Save and strengthen your marriage, right now. This is something that will solidify your marriage, that will grow trust, and fulfill vows. It applies daily to marriage, and even before you're married, for long and short distance relationships...
Hedges are principles and practices of faithfulness in marriage. They help you honor your marriage vows. But they also apply to courtship relationships, the brief process of discovery if this is the one God wants you to marry. We strongly encourage young people to only invest in an exclusive relationship. (one on one time) with someone you feel God has joined you together with - that He may lead you to marry. And when He confirms it - marry them.
Only by walking together will you discover if this person is the one of God's choosing for you. If He confirms otherwise, the relationship is over. Investing further time and emotion in any exclusive relationship other than your husband or wife, we feel, is stealing from your spouse and theirs.
Courtship is the process of discovering if this is the person God has for you to marry. It's an exclusive relationship with one person equally committed to this end - discovering God's will to marry you. And they'll marry you as soon as God confirms it. Why would you invest one on one time with someone unwilling to seek God together with you on His will and timing for marriage? If they're not ready for this journey - Don't give your one on one attention and affection to someone you won't marry. That part of you - isn't for them, it's for your husband or wife.
The courtship process won't take an extended period of time, it's a one on one investment in another person whom you are willing to marry as soon as God confirms it. It's living life together, sharing daily life together. It's not living together, but living life together - you're honoring God's physical boundaries that reserve sexual intimacy for marriage alone, the physical and spiritual union of two becoming one - that God designed for marraige. Your faithfulness to God now in this area, will let them know, you'll be faithful then. Courtship is a commitment to share life - in seeking God together for His will to confirm His timing for marriage. And you'll do it as soon as God says this is the one.
For the spouse God created for you, and you for them... God calls you together in His timing not yours because you are better together, than you are apart. He starts this relationship in His perfect time so you can reflect to the world that God’s way of marriage works!
Unless you meet someone as a child, God typically calls two people to walk together from this day forward for the rest of their lives (unless He confirms otherwise). If you were apart (living in different locations - different cities) when God drew your hearts together, eventually in his perfect timing he will bring you to the same location. Don’t rush it, let him lead.
But if God called you together when you were in the same location – He will very rarely lead you apart, unless your calling requires it (military, or educationally). If so, God will confirm it in both of you, bringing you to unity.
Be careful, if one of you wants to be apart to pursue other “life experiences,” or their own goals and dreams before they get married, be sure that God even wants you to walk together. Someone who chooses avoidable separation is very likelynot the person God has for you. The one God has for you will never want to spend one day of life apart, unless God requires it. They will always want to live life together from this moment forward. They will always give up other dreams, desires and relationships - to put you as their number one priority, second only to God - from the time God brings you together until death do you part. So before you invest in a long distance relationship: Is God requiring us to be geographically distant for a season? If God has called you together, He wants to grow you together in Him. If God is requiring separate locations for a season, and bringing you to unity... God’s plan is to build your relationship EVEN STRONGER during this season. With God all things are possible.
The only reason long distance relationships fail – is lack of priority.
LOVE has two Parts - The “In Love” Feeling, and the Conscious Choice to Love. The "In Love Feeling" is sparked by sight. Your glances meet across the room, and your heart leaps. But what if they are far away? This greatest danger of “out of sight, out of mind” is not God’s plan for you. In HIS PLAN the distance can actually draw you closer and stronger! CHOOSE to LOVE.
How To Grow Your Love - Long Distance (and then we'll talk about hedges) Ways to Grow Together - even when you're apart. Note: These principles apply equally - if you live in the same city.
#1 Daily Call Make this a never-miss commitment. Do PiVAT before dinner - to get God's plan for you for tomorrow. And share with your spouse or spouse to be - what God just told you!
