Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It

In the beginning of October, I unearthed while sorting and cleaning out stuff a book called Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It by Jerry B. Jenkins that I picked up from the giveaway pile at church when I was on team for a Christ Renews His Parish retreat in August. In the book the author, who is a novelist, biographer, Christian husband and father talks about planting and maintaining hedges. I definitely think many people would get a lot from this book. I learned quite a bit about things from the male perspective regarding the importance of “planting hedges” as he refers to it as a way of protecting your marriage.
Though he of course talks about how to plant hedges to stay far away from pornography and prostitution, most of what he writes about are the guidelines and hedges he’s found most helpful and necessary in male/female relationships between friends, co-workers, persons in ministry, etc., when either one person or both are married. He uses real life examples as well as Scriptural evidence for the points he makes and the suggested guidelines he gives. Some scenarios he’s taken from Christian counseling he and his wife have done for other friends and couples.     

I believe coming across this book, then unearthing it and reading it has provided some of God’s more concrete answers to my prayers that Kevin and I would come to have a more intimate relationship with God and with one another. It has also made a big difference in my discernment about whether or not it’s okay to be friends, siblings, spiritual companions with some of our close male friends.
Whenever praying about things before, I got that if God is first and Kevin comes before everyone and everything other than God, then all will be well. I’d been praying and asking for more specifics about healthy boundaries in my relationships.
I prefer to know the rules and guidelines so I’m at least a little less likely to screw up, upset people, and get hurt myself. This book included some concrete guidelines for male/female relationships outside of marriage along with in-depth explanations of why they’re important.
I read the book all the way through, first, then I read it aloud with Kevin and we completed the study guide included. Some of the topics or specifics related to them Kevin and I hadn’t really discussed before, so it proved to be a good jumping off point for discussions. Kevin really appreciated that I took the initiative to read this book and wanted to share it with him, discuss things openly, and come up with some hedges to help protect our marriage.
Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It is a wonderful, Scripture-based guide that married couples, ministers of any kind, and those who are single but have friends who are married can certainly benefit from reading.
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