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Planting Hedges in Marriage (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Cross Radio
June 20, 2022 4:00 am

Planting Hedges in Marriage (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 20, 2022 4:00 am

Pop culture sometimes paints an idealized picture of marriage that can foster unrealistic expectations. But marriage needn’t be perfect! Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg explains why a dose of skepticism is essential to marital faithfulness.



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Views or novel can sometimes paint an idealistic picture of Mary and that can foster unrealistic expectations today on Truth for Life. Alastair beg explains why perfection in marriage isn't possible. That will hear from Alastair today why a healthy dose of skepticism is essential if we want to remain faithful and avoid marital collapse going to address with you. The issue of marriage and on.

I'm not sure all that I'm going to say concerning it. I haven't drafted it out but I'm going to address it with you. Now for those of you who are single and attempted to think that this is something that is irrelevant to you and I hope you will understand that it isn't all of us are involved in marriage in some way or another, either through our friends are because we have been married because we are a product of a marriage because one day we hope to be married and at tonight and when to take a different tack and before I turned to let me just delete is an award of prayer God our father, we thank you that you ordered all of our steps and even today and tonight is known to you and so we pray that you will take the truths of your word and write them in our hearts as we see so much around is that is fractured and broken disintegrating and decaying.

The evidence of manifold chaos. We pray that amongst other things, you will take a couples and families within our church family here and make us as lights in a dark place for Jesus sake. We ask it on I want to begin by reading to your little scenario. So this is that this is a story you can just sit back and relax for life stories Jack and Kathy were the ideal couple.

At least that is what everyone thought they had been friends since childhood. Their families vacation together. They were like brother and sister in high school and in college. They realize that their feelings for each other ran so deep that it was unbearable for either of them to think of spending the rest of their life. Absent the companionship of the other.

So when they married. No one was surprised and everyone seemed delighted, not least of all Jack and Kathy, the first 20 years of marriage were standard fair to healthy children, a boy and a girl they more than cope with the challenges of school and were successful in achieving a place in the college of their choice. Each summer was spent at their cottage on the lake. Kathy and the kids would go up as soon as school was out and Jack would join them at the weekends and then for three weeks in August when you think about offering Carla's room to the college student who will be in charge of the lifeguard program at the pool.

Kathy asked Jack on the phone. After all, she will be gone most of the summer, and although Danny will be away part of the time soccer can he will still be around enough to prevent Rick being stuck on his own with me your eyes.

In August Jack was leaving for the office is mine somewhere else entirely.

He answered without really thinking, sure, let's help the young man out there can be any harm in it. By the time Jack reached the cottage that next weekend Rick, the lifeguard was already installed. The firmness of his handshake, combined with the way he looked Jack in the eye made a good impression immediately.

Jack later recalled how, in that first encounter. He wondered if this young man would be interested in a job in Salem. He seemed to have a winning way and was just the kind of fellow that he was constantly on the lookout for. To add to his organization. His son Danny also got on well with Rick and they gone sailing together many evenings when the pool had closed the speed with which Rick could pool our place together was impressive if he had a plan.

He went for it. It was actually Danny who was first to get that strange unsettling feeling in his gut. Having gone to bed around 1130.

He awakened around 1 AM as he headed for the bathroom bemoaning the amount of beets and Diet Coke. He and Rick and put away.

He had voices out on the porch causing he picked up snippets of conversation through the screen door. I haven't always felt that way.

There used to be a lot more excitement. It was his mother's voice and the responding when did things begin to change came of course from Rick. Was this a midnight feast. Danny asked, trying to disguise a sense of internal client with joviality 107 month Rick and I just started talking about everything. We must wrap it up. Although I must say or not it is good a conversation as this for some time. When Danny grabbed his usual combination frosted mini weeds and Cheerios the following morning, Rick was already in the pool probably was nothing he thought to himself as he looked at his mother, 45, and wearing well very well. In fact, his college buddies frequently told him that his mom was caught and he wondered how his portly, balding dad had managed. He didn't always look like that then he would tell them you just kinda let things go. Kathy, on the other hand, blessed with the genes of refinish forebears seem to be improving with age for daily routine of running with a golden retriever and her willingness to be disciplined with the abdomen. Iser made it possible for her to face shape magazine at the grocery check out without any feelings of inadequacy. When Jack reached the cottage on the following Friday evening, he was greeted by a sleepy stare from Strachan.

The faithful retriever and he was in the walk-in closet, trying in vain to fasten the button on his favorite pair of denim shorts that drive is far too often shrinks everything he thought five more business lunches could have nothing to do with it. Surely hello, Kathy's voice was quickly followed by her face around the door and a kiss on the cheek.

How was the traffic she asked you like some spaghetti did your father reach you in the office. As Jack began to answer the questions one by one he thought there was a kind of flesh about Kathy's face and neck.

He knew that she had been running because the dog was in his usual spot in front of the wicker rocker spent helping Rick tighter the pool.