Have a Daily Call with the love of your life. You can do it right after your PiVAT time with God before dinner, or later that evening as your day ends. Evening is probably best, In the morning before work is typically for your Daily Call with your PiVAT Partner, a committed God-obeyer, of the same sex. That's the iron sharpening iron that God commanded in Hebrews 3:13 - Exhort one other daily. This technically does not apply to your spouse, as God considers you one. Two by Two is a Daily Call with the same sex - to grow in maturity, wisdom and faithfulness to God and your spouse. But if you are married, or in a relationship pursuing God's will for marriage, they should at least hear what you share with your Daily Call Partner. Sharing a Daily Call, is how you share life together. (What you need most from God, His number 1 priority for your day, when He told you to do it, and your Testimony of what God did and revealed yesterday. And let the Holy Spirit pray through you for each other - this helps you mature as the Number #2 Counselor in each other's life. The Holy Spirit is number one. Without this – it will be hard to love one another deeply as God has called you to, only sporadically would you get to the most important things that God has for them tomorrow.
Your Daily Call with each other will grow your friendship and your love deeply. Your Daily Call helps you share life. Without it – you live separate lives. Let God bring a unity where He commands a blessing! Become each other's best friend. Let the Holy Spirit lead your prayer for each other - regarding the most important things! His Plan and His Word for them.
A Daily PiVAT Call will help you live life together. Without it, mere acquaintances could take the place of the one God has called you to love. This should never be!
#2 PRISM, & Prayer Text
Start each day in PRISM – (5 Things You Can Do In God’s Word Every Day). It will mature you in Christ, and God will reveal how to love each other better. (This doesn’t have to take an hour, extend it thru the day)
Pray for each other during the day! See Relationship Topics – Prayer, How To Pray For Someone You Love, Scriptural Prayers for Someone You Love, PiVAT Prayer List. Ask God to pray through you, to help you pray for them - the specific things they need, practically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Daily Text – As soon as you are done with your PRISM this morning, and praying for them, consider sending the love of your life - a prayer text. God will fill each one with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, a Word of knowledge, a word of encouragement. Doesn't have to be long... whatever God revealed to you in PRISM, pray it over them too! They will know you are thinking about them, and praying for them. This time commitment will demonstrate love. If you love him, if you love her, you will invest the time.
#3 Bullet Prayer
Every Time you Change Activities (class to class, appointment to appointment etc.) Take 15 Seconds to pray for him, or pray for her! You don't need to call them on the phone for this one, your break times differ because your schedules and commitments differ. Just pray for them on your own. These bullet prayers will constantly keep your love a priority – and will be used powerfully by God. Ask the Holy Spirit to Help you. He will pray through you what they need. Your love will grow.
#4 Demonstrate Hedges
Demonstrate your commitment to them alone. Verbalize it, "Honey, I’m guarding my eyes today they are for you only. “So and so asked for a date but I told him I was already taken,” “So and so was leaning over in front of me, but I turned the other way.” This will build bonds of trust that are unshakeable; giving the devil zero foothold to destroy your marriage. Demonstrating Hedges proves to your spouse or potential spouse to be - that they are absolutelythe most important person in your life!
#5 Believe The Best
Other than your Daily Call - additional calls to talk longer with each other could be shortened due to commitments or interruptions, or "they're unavailable when you expected." MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP YOUR PRIORITY – so you eliminate every opportunity for jealousy or doubt to creep in. But also, refuse to take offense if something conflicts. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
So, Five Ways to Grow Your Love Long Distance - Daily Call, PRISM & Prayer Text, Bullet Prayers, Hedges, and Believe the Best.
So lets talk about hedges
Hedges are a brutal uncompromising faithfulness to your marriage vows, to protect your marriage going above and beyond what is necessary in order to leave no foothold for the devil to destroy God’s plan for you.
Advance Warning: Not everyone will agree with these steps to protect your marriage. Some will call them extreme, or old fashioned, or unnecessary. You'll have to decide for yourself. How important are your vows? What are you willing to do - to forsake all others to build unshakeable trust and confidence in your spouse that you will be faithful to them all the days of your life.
Hedges are something that applies if you are in a long distance relationship, or a short distance relationship; whether you're married already, or soon to be married, or considering marriage with someone at God's direction.
So what are Hedges that protect your marriage and honor your vows?
#1 Only Develop Friendships With The Same Sex - not the opposite sex.
