I had to post some important article links that someone recently put online, with summary highlights below. They were too good to pass up and not archive on this blog. One of the core passions that burns within me is the area of relationships. These articles are very good, encouraging, with sound practicalities based on timeless principles. While not all-inclusive, it’s good nonetheless. And with content from the actual articles, I had to add my own thoughts, sometimes extensively, to reinforce the principles…
Do for your spouse what you need and want from him or her. (Now, while I’m 100% on this, I’m not 1000%. I’d probably slightly edit it to say, do for them what you know they want and need, and communicate your needs in the process.)
Do not get too cozy on the internet. This is simply referring to emotional and relationship fidelity. Draw clear boundaries with respect to opposite gender communication. Keep from personal conversations, get in the habit of copying or blind copying your spouse, share Facebook accounts…just to name a few ideas.
In a new union, allow people time to get used to the idea, especially those that are used to having more access to you. Ask respected, respectable naysayers to explain themselves, and take a stand amidst those out to sabotage. Strengthen the bond of your support network. Start your own new family traditions, set up your own way, making your house a true home. This is you and your spouse’s own family, own life. Relish in it and make it special.
ADULTERY IS NOT NORMAL! (I love that they said this.) We were NOT made to be unfaithful. We were created for loyal, faithful, monogomous relationships with our spouses. And it does not have to be a difficult thing to maintain.
Invest in your relationship with your spouse: sofa time every day, asking each other how they are feeling and being interested in the answer…even when you’re too busy, wore out, overloaded. Face it, you will rarely ever have time for each other. You will almost always have to make it. But make it. Make them your priority every day. Plan to be with them alone, no matter the demand of your schedule. Don’t neglect your lifeline under God.
Set boundaries. Yes, old fashioned…but that’s the definition of timeless, universal principles. Here are some excellent examples given:
* I will not go out to eat alone, travel alone, or flirt with someone of the opposite sex.
* I will speak regularly and lovingly of my spouse.
Consider what is at stake. Your children, grandchildren, or other youth or peers will see everything you are. You are a light, an example. But more importantly, the heart of your spouse, and your home, your sanctuary. Might I compel you with my passion for my future wife? She is the priceless pearl to which the worth of the sum of the world cannot begin to compare. What in the world, or even sum of the world, is worth the risk of damage or loss of the precious, beautiful princess of my heart? There is absolutely no parallel in the universe under God than to walk in a relationship with mutual respect, honor, trust, intimacy, and fidelity on a heart, emotional and physical level.
Integrity is golden, it’s everything, and it facilitates the capacity for God’s absolute best, His original and ultimate intention for relationships and marriage all along. Don’t you realize there’s a reason that pure dream of a beautiful marriage and life with someone resides within in the purity and innocence of our childhood hearts? God breathed that dream within us. He gave us the hope of that sanctuary called monogomous marriage, filled to overflowing with so many wonderful things.
The problem is, we have allowed thieves in our sanctuary over the years, sometimes being that very thief ourselves. We have taken what was meant only for our spouse, only in the context of marital commitment, because we wanted the goods without the purchase. We wanted for free what is supposed to cost everything. Whether sex, cohabitation, shared accounts, or other areas of integration, we have trained ourselves to consider this acceptable, and then we wonder why marriage isn’t ‘all that’ when we finally step through the door lawfully, with vows and rings. We wonder why it seems empty, a shell of what we dreamed. We have been robbing from it for years! There’s not much left!
Then we make up all these stupid sayings, degrading or downplaying the dream and beauty of marriage out of a laziness towards fessing up and repenting of our criminal behaviors and allowing God to refill that home. No, instead we blame our partner for their role while excusing our own contribution. We go to our adult toybox where men play with girls visually and women play with men emotionally. Some try to keep these things at bay, while others don’t care. Some accept this in each other, others run. And we wonder why divorce is so high.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. At the end of the day, in all my passion to see you do this thing right, I will go home to my wife and do it by her, with her. She is too beautiful and awesome of a woman, and what we have is too precious…the gift of marital union is too priceless…for me to expose any of that to harm. I’m accountable to God for the caretaking of her heart, and the more I pour into her, the more she wants to pour into me. I can’t save the world and lose my own wife. That is an ultimate double-standard, contradiction, and indictment against my own soul.
She’s my heart, my sanctuary, my home. And there’s no place like home. [To my future wife: xxxx]
Men: another woman’s intimacy is none of your business. What she looks like beneath modest clothing is not for your hands or your eyes. Your eyes are the window of your soul, and whatever you let in, you carry with you. If you’re man enough to live this type of integrity towards your wife or future wife, guard your heart by guarding your eyes. Do not commit adultery of the heart.
We’ve raised a generation wherein so many couldn’t even comprehend much of what I’m talking about in this post without the help of some form of grace to really see this. Fidelity and loyalty used to be an understood staple of society since the inception of America that didn’t need to be explained and taught so extensively, but rather just pointed out and reminded. (Some of you who are older can remember that feeling in our culture that used to be there, in our media, entertainment, and just a general undertone difference from today.
Most of these kids don’t know what that feels like the way we felt it as a nation.) It’s so much more than ever up to parents to create and foster that atmosphere for our children. We can’t count on their teachers, our government, the entertainment industries, or athletic icons to guide them and teach them right, although there are some true, dignified heros in each of these sectors of society.
This one is a little dense with wordiness, so you might only have patience for my bullet points. With respect to fidelity, here are contributing factors to unfaithfulness:
* It is a series of choices (it starts as an open door in the heart, which can be closed by you). It is the opening to and feeding of an attraction to someone besides your spouse. People allow their minds to meditate, consider, dwell on the person or situation. The feelings build, and people often allow them to grow or remain at a certain level they believe to be at-bay or safe, and even believe it is acceptable because there is no real outward action (yet at least)…not realizing adultery is a state of the heart despite any activity or lack thereof. Many use the excuse of unmet needs from their spouse. While that’s a separate issue, it is, well, also, a separate issue and not an excuse or cop-out for infidelity.
The following are safeguards to reinforce faithfulness:
* Don’t overestimate your own strength by allowing or putting yourself in situations you have no business being in. Deal with potentially dangerous interface with the opposite sex quickly. Whether a look or interaction with someone at work or in public, or TV show or commercial, a movie scene or image on the computer…guard your heart and its tenderness to the emotional, sensual and sexual intimacy of your spouse. Resist in prayer as well, and confess to someone if you struggle. Flee wrong situations that come your way, and avoid walking into them knowingly. Feast on the word of God. His word strengthens and builds up your spirit and soul beyond your own will power. Keep mindful the consequences, and invest personal energy into your spouse to keep it fresh and alive. Don’t neglect each other.
The content of these articles inspires and envigorates me. I absolutely love these things and drink them in like a thirsty soul in a dry desert. I can’t get enough of it. It makes my heart rejoice. May the Holy Spirit take these words and grip your heart, inciting dedication and persistent passion for the beauty of loyal dedication to your spouse or future spouse. (You don’t have to wait to meet him or her to begin to prepare your heart for them, and to be thinking of them and praying for them. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t! Start now if you haven’t already!)
Grace and peace…