What Will You Gain From Building a Marital Hedge?

By Erin Prater
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Focus on the Family
Building and protecting a strong relationship may sound a bit like getting a root canal. But is it really?

When I was a kid, I hated brushing my teeth. I had to be forced into it. Let’s just say this: It’s a good thing your first set of teeth are naturally replaceable.

These days, I love dental hygiene. I clip coupons for the latest toothpaste flavors. I floss regularly, and am carefully researching water picks before I “take the plunge.” And when the timer goes off on my spinning toothbrush, I’m still brushing. Time flies when you’re having fun!

I guess a love for dental hygiene (like coffee, sushi and many other things in life) is an acquired taste. Maybe I was burned (or numbed) one too many times by cavity fillings. Maybe the freedom to do whatever I wanted, including eating mounds of Twinkies and going to bed without brushing my teeth, wasn’t so fun (or freeing) after all.

When it comes to building and hedging a strong, God-honoring marriage, some are ready, eager and willing to do whatever it takes. Others, though married, highly value their “freedom” and are more hesitant. In fact, building marital hedges may sound just about as fun as getting a cavity filled, undergoing a colonoscopy or trying on your “skinny jeans” after porking out at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

But it’s Christ’s desire that husbands love their wives “just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her,” and that wives “submit to their husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22-25). Verse 21 tells us to, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” And Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Clearly, we’re free in Christ, but we must use that freedom to love others (especially our spouses) “as ourselves” (Galatians 5:14).

The rewards of hedging your marriage (though it may require a “sacrifice of freedom” in the eyes of the world) are great. What do you gain by building marital hedges?

Your own fenced-in playground to share with your best friend. Yes, you’re pledging to steer clear of the seemingly-fun temptations of the world, but what you’re gaining is so much more thrilling, long-lasting, pure and wonderful! You’re building your own fenced-in, private playground where you and your spouse can rip off your masks, share your most intimate secrets, act like goofs and enjoy uninhibited sexual pleasure.

Unconditional love and forgiveness. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “If you want to become more like Jesus, get married.” It’s true: Marriage will require you to love and forgive unconditionally, even when your other half has hurt you deeply. Consequently, married love should mirror Christ’s love for His church closer than any other earthly form of love. While it may occasionally hurt to give this kind of love and forgiveness to your spouse, think of how wonderful it is to be on the receiving end.

Freedom from “what-ifs” and wonderings. By setting healthy boundaries for your marriage and maintaining an open and honest relationship with your spouse, you have no need to wonder what your spouse has been up to or what he is hiding. Most importantly, you know your marriage is in God’s hands.

So labor together. Go shopping for some nice-looking shrubs. Have a fight with the hose while planting them closely. Then stand back and admire what God has done. And if the grass starts to look greener on the other side, start watering your own hedge.

Copyright © 2007, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.