Your ministry will never be with the opposite sex. When you are married, you will not maintain contact with opposite-sex friends. Your spouse will not appreciate it. You wouldn't either... You will have no individual relationships with the opposite sex, only through their spouse and them. Actively developing personal relationships with the opposite sex, is a practice that doesn't lead to faithfulness in marriage, it sends the wrong signals, inviting deeper connection that doesn't support marriage vows, and is really a waste of time.
Conversations with the opposite sex of a personal nature, (dreams, fears, joys, sorrows) open doors to deeper attachment.
Do not go past acquaintance conversation with anyone of the opposite sex. Honor your marriage vows before and after you take them. What you do now, you will do then. Side Note: Avoid all physical touch & closeness with the opposite sex. Innocent hugs are not innocent – not to them they're not... reserve your body only for your spouse, or spouse-to-be... not someone else’s.
#2 Guard Your Eyes
Other than the normal greeting, avoid every extended eye contact with someone of the opposite sex. Eyes are the window to the soul. Extending a glance no matter how briefly, is intimate and communicates an invitation for further connection. Squelch any attempt to flirt with you - with complete disinterest. You owe all meaningful glances to your spouse or spouse-to-be, alone. What you do now, you’ll do then.
Many restaurants used to train the “waitress rule.” If a female waitress approaches a table of a couple, she makes first eye contact and 90% of ongoing eye contact with the female, glancing at the male only to acknowledge him, but focusing her attention on the girl. Otherwise the young lady might get the feeling that she is hitting on her husband, or boyfriend. That girl will make sure they never come back to that restaurant. This is not good for business. Waiters the same way, focus on the man, merely acknowledge the female, or not only might you lose customers, you might get your lights punched out. Guard your eyes, save meaningful glances for your spouse (or spouse-to-be) alone.
#3 Set Before Your Eyes No Unclean Thing
Videos, YouTube clips, news articles, movies, commercials, every sensual or sexually charged content. Do Not Look At It. Do not re-send it. Refuse to even click the link! Those who entertain the lusts of the world cannot receive God’s blessing, they are out of position. Someone once said, “God cannot bless un-blessable behavior." Viewing these worldly enticements is not being faithful to your spouse, but it is even more, not being faithful to God. Let your spouse (or spouse-to-be) know that you refused to watch or look at something, or click something today – because you are faithful to God and to them. Let them know that they are your one and only desire.
#4 Keep Your Eyes Straight Ahead
Job 1:1 - In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." Later, Job reveals a secret to his faithfulness...
Job 31:1 - I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a woman.” This was Job’s practice.
Proverbs 4:25 - Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Godly men and women, intentionally do not take notice of the physical attractiveness of the opposite sex (other than their spouse, or spouse to be). They are brutally faithful in keeping their eyes straight ahead.
This is exactly the opposite of the world which indulges in “eye candy.” Refusing to lookat, or catch the eye of anyone other than your spouse is God’s Way of guarding your heart, and your marriage. Without 100% commitment to purity of the eyes, the devil will get a foothold.
Every marital affair in all of human history began with a first glance; allowing yourself to notice the attractiveness of, or engaging in personal conversation with someone other than your spouse, or spouse-to-be.
Do Not Do It! Keep your Eyes Straight Ahead – Refuse to ‘notice’ the attractiveness of the opposite sex. This is the Fear of The Lord. Love God, hate evil. Love your wife, Love your Husband enough - to save your eyes for them only.
#5 Eliminate Time With Friends Who Hunt
Any friends who are ‘on the hunt’ sabotage and destroy your faithfulness to your spouse (or future spouse) and your faithfulness to God.
Do not spend time with them. You may not be able to hang with the guys anymore because they constantly are gawking at women. They always want your opinion, “Would you hit that?” These are the things that consume the mind of the wicked, the worldly, but should never even enter the mind of a man of God.
For girls, “What do you think of that guy? Do you think he’s cute? Entertaining possibilities even for your friends, noticing the attractiveness of other males will sow seeds of discontent into your mind and spirit. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence – it’s dead. The devil is deceptive, he enslaves many. Those friends will constantly flirt with the boys, and the boys will come, but they will hit on you. No man or woman of God immerses themselves in this environment – you cannot be unaffected; you are stealing from your spouse or future spouse the faithfulness of mind and heart that belongs to them alone.
