If you’re a parent, then perhaps you’ve noticed a different reaction in your kids when you and your spouse have a united front. Whether the two of you are in the same room together when confronting your child’s actions or not, your child in one way or another needs to see that Mom and Dad agree and are united in their decisions. When the child doesn’t, then he or she plays the very familiar “I’ll just go ask the other parent” game.
Testing, testing, and more testing of the boundaries. It happens all throughout a kid’s life. But it’s not just kids that test our boundaries. There are other factors that occur, courtesy of Satan, that test the boundaries of a marriage.
Boundaries are always pressed on because of some outside stress. In your marriage, it doesn’t (usually) come from your marriage bonds because you and your spouse fell in love for a reason. It’s more because you had your “honeymoon” period, but then the realities of life set in and your seemingly perfect world (or boundaries) got pressed upon. And that’s when trouble can begin and Satan has his fun.
It’s so important, especially in today’s morally regressive world, that husbands and wives stay firm to their marital boundaries. It may take some trial and error, maybe lots of honest discussion to set them. But decisions have to be made in order to secure and fortify your marriage and, later when you have kids, your parenting. You can’t do this without a united front.
Paul writes in Romans 15:5,
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward each another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You may notice that Paul says the word “one” twice in just that one sentence. In high school English classes that would count for points off. But we know in the Bible that when a word is repeated often, especially in one sentence, it’s super important and we need to take notice. We need to be as one, which is to say, “united.”
Even in the ancient language of Latin is the commonly known phrase, “e pluribus unum,” which means “out of many, one.” When two people come together in marriage, they become one. They become united. And from there, decisions and actions must be made to reflect that unity.
In parenting, it’s both of you telling your teenage daughter that she may not go out with her friends to the movies until all her homework is done. Or your sixth grader is not allowed to have a cell phone because his grades are slipping too much. For the younger set, maybe your child can’t go to a birthday party because she’s been in time-out far too much that week. You know your kids will beg and plead and beg some more for you to change your mind. With a united front, you and your spouse will have an easier time enforcing the discipline and your child will be more accepting of the consequences of his or her actions.
How about other outside pressures? How about someone flirting with your spouse a bit too much? How about old habits or addictions like drugs or pornography? How about problems at work or finance trouble that end up causing new habits like drugs or pornography? Or maybe somehow you’ve decided that your weight just isn’t right and you decide to take drastic measures to control it?
Whatever the pressure, whatever the problem, if you can, make a decision with your spouse before you get married about what is acceptable and what is not. If you’re already married, have that talk today. Set those boundaries. Become united.
A few years after I married Dave, we had to face some of those decisions because of issues that carried over from before our marriage. We finally had to say, “No more!” It was in thanks to a book pastor and author Tony Evans wrote several years ago called “Guardrails” that talks all about this. In a super quick nutshell, Pastor Evans teaches us that we have to have our guardrails in place so you don’t run off the road of life. You have to stake out your boundaries, those lines that cannot be crossed under any circumstances, in order to have a happy and successful marriage. Makes sense to me.
Unity is not just a matter of defense or offense. It’s a bond made out of love. You united with your spouse because of love and it’s supposed to be an unbreakable bond. But that can only happen if you truly, honestly, and consciously make the decision to be and act as one. With a united front and firm boundaries, there’s nothing that your marriage can’t endure.
And just as a side bonus, your love will grow ever the more deeper because of mutual respect (which is Pillar #1) and trust. Colossian 3:14 says,
And over all of these good things put on love. Love holds all together perfectly as if they were one.
Did you catch that? “Love holds all together perfectly….” Which means that no matter what happens, whatever presses your boundaries or guardrails in your marriage, your love for each other can hold it all together perfectly if you are obedient to the Lord and trust in Him.
Even if you think you and your spouse are on the same page, take the time to renew your commitment to unity in your marriage and in your parenting. Recommit those guardrails and profess your promise to hold tight to them. You will be blessed for it.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for bretheren to dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1 NKJ