Friday, May 14, 2010

5 Guardrails for Married People

Yay for Friday! It's been kind of a weird week here dog-wise. Three mornings this week began with cleaning up dog vomit. You know how moms' ears are attuned to hear baby cries? Mine are attuned to dogs up-chucking. I'm a pretty deep sleeper, but that'll wake me up in a second. Gertie started it off - Tuesday, I think. She was sick all day - constantly throwing up and couldn't keep anything down. We were terrified that she swallowed something bad and had a blockage. This girl's known to eat underwear, socks, wash rags, stuff out of the trash... She is a total scavenger and VERY sneaky. We keep doors closed to our closets, bathrooms, and the laundry room so she doesn't have access to any of these *tasty* treats, but once in a while she manages to get a hold of something. Laundry day is always a challenge with her. But luckily, she got better after 24 hours and is now back to her normal self.

Well on Wednesday, Charlie decided to start urping. Which of course sends us into a panic because we're especially sensitive to any change in him these days. And his whole sickness/surgery/cancer thing a couple of months ago all started with vomiting. Suddenly it looked like it all was coming back with a vengeance. He continued to vomit all day and again the next morning. We found ourselves in bed Thursday morning discussing our plans for when we'd ultimately have to put him down... just laying in bed with him crying. We were hanging on to hope that this was just a random tummy ache but couldn't help thinking "is this it?" Well, praise God, we haven't seen Charlie up-chuck since mid-morning yesterday (Thursday). And he started eating some again yesterday and has been much more of himself. So it's been over 24 hours... we're a little afraid to celebrate just yet, but he appears to be getting over whatever it was. Hang in there, buddy! Meanwhile, our oldest (Belly) is thinking, "what the hell is wrong with you dogs? Get it together and stop smellin' up my bedroom!"

Yeah, so we're glad to start the weekend with three happy dogs. And in other news, we're in the middle of this awesome new sermon series by Andy Stanley at
church called "Guardrails." (My dog-vomit intro doesn't really lead into that so well, but whatever.) We all know what guardrails are - those ugly metal beams alongside the highway that keep you from running off the road and into danger. Well the whole premise of this series is establishing "guardrails" in different areas of your life to keep you from heading into dangerous or forbidden territory (i.e. screwing up your life). It's about making the conscious decision to define behaviors for yourself to keep you out of trouble and protect the relationships you have. Andy talks about how we have to be intentional with setting these standards for ourselves because we're always tempted to live right on the edge of disaster. So we need to set boundaries for ourselves - guardrails far from that real "line" we never want to cross - so that we never find ourselves up against it.

The series focuses on various areas where we all need guardrails - friendships, finances, and marriage. But I found the marriage piece SO fascinating. I've always said to the hub that there are just "certain things you don't do when you're married." I've never really defined that, but you know... there are just things you don't do cuz you're married. I'm sure a lot of my friends would disagree. But OMG don't you just love it when someone *official* (like your pastor) confirms something you've been saying or feeling all this time?

So Andy specifically laid out 5 guardrails for married folks. He also did a list for singles which is awesome, but I'm just focusing on the married right now. These are not found in the Bible anywhere... these are nothing but "standard operating procedures" for protecting your marriage. Guardrails are important in all the major areas of our lives, but Andy noted that establishing them to protect your sexual purity, whether you're married or single, is the most important. Because you can overcome a financial disaster and completely recover, but very rarely do people fully recover from an affair. So don't deceive yourself into thinking "this can never happen to us!" Be proactive in protecting your marriage and establish these boundaries for yourself. By doing so, you're making a decision. By not doing so, you're making a decision. I think these are awesome and totally on point, but I'm curious to know what y'all think. Here are the 5 guardrails for married couples...

(1) Don't travel alone with members of the opposite sex.
Andy talked about how he went out of his way not to do this (i.e. carpooling to work) even when it seemed convenient.

(2) Don't eat alone with members of the opposite sex.
This one is huge - Andy especially stressed the importance of this one. Throughout all the years he counseled couples struggling with infidelity, he said ALL but one relationship/affair began here. "Oh let's grab a coffee... let's get lunch..." And yes, there are times when you'll find yourself in one of these situations unexpectedly. It's OK, you don't have to scream "NO!" and run out of the restaurant. Just take a minute to phone your spouse and tell them what's going on.

(3) Don't hire cute members of the opposite sex because you want to help them.
That one of course got a good laugh from the audience. You've seen too many movies not to know where this leads... Don't deceive yourself into thinking you're "helping" them. Get them help, but don't hire them.

(4) Don't confide in or counsel members of the opposite sex.
So true... doesn't take a genius to know that's dangerous ground.

(5) When you feel your heart or desire drifting toward a specific person, tell someone.
Whether it's a sister, a best friend, a small group member... tell someone. Someone who will hold you accountable.

I'm sure some of you think these might be a bit extreme... but what wouldn't you be willing to do (or not do) to protect your marriage? You certainly wouldn't *regret* adopting these guardrails. It's not as though having coffee with another man or woman is a sin... it's about drawing a line for yourself and choosing not to cross it. It's important to know your spouse's guardrails - so you can hold him or her accountable! And you also want to be comfortable with your spouse's guardrails. But ladies, think about it... if you knew your husband set these boundaries for himself, how awesome would that make you feel?

It's an incredible series overall, but I definitely encourage y'all to go check out this specific sermon that goes over the guardrails for marrieds and singles. Andy does a MUCH better job selling the idea than I do.
Hop over here and click on the yellow square for "Guardrails." The 5/2/10 message, "Flee Baby Flee," is the one you want. You can also download a podcast version. Have a listen and let me know your thoughts!

And have a fabulous weekend, all! Later...


Jill said...

Loving this series too. Great, practical stuff. Those are rules we have in place for our staff and they are so, so good, such that I forget that to the rest of the world this might not be the "norm". When we went out for my birthday we sat next to this "couple" who I later figured out must have been there just for work. I felt awkward just watching them and over hearing him asking her about her kids...just thinking that here she is, out with another man, while her family is at home? Yikes. What you (and Andy) said is one is above anything and we can't think we are. Sorry, long comment, but yes, I'm loving this series!

Susannah said...

Love that church, I live just down the road off Windermere Pkwy-in Sugar Hill. We need to get a GA girls blogger meet up!!! Glad the dogs are better!

Brian and Carole said...

Happy to hear the doggies are feeling better! I'm going to start listening to this series. I totally agree w/ these guardrails. No one is above the need for boundaries. No one! However, I do have a good handful of gay guy friends that Brian doesn't mind me hanging with. But I think that's an whole other discussion. lol :o)

~Kristen~ said...

Love this post and the message! So glad you shared!!