Strengthen the fence around your marriage. What does that mean and why should it be important to you?
How Important is Your Marriage to You?
If you were wealthy and owned a precious, very costly painting, old and with a long history, you might have to create a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment to keep it from deteriorating from age and protect its value. You might also need to put it in a secured area behind a fence where other people could not touch or damage it. You would probably also use security guards and an alarm system to keep it from being vandalized or stolen when you were not present.
Can you put a price on your marriage?
Shouldn't your marriage and your spouse be even more valuable and important than an object of art? You are building an entire world with your spouse (your children, your friends, your social life, your vacations)-its value is priceless!
The longer your history together, the more precious and more valuable your marriage and your spouse become. This is ESPECIALLY true if you have children. When you truly understand this concept, you will want to protect your relationship from deteriorating from age and protect both your marriage and your spouse from vandalism (such as heavy flirting or someone mistreating your spouse) and from theft (such as infidelity or divorce).
Think of this as putting a protective fence and security around your marriage. And then think how can you strengthen the fence around your marriage. There are many different physical fences: some thick, some tall, some with barbed wire, some with double fencing. What kind of "fence" do you want around your marriage?
Consider Your Spouse's Feelings
Consider some sample situations. Would you would be alright with your spouse and an attractive person of the opposite sex
- kissing lips to lips?
- giving a full-body hug (pressing front-to-front)
- French kissing?
- traveling alone together?
- being the last two still sitting at the bar after an office party?
- taking a moonlight stroll on the beach hand-in-hand?
- sending 50 texts back-and-forth in one day?
- talking several times a day by phone, and always for long periods while commuting to and from work?
If you don't feel comfortable imagining your spouse engaging in some or all of these situations, then you know it should be outside your fence.
How do you protect your marriage?
I believe you have to create a security "fence" by setting personal boundaries. Of course, these boundaries only work if each of you is committed, both in public and in private places, to maintaining the limits. Furthermore, I urge you to make the boundaries further out to give you a safety zone. It should be clear to you when you are getting close to crossing the line.
Your Own Boundaries for Your Own Marriage
You cannot look to society for guidelines in creating your boundaries. You must look within yourselves. Society often wants us to believe that certain things are either okay or won't cause harm, but society currently has a low level of morality and a high divorce rate. You and your spouse should discuss, in detail, exactly what boundaries are needed to keep the two of you happy together.
To Love and to Cherish
Of course, a spouse who is loved, cherished and supported is more likely to want to maintain boundaries around your relationship. It is in your best interest to help create that environment. When you create a wonderful marriage, there is even more desire to want to maintain the good feelings and good relationship. That is what I teach to couples I work with, it is what I support in my writings, and the principle I live by in my own marriage--I hope you will do the same.
NOTE: If you feel your marriage has
deteriorated beyond these suggestions, please
go to the section on Stop