My bride and I have gotten into a consistent pattern of going for our daily three mile walk together. I cannot express how meaningful this has been for my present spiritual journey. In our transition to senior apartment living as well as finding a new church home, we have had to go about building new relationships.
On one of recent walk we discussed “building fences.” It’s really another way of talking about boundaries. In moving to a new community and establishing new relationships, we have had to talk intently about appropriate boundaries in our relationship with others. As committed followers of Jesus we want to be a light in our relationships, not be a stumbling block. “What is important is faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6 NLT)
It takes real discernment in knowing how to walk out what Paul tells us is the essence of our faith in relationships, especially those closest to us. Jesus warns us – “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove” (Matt. 10:16 – Message). Paul tells us, “Love must be sincere” (Rom. 12:9). But we are also instructed, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18).
I think we can all agree that establishing relationships is like walking in relational “minefields” or not knowing when we will be “broadsided.” Men I am learning from my wife, of her appreciation for my talking the lead in dealing with minefields and ambushes in relationships. In other words, as husband, I am called upon to build the fence or boundary.
Personally, I do not like talking the responsibility for set the boundaries. It means that I have to take the heat and getting involved in the messiness of relationships. My wife appreciates when we candidly talk through our mutual experiences with others. After coming to a clear agreement as to how to handle a relationship, some one has to “pull the trigger.” Men, don’t expect you wife to do the difficult work of keeping proper boundaries. This is our job.
I think this part of what Peter means when he exhorts husbands – “In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with the intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman. Show her honor and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective” ( I Pet. 3:7-8 Amp.).
I am showing gentleness and being tactful when I listen to my wife’s emotional needs in relationships, taking into consideration how we doth perceive others and then going about protecting and keeping my wife secure in our relationships Men, your wife needs to know that you are willing to take “the heat” by building the proper fence around your relationships