10.15.2014

Equally Yoked: Boundaries to Bind Your Marriage

It's that time again, friends. Time for Equally Yoked! Today you will be hearing from Renee, a dear friend of mine whom I met through the internet (gasp). I have had the pleasure of watching Renee grow in her faith, her running, and now her marriage. She is such a wise soul and I cannot say enough about the passion this woman has for the Lord. I know you will love her as much as I do.
________________________________________________________________________


to start off this blog post, my name is renee young.  though i am originally from the great state of indiana, i now live in starkville, mississippi where southern hospitality and southern charm come alive.  while in grad school i met and got married to a smoking hot guy who works at a church and we just never left this college town.  we have been married for just over 7 glorious months.  i am a high school science teacher and love the opportunity i have to impact students' lives as they walk through the doors of my classroom.  i hate capital letters. i consume more coffee than is daily recommended. i love writing about what jesus has been teaching me, but only do it sparingly and impulsively on mulling over my morning coffee.

i could (and kind of want to) go into all the nitty gritty, good and bad, pretty and ugly details of my 24.8 years of life because it's glorifying to God and easy to articulate, but that is another longlonglonglong story for another day on another blog.  i'm so glad i get to be apart of this marriage series, equally yoked.  i have known cassie for almost 3 years now.  we randomly found each other on instagram.  it's been so fun watching her journey through dating, engagement, and now marriage.  i'm beyond blessed by her friendship from afar.  

so where am i going with this post?  

i want to take a few minutes to encourage you to establish specific boundaries in your marriage: whether you are still dating your prince charming, are floating on the cloud 9 honeymoon phase, are deciding which school your kids should go to, or are so married that you don't think you could possibly learn anything knew about your other half. 

though dating and marriage has proven to be near-dreamlike for mark and i so far, i know from friends, family, and society that it is not always phantasmagoric, it presents its own unique set of challenges, and amplifies real and raw emotions. 

before getting hitched, i believe it is vital to look at your own parents' marriage, as well as your future in-laws' marriage.  like me, if you analyzed their marriages, there are things you would want to emulate perfectly; however, you know there are things that have no business walking through the threshold of your home.  mark and i both bring those kinds of blessings and baggage into our marriage.  

if we are to establish boundaries in our marriage, well, then what is a boundary?  

webster defines boundary as "something that shows where one area ends and another area begins", "a point or limit that indicates where two things become different,"  or "limits that define acceptable behavior."  to me, a boundary is a buffer zone, a personal limit that you maintain for accountability to prevent you from going somewhere you don't want to go.  so how does this boundary idea apply to my marriage?

well, remember dating?

you may have-consciously or subconsciously- set boundaries in your dating life to prevent you from even dating a man who didn't walk in the ways of the Lord so there would never be the option of having an unequally yoked marriage.  to halt you from going down the trap of sexual immorality you might have set a physical boundary of not even kissing tip marriage or engagement.  in order to prevent further shame and regret in a dating relationship, you may have set a boundary at what movies you watched together, how late you would stay at your boyfriend's house, what rooms you refused to walk into at your boo's house, or what articles of clothing you would wear in front of him.  there are several boundaries you may have set for dating.  regardless of what limits you set, they were all for the purpose of keeping you on a safe side.  boundaries aren't meant to take away the "fun" but are to help keep you close to the One who gave you life more abundantly (john 10:10).
"the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  i came that they may have life and have it abundantly. " 
you might be thinking, "ok so back to how this applies to myyyyy marriage, renee? because last time i checked, all bets are off in marriage, you might say.  i can have sex with my husband without shame, i never have to "go home" at a certain time because my home is with my husband.  i don't have to worry about my husband not being a christ-follower because one of the reasons i married him was because of the fruit produced in his spiritual walk (galatians 5:22).  why do i have to put boundaries in my marriage, if we are happy and christ-followers and secure and just plain awesome already?"  i know, that's what i would have said to.  i'm speaking to myself as much as i am to you. so why is vital that we all set boundaries in our marriages?

because we're an imperfect people, that's why.  

because we make mistakes, that's why.

because we need to guard our marriages against the evil one who wants to destroy our God-centered union, that's why.

because we need to protect our husbands, that's why.

because we want to give all of ourselves to our husbands, that's why.

you might not think any different at the end of this post, and that's okay because it won't change the fact that i am actively guarding our relationship, but the one thing that i can assure you is that in 20 years you will not regret setting boundaries to protect your marriage.

before i suggest 5 boundaries to implement in your marriage, i want you to know that i am by NO means a marriage expert, i hardly know anything about it. i am not perfect and i will never claim to know everything about anything.  i am like you, taking each married day at a time and learning from yesterday. 

proverbs 4:23 tells us to
"above all else, guard your heart for it affects everything you do." 

