to individual. The important thing is to not argue over who's hedge is better, but to nurture the hedge so that it provides the best buffer from temptation for yourself and your spouse.

Consider these questions:

What triggers your interest in someone of the opposite sex?

What thrills and delights you?

What is your definition of flirting? Your spouse's definition?

What protective hedges do you currently have in your marriage?

What hedges do you need to cultivate to protect your own heart?

Ask your spouse the same questions and have a no-holds barred discussion of them. Find a close friend of the same gender and have another frank discussion of hedges. Ask them for feedback on your behavior and hedges or lack thereof. Listen and heed what God says to you in these conversations.

Without a protective hedge you will be like the king in Psalm 89,

Psalm 89:40-41
You have broken down the walls protecting him and laid in ruins every fort defending him. Everyone who comes along has robbed him while his neighbors mock.

1 John 5:21
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.

Crossway Books has a great feature where you can read Jenkins's book online. Read it and nurture those hedges today.


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