1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
"Satan got Eve to doubt God by first getting her to doubt herself. 'Eve, my dear, perhaps you misunderstood. Because I can assure you, you won't die.'" — Secure in Heart, p. 151
Boundaries ...in marriage. Can there be? Your spouse is your best friend, he is your love, your life. You are one! But are there times you must have boundaries? Yes.
God is first in your life. He has to be first. When we put our spouse above God, we make them into idols. This can be a huge mistake that is easy to make. I've learned much about boundaries and their importance in the past few months.
For instance, what if a husband is viewing porn? He begins to spend a lot of time in his office...alone. Then one day he says, "I went to this men's conference and I feel I have to share with you..." Wow. Can you trust him to never do this again? OR do you need boundaries? Do you need to set enforcement in place to protect you, to protect the children, to protect your relationship and to hold him accountable?
What about a spouse who is abusive to you or to your children? Now this is a sticky one. Porn is covered in the Bible, you can divorce for infidelity, in fact! But abuse--is it really covered? Does a wife have the right to boundaries therein? Doesn't the Bible say to submit? Aren't you to protect your spouse?
Yes...and no! The Bible says first to love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength. So God comes first. His law must be followed, his footsteps are the ones in which we walk. Not our friends', not our spouses, not our parents!
Abusing another person in any way is not permitted in the Bible. Quite often spouses are told to LOVE one another, to protect, to lay down one's life! A lot of abuse is very sneaky:
There is the abuse of the one who withholds himself from you, his emotions, her kindness, his money, her affections.
There is the abuse of one who belittles --who constantly reminds you that you are less than them.
There is the abuse of not honoring you in front of your children.
There is the abuse of holding "I will leave" or "I am divorcing you if you don't..." over your head. This one is especially horrific when the spouse is a "Christian"...since marriage is to be forever. Not until it gets hard, forever.
There is physical abuse.
There is abuse of trust (affairs, talking to others about the spouse instead of seeking to go together to counsel, etc.)
Now there is abuse in nearly all marriages. We do abuse one another--we are human. We are imperfect. We say things in anger, we lash out...but consistent patterns that emerge are important to recognize. It is not submissive to allow someone to make you feel less than, or your children less than... It is abuse. It is not submissive to accept nothing while the other person takes. It is abuse. It is not submissive to give up your health, physical or mental for another person. It is abuse.
And you have a right to place a boundary for protection. God created you with a mind. He created you with instincts that there is right and wrong. When we love someone, it is easy to be swayed away from those instincts--it is easy to overlook things that are obvious to others. It is easy to allow ourselves to be abused.
I'm learning so much the past few weeks. I have met some amazing women. I think these woman are so smart, talented, beautiful in the body and the soul--but they often see themselves as worthless. One in particular, has become a good friend. She told me that at one point, she truly believed she couldn't cook because her partner constantly belittled her food, and talked about how he was an amazing chef. Yet, when the relationship was over, she realized, she was a GREAT cook, and a great mom...and she had allowed herself to be demeaned for nearly two years. She had come to believe what he said. It has taken another two years for her to believe in herself.
This woman is a professional, a solid member of her community, someone who you would say has all the hallmarks of success. Yet, she had placed no boundaries to protect her soul from an abuser. Her Father in heaven loved her, created her with talents with a good heart, with a wise mind. She had allowed the enemy to whisper in her ear "No, what God tells you is not real. You are not good at this, and you are terrible at that..." And she believed those whispers.
What about monetary domination? What about a spouse who takes his or her check and does for themselves only? Now, life isn't all about money, but when you look at the checkbook, are the scales somewhat balanced? Do you shower them with gifts, and do they take, but not return? Are you dating someone who never buys? Do they always come up a bit short? You have a right to protect yourself with boundaries.
Love, we are told is gentle. It suffers much...but love that is suffering to the point that you are abused is not okay. I wish I could take the hands of each of the lovely women in my group, and I wish I could have told them that suffering for Christ is one thing, suffering at the hands of one who denies the Lord through his actions and his abuse is not okay. It is not expected.
Do not let Satan whisper in your ear that you are useless, that you are not worthy, that you are less than. You are a daughter of God. He created you. He made you as you are, and He sees you as beautiful. He has given you instinct, talent, and his soft whispers. Listen carefully to the small still voice: "I love you, daughter. I love you. You are amazing because I made you so... "