Boundaries To Protect Your Marriage


While away last week ThePreachersWord missed the bomb shell news about Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.

According to a March 28 Washington Post article by Ashley Parker Mike Pence “never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

While that news would hardly seem to be a startling revelation to most Christians, this one line, in a largely complimentary article about Mrs. Pence has liberals and the social media in an uproar.

As a result, the Pences have been mocked for their values, ridiculed for their self imposed boundaries and generally derided for their Christian faith. The Vice President has been labeled as sexist, misogynistic and hypocritical.

Pence’s practice has been called “The Billy Graham Rule.” Apparently, early in his ministry, Graham asked his closest friends what were the greatest problems that could negatively impact his ministry. The second item on the list, after money, was sexual immorality. “We all knew of evangelists who had fallen into immorality while separated from their families by travel,” Graham wrote in his biography, “Just As I Am.” ” … From that day on, I did not travel, meet or eat alone with a woman other than my wife.”

It sounds like pretty solid advice.

Ironically, we understand the importance of safe guards in almost every area of life. There are guard rails on highways to keep us from driving off a mountain cliff. Child proof caps on bottles of medicine. And filters on computers to limit access to pornography. In fact, the list is endless of the various restrictions, some imposed by law, to protect the weak and vulnerable, as well as all citizens.

Jesus taught that marriage is a sacred relationship, ordained by God in the very beginning (Matt 19:4-8). It is not surprising we have admonitions to sexual purity and warnings against immorality.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb 13:4).

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5)

“Flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:19)

In the book, Letters To Young Preachers, evangelist David Banning offers this advise. “Because I can succumb to temptation I need to protect myself by putting up some ‘fences.’ Put simply, if you don’t want to be involved in immorality, don’t put yourself in situations that make it possible.”

This counsel is Biblical. The wise man warned against flirting with women that could lead to the sin of adultery. (Prov. 4:17-27; 5:14-23). Instead focus on your wife and “be enraptured with her love.”

Banning offered 5 “fences” that would safe guard young men in their relationships with women.

(1) Don’t be alone with other women.

Even something as innocent and worthy as Bible study, could ultimately lead to an improper relationship.

(2) Avoid becoming  a marriage counselor.

Private counsel with women in troubled marriages is a huge red flag.

(3) Be careful about working relationships with other women.

Don’t spends hours alone with another woman. Even if it is dealing with a spiritual project.

(4) Do not stay in homes where you will be alone with another woman.

It’s almost amazing that needs to be said.

(5) Use common sense with the internet.

Email, facebook, twitter, and other social media have the potential for forming emotional relationships that may lead to physical ones. Beware.

These “fences” are not just good for young preachers, but for all who are seeking holiness and purity.

The liberal left not withstanding, Mike and Karen Pence are to be admired for their commitment to each other, their desire to be faithful, and for their willingness to follow some common sense safeguards.

“Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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