here are 5 boundaries i encourage you to pray about implementing in your marriage:

1. most importantly, give no opportunity for one-on-one time with the opposite sex

now, i know, before you completely dismiss my suggested boundaries hear me out.  this doesn't mean that you can't talk to men, it just means to use Godly discernment.  mark and i have implemented this in our marriage not because i am some egotistical and jealous wife and not because he doesn't trust me, but because i want to present our marriage as wholesome and undefiled as possible. i won't text another guy without mark first knowing who i am texting.  i won't sit in a public (or at home) with another man unless mark will be joining us.  it's not a trust issue, it's a boundary we set so nothing has the opportunity to be birthed out of a misread text or a misunderstood conversation.  i want mark to know that i respect him and i want all of his friends and any stranger know where my loyalty and heart lie.   

no car rides, no text messages, no sitting down to have a cup of coffee, no lunch plans, no being at home without mark and even a friend comes over.

all of these things are seemingly harmless, at first.  however, an overwhelmed day and some under-the-skin anger get brought home after work and all of the sudden a kind, supportive text message from another man could manifest itself in your brain and give birth to immorality.  adultery is a serious threat to marriages and with boundaries set like this, you remove the temptation and opportunity.

ephesians 4:27 says 
"and give no opportunity to the devil" 

and psalm 119: 66 says, 
"teach me good discernment and knowledge, for i believe in Your commandments.  

2. make it a priority to come home from work at the same time each day
this may seem obvious to some and maybe pointless to others.  regardless of what you think of this boundary, it's all about respect for your spouse.  we all get overwhelmed and busy and have deadlines; however, especially early in your marriage, there is nothing more important than cultivating an intimate relationship (emotionally, physically, spiritually) with your husband.   when you stay at work late, you allow work to be your fulfillment.  when you stay at work late, you are spending more time with your coworkers than your husband.  when you stay at work late, you miss a shared laugh, a deep conversation, a shared task, a gift, a quiet moment with your husband.  when you stay late at work, you are giving an opportunity for something other than the biblical love of your husband consume you.  but, by chance you may stay late at work, your husband will feel so respected when you just simply let him know that you are running late.  communicate.  

proverbs 31:27 tells us that a Godly woman 
"looks well to the ways of her household" 
and for me, not having kids, my husband is my household.  being home each night regularly at the same time is a boundary i strive to keep.

3. do not talk about your marital conflicts with others. instead, build up your husband
while there are things that our husbands do that absolutely drive us mad and there are things that us women do that our husbands would love to never have to deal with again, one boundary mark and i have set is to resolve our conflicts with each other.  this doesn't mean you have to be fake to other people saying that your marriage is a bed of roses when really its a pile of charcoal, but it doesn't give you the privilege to gossip about your husband and all the things he can't ever seem to get right.  if your marriage is really on the rocks and you can't remember why you married him in the first place, please seek biblical counseling or talk to your pastor.    

i know this boundary seems quite obvious, but listen to the world.  listen to your coworkers.  listen to the women in starbucks.  if you listen for negativity, you will hear it...and if you listen for too long, you will find yourself chiming in with your own negative thoughts on what your husband should and could do better. don't entertain this kind of negativity.  

proverbs 31:12 tells us that a Godly wife
"does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."

proverbs 13:20 promises us that
"whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
build up your husband, do not choose to tear down your best friend.  


4. when it comes to money, it matters that you consult each other and not assume
money is a touchy subject in marriage.  another boundary that mark and i have made is to make financial decisions together.  from setting aside a chunk to watch mississippi state whoop up on LSU in death valley to spending a fraction on a chick-fil-a chicken biscuit, all of our decisions are made together.  we have a flexible and reasonable budget, and it matters to us both that we respect each other enough to consult.  

whether its a new outfit for me or some new england patriots gear for him, a new pair of running shoes for me or another feast of chick-fil-a for him, and i could go on, asking mark if it would be okay to spend XYZ on this or that shows him that i respect how hard he works for our money.  when he asks me whether or not he can get yet another chicken biscuit or if he should eat at home makes me feel loved that he would show me that kind of love to honor the budget.  

outside of lack of communication or sexual intimacy, "before it's news" says that the top reason people get divorced (christ-followers or not), is for financial reasons.  setting a boundary of respect on money matters protects you from the area where marriage ends and divorce begins.  