You cannot spend time with friends who are focused on the opposite sex… you will become like them. God cannot bless a ”wayward” wife, or a husband who” strays from his home.” It will hinder your prayers, it will steal the intimacy God has for your marriage. Your choices are building lifelong habits, either of faithfulness and purity (which God will bless more than you can imagine), or of unfaithfulness and betrayal – unchecked - they will eventually lead you to forsake the vow to the wife or husband of your youth. Refuse to spend any time with hunters whether you're married yet or not. For your marriage, you will either choose a blessing, or a curse. The choice is yours.
#6 Are Your Feet In The Right Place?
If your feet are in the right place, your hands never get dirty. Avoid engaging groups of the opposite sex. Do you want the attention of the opposite sex? That's not what a faithful husband or wife desires. It is dishonoring to God and to your spouse or spouse-to-be. The best way to avoid individuals, opposite sex groups and inappropriate engagements with the opposite sex is move your feet. Joseph avoided even being in the same room with Potiphar’s wife. When trapped – he ran! Good counsel.
#7 Share Hedges Success - Look For Opportunities
"Hedges" is not a “Philosophy that you concur with.” Hedges are a Daily Demonstration of Faithfulness. Shareevery conscious choice you make to be faithful to him, or her – at every occurrence, every opportunity for compromise. Let them know what you did to honor hedges.
Whether you're in a long distance relationship, or already married, or courting someone, pursuing God together to discover if this is the one God has for you to marry... let them know that they are the only one your heart, mind and body desires. It will build unshakable trust in each other and great joy, rather than perpetual concern of unfaithfulness – the devil’s trick to erode and destroy a marriage. What you do now, you will do then.
#8 Never Engage In Conversation With The Opposite Sex Of A Personal Or Intimate Nature
If you are in a relationship - these kinds of conversations are for them alone. This means sharing any personal feelings (dreams, fears, joys, sorrows), daily struggles, hopes, future plans, etc. Opening a window for another person to meet your emotional needs is stealing from your spouse, or spouse-to-be, it is not forsaking all others. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t walked down the aisle yet, it is not practicing faithfulness. These conversations belong to the love of your life alone. What you do now, you will do then. If you are married, this is the least you owe to your spouse. To forsake all others - means reserving personal intimate conversations for them only - not every girl that thinks you're cute and charming, or every guy that is trying to make you feel beautiful, who is really trying to hit on you.
#9 Never Be Alone In A Room, Car, Restaurant, or Enclosed Area With Anyone Of The Opposite Sex.
This not only signals your faithfulness to your spouse, or spouse to be - it eliminates opportunity for inappropriate conversations or contact, and avoids ANY appearance of evil. Many will say this is over-reacting. But would you appreciate if your husband or wife (or potential spouse) set the bar this high? Absolutely!
They are saying, “I love you enough to protect our marriage - even before we get married. Even if our relationship is long distance, or in the same location. What you do now, you will do then.
#10 Do Not Intentionally Approach Or Engage A Group Of The Opposite Sex. Intentionally Avoid Them.
If they are a group of women, they are likely “guy-watching.” If they are a group of guys, they are checking out women. Putting yourself as an object of their attention is not being faithful to your spouse or future spouse. Even your friendliness or kindness will be misunderstood as availability, or interest in further connection.
If you need the attention or affirmation of the opposite sex you are stealing from your spouse what belongs to them alone – the privilege of affirming in you – your attractiveness and sexual desirability. This not only applies to you and your spouse, or spouse to be, but also whoever you are pursuing exclusive relationship with - that God may lead to marriage. This privilege belongs only to your spouse or spouse-to-be - not gawking boys, or swooning girls.
#11 Never Go To Lunch With Someone Of The Opposite Sex Without A Third Person Even then only for unavoidable business need, never for social interaction.
