Marriage Killers: #1 No Borders
Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.-Nehemiah 2:17-18
Over the next few weeks, I will tackle several of the strategies the enemy uses to destroy marriages. You will find that you have experienced these or know a couple who has; most of them I have personally experienced as well. It is my hope that as we process these we will take action to ensure that our marriages survive every attack (and that we help save our friends and loved ones as well).
Marriage Killer #1 - No Borders!
God has established borders and boundaries. If we read the bible, we can see that He established borders for the land and the oceans (Job 38:10-11), boundaries for our behavior through the ten commandments (Exodus 20:2-17), and so much more.
Broken boundaries and nonexistent borders make it easy for the enemy to come and go as he pleases. He has access to things he should have no knowledge of because we have no boundaries.
Boundaries in an of themselves aren't bad. Borders can protect what we hold dear. They can establish what belongs to us and what doesn't. Again, borders aren't necessarily bad. It's our motivation behind having them and execution of them.
God has established borders for our marriages (we should love our spouse, we shouldn't commit adultery or withhold sex, etc.). It is, therefore, important that we set boundaries as well. Many of our marriages become rocky because we have no established borders for:
Finances - Do we separate our money and have individual accounts? Do we consult each other before spending money? Is there a limit to what we can spend without discussing it? How do we pay bills?
Intimacy - Is your expectation that we have sex every night? Are there some things that we won't do when it comes to sex? How frequent should it be?
Disagreements - Is it ok to raise our voices at each other? Will you stop talking for days because you are upset? Will you storm out of the house? How will we disagree?
Because we have no borders for these topics (and many more) we have unspoken (and therefore, unmet) expectations. This leads to more frustration which leads to more disagreements, decreased intimacy, and walls of separation instead of borders of protection.
It's not too late. You can start right now rebuilding the walls of your marriage. When Nehemiah saw that the walls that protected his home city were destroyed he set about rebuilding them. It was hard work, and he was under constant attack, but with the help of God and willing people the wall was rebuilt.
You can do the same. Rebuild your walls. It will take some work, but it is worth the effort to protect your marriage.