5. lastly, it's imperative that you protect your eyesight
who says guys are the only ones with an imagination.  ladies, we have to guard our eyes.  tim tebow was in starkville last week for SEC nation and you wouldn't believe how many (married!!) women were just drooling over him.  my husband is better and will always be superior to tim tebow in every way because mark is mine and i am his. not even entertaining the idea.
remember david and bathsheba in 2 samuel 11?  david is minding his own business and bathsheba is minding her own business, and david happens to be walking by and sees her bathing on the roof.  he sees her with his eyes.  he did not protect his heart, his eyes were not trained to avoid such temptation.  he gave in. he committed adultery. he sinned. a man dies. she suffered. a baby died. sexual immorality has serious consequences and the act of not protecting our eyesight and guarding our heart can have serious  repercussions.  we think we are strong, but we are not.  we are fleshly humans with intense desires and a sick sin nature.  

psalm 119:37 says,
"turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways."
it could be easy for us to fall into a david/bathsheba situation if we do not train our eyes away from godless things. we have to set a boundary to protect our eyes so that we are further protected from a broken marriage.  no porn. no sexual scenes in movies. no cosmopolitan magazines. no opportunity for our eyes to wonder.
remember, these boundaries aren't meant to confine you.  these boundaries aren't out of lack of trust nor a lack of respect; in fact, with these boundaries in place, i have experienced a richness of love for mark that leads me to deeply respecting him even more.  

boundaries, a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.  as a married christ-follower, you are called to live a set a part life.  with boundaries, you protect and distinguish your marriage from the world.  

1 peter 1:14:15 says
"as obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct."

and romans 12:2 says
"do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

take a step and set some boundaries together that your relationship may glorify God and point others to jesus. 

what do you think of these boundaries?  
are there any that you would take out or with which you disagree?  
what are some of your own boundaries you have instilled in your marriage in order to protect that which you cherish most?

with love,
renee

instagram: @noodlenay42
twitter: @noodlenay42

See more from the series HERE

23 comments :

  1. These boundaries are so point-on and beyond vital (I think) for any marriage to survive. My fiancé and are adamant about setting those boundaries (exactly like the ones you listed!) and sticking to them out of love and respect not just for one another, but for our God. Thank you Renee for an awesome post! Can't wait to visit your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn't she just amazing? Her heart always blows me away! SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO GET MARRIED!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ahhhhh me too!! I literally cannot fathom the fact that we're 10 days away. Is this real life?!? Lol!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's going to FLY by- savor it :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those 5 boundries you listed are EXACTLY what my husband and I practice in our marriage. It's so important that both people know the boundries, stick to them, and communicate. I LOVE this series Cassie! You have some amazing guest posts here. <3 Renee, this is so well written. LOVE LOVE LOVE !

    ReplyDelete
  6. Absolutely! I'm already semi-panicking/semi-jumping for joy because I'm off all next week to get things ready and decorated. And it's already Wednesday. And it's flying by. LOL! Thank you for all your support! I cannot wait to share the moments with ya'll as they happen :)​

    ReplyDelete
  7. Agree 100%!! We practice these boundaries too! Boundaries are so so important in a marriage! Thanks for bringing light to this. I love this series and I LOVED this post! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So happy you're loving the series :) I am too!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ahhhhh! Loved this post! I agree all of the points! It's so important to guard your heart and your marriage. Many people generally don't care if your marriage is successful or not, so YOU have to be determined to make it. I am glad my husband and I aren't the only ones confessing that we spent $1.50 on a snack out somewhere. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. HAHA! is it ridiculous to be cautious with even $1.50?! haha! :) glad we share similar views in marriage! <3

    ReplyDelete
  11. thanks faith! boundaries have been on my mind a lot lately! glad you enjoyed the post and the series :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. aww thanks melissa! i'm very glad cassie invited me to be a part of this challenging series. looking forward to seeing posts in the coming weeks :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Aw thank you so much!! Congrats on your engagement and upcoming wedding! :) Marriage is just a wonderful extension of dating. Glorifying the lord is supreme! Excited for you to experience it with your best friend.

    ReplyDelete
  14. HAHAHA we are the same too! Thanks for reading :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. These are great. We've made financial sacrifices to have schedules that allow us to see each other more. We spent two long years working demanding jobs and I simply couldn't do it anymore. I'm married because I want to spend time with my husband.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's so great that you know that about yourselves! It's so good to learn those things early on before they become problematic!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You may be young (oh my gosh, I know I'm old when I say things like that) but you are very wise! Excellent, excellent points. I remember driving through town with my husband (then fiancé at the time) and there was a girl running with just shorts and a sports bra on. We both saw her and he immediately looked away. He said, "Tell me when we're past." How much more did I love that man right then? I am glad to help protect his heart and help guard his eyes, too. Wives has great influence over their husbands. We are to be their helper! Such a wonderful post.
    Erin
    www.itallmattersmom.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow! What a great man- that says a lot about his devotion to you and your marriage!

    ReplyDelete
  19. thanks @Erin . that means a lot to me. how cool of your husband! isn't it amazing how when our guy does something like that, we fall in love all over. :D

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks so much! I thought I was busy in college, but the real world is SOOOO much more. definitely important to make "us" time :)

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you! I try to respond to all comments.