That’s ridiculous! How can you avoid that? Easy, ask someone to join you. Individual lunch meetings with the opposite sex focuses your entire attention on someone other than your spouse or spouse to be. That is not forsaking all others. 99% of the time, it is avoidable – if that is your commitment. If it isn’t, you will always have ‘unavoidable occasion’ to have lunch with someone of the opposite sex. Attraction for women, is often more relationship based rather than sight based. For that reason, women, why put yourself in that position? You can become attracted to another man. It’s not being faithful to your husband or husband to be. Honor them, refuse to be alone with the opposite sex. For men, why allow for the possibility of another woman to begin to feel deeper affection or interest in you – through time alone with them. Not only is this not being faithful to your wife, you are defrauding the other woman by presenting something you are not going to fulfill. This is not Godly. Why would you ever focus your attention on someone other than your wife or wife to be. No affair started intentionally, it just happens. For men and women - you can’t help who you are attracted to – so you better eliminate the possibility for attraction to ignite. This is being faithful to your husband, and being faithful to your wife. The prudent see danger and avoid it. But fools keep going and suffer. Set this standard, or you will find it is too late. This is how the devil has destroyed many marriages. Do not give the devil a foothold. Save lunch dates for your spouse alone.
#12 Use The Language Of Commitment
"No thanks, I’m in a relationship"
Or use even stronger unequivocal language of lifelong commitment. "I’m glad you texted me… but (whatever they suggested) I reserve only for… Johnny or Susie – the name of your spouse/or spouse to be - and I pray God sends you someday someone as faithful to you as I am to (Johnny, or Susie).” Will something that strong be necessary, probably not, but if necessary are you willing to use it? Depends on how committed you are to your marriage.
#13 Infuse Their Name
Every recurring acquaintance (male or female) should knowyou’re in a relationship. It should be obvious. April mentions my name frequently. An attractive former boss, referred to “my Sweetie” or “my Honey” constantly - sending an unmistakable message in the predominantly male work environment that she was not available and not interested. This one small habit alone, could protect you from the devil’s plan for your divorce.
#14 Standing Together
Sometimes you can even be together in the same location in a social setting, and you will get subtle approaches from someone of the opposite sex – probing your commitment to the person you are with - in hopes that you will entertain unfaithfulness in glance, thought, word, or physical contact.
Use your Body Language to Shut Them Down. Turn your body toward your spouse, look at them, put your arm around her, put your hand on his arm. Send unequivocal non-verbal signals. Make your non-verbal communication unmistakeable: “My heart, eyes, mind, body and life are exclusively for my spouse(or spouse-to-be) not anyone else. Nor will I ever be anything but faithful to my spouse alone.” If you do this before you are married, you will also do it after. If you do not do it now, neither will you then.
#15 Finally, If You Ever Choose To Intentionally Engage The Opposite Sex... (by proximity, glance, physical touch, or word), The least you owe each other is to call first, and tell the truth: “I don't really love you; I lied. I’m not going to marry you, or I know I took a vow, but I prefer the sexual interest and advances of others - over being faithful to you." You might as well let them know... Why lie about it?
Dear man or woman of God. Whether God has you in a long or short distance relationship – whether you are married, or considering marriage – even if you don’t know for sure who the person is that God has created specifically for you and you for them… Practice Hedges! Honor your spouse or your future spouse – be faithful to them today! You will never regret it. They will love you for it. It's loving them now, it's being faithful to them now. It's honoring your marriage vow, right now. What you do now, you'll do then.
A PRISM Topic: is God’s Word on a single subject. A Relationship Topic is a perspective from God's Word on relationships. A PRISM Topic Packet is a grouping of PRISM or Relationship Topics of similar subjects... part of the M: Meditate on theWord of PRISM – (5 Things You Can Do Daily in God’s Word) to transform the way you think. Ask God what PRISM Topic or Relationship Topic He wants you to meditate on today.Take your PRISM Topic, Relationship Topic or Packet with you! Come back to them multiple times a day! “It is to be with him, and he is to meditate on it day and night, so that he may learn to fear the LORD…” - Deuteronomy 17:19 PRISM Topics - RELATIONSHIP Topics - PRISM Topic Packets