She volunteered he works so hard in those lounge chairs are such a hassle to wife often straightened. Nobody seems to have the care they just walk away and leave them to. That's what he's paid for ground Jack surprising even himself by the tone of his response. He couldn't put his finger in any one thing, but by the time he left on Sunday evening. He was sure that there was something weird going on with his childhood sweetheart is carpet all mistake itself for many plenty of time to think and wonder and even worry was this a physical change in Kathy he should probably check with her sister. The two of them talked all the time and Joan would be able to point them in the right direction.

As he pulled into the driveway.

He was thinking that maybe he should make more use of their health club membership. Maybe even by those in need of running shoes that Danny had been pushing we take a call from Henry.

His secretary inquired interrupting the sales team meeting at our peril. Jack excused himself wondering why his longtime friend would be wanting them on a Monday morning, especially since they'd spent part of the previous day together. They were usually together as couples on Sunday afternoons. Their cottage is gazed at one another across the half a mile of mirror Lake Henry good morning Jack and food is only four more days and will be back on the boat.

What can I do for you. You free for lunch. The cryptic response to jack off guard when today Henry said, say 1130 at Finley's. See you there Jack to just a moment before returning to the meeting. Sure hope that everything is okay with Henry's company there been rumors of an attempt to move them on and wake me it make way for more aggressive young man something is eating in the I haven't heard that tone since his daughter and being forced to drop out of college and stay with Anand before putting the baby up for adoption can imagine there's a problem between he and Helen Hunt after 20 years of being an example to Kathy and himself.

He was in his usual booth just before 1130 and had already decided on the pita pocket. In keeping with the resolve of the previous evening when Henry arrived, Maggie or Ruben please and an iced tea, Henry leaned forward in his seat and fixed his gaze on his dear friend and dropped the ball. Jack I do not know how to approach this all just come straight out and say Helen and I have strong reason to believe that Kathy and the summer lifeguarding developing a relationship that is destructive and wrong. He then went into details which made the pita pocket taste more like an oven glove than usual and ripped a gaping hole in Jack's emotions which he could neither cover or control.

His shoulders heaved under the weight of the news and somewhere in the distance. He could hear Henry assuring him that he and Helen would do everything they could. Now I made that one up but I found the story again and again and again. I sat with couples who look at one another furtively across the table and once they make their opening statement. The scenario can be written from that point on, without any further elaboration on their part. They often use phraseology like we never thought it would happen to us. How can God allow such things probably were never right for each other. Why didn't someone say or do something on the list goes on and on. And sadly, I have to tell you that in the majority of cases the couples do not make it. They failed to put in the necessary effort to climb the mountain of forgiveness and restoration in the choose instead to settle down in the plan along with the rest of the plane is increasingly full of tense. So the question is, and is a pressing question.

How then are we to avoid becoming simply another statistic in the growing statistical average in relationship to these things. How my says the young man in the full flush of zealous excitement for a young girl of his choice to ensure that I will not be that man that my wife will not do that that I will not do that. What are we supposed to do when I was in Grand Rapids earlier in the summer. In the center of a newspaper which had a flood of notices for the church services which was the reason for my purchasing it. I found a very interesting thing. There was a complete page of announcements of young couples engagements and there were also there was also another page that featured couples who have been most recently married but then there were two pages, which outweighed the previous number of photographs and these two pages had double photographs on was a photograph of an elderly looking couple. And then of a younger couple right next to it in a smaller picture. This was to complete pages of couples in the Grand Rapids area who were celebrating their 50th anniversary and then we picture beside the big picture was the picture that had been on the previous pages.

50 years ago in Grand Rapids or somewhere else on the day when they had been married to one another and start my lace. I took annihilated out of the kitchen table where I was by myself working on this project. I just kept it there for the whole day and I kept going back and looking at it and picking out names James and Lillian Richard and Betty, Dale and Gwen and saying to myself, how did they do this. What did they do didn't begin with the myth of perfection, as many do and how long did it take them to dispense with the mythology, presumably fairly quickly. For those who live with the myth of perfection for any prolonged period of time will make themselves and their partners increasingly uncomfortable, disgruntled and unhappy. They surely discovered somewhere along the journey that if they were going to make it through the challenges and privileges of marriage. If they run a love each other through all of their lives, till death do part then we want to settle down and pay attention to the basics, just the basics, just the basics simultaneously.

I was reading a golf book I read in the latest biography of Hogan, probably the consummate Stryker of a golf ball. Certainly the man who introduced to the world. Practice add a degree that no one had ever seen before and possibly has never seen since Hogan was committed to trying to hit the ball perfectly on every occasion that he addressed it and it's a fascinating book in the course of his pilgrimage to find this quote in 1946 is holding my attitude suddenly changed. I would guess what lay behind my new confidence was this I had stopped trying to do a great many things perfectly because he did become clear in my mind that this ambitious over thoroughness was neither possible or advisable not even necessary. All that is really required to play good golf is to execute properly a relatively small number of true fundamental movements. All I said I should write that down, not simply because of the help that it is in relationship to the golf swing, but because it fits perfectly. My consideration of this matter of marriage. The quest for perfection is neither possible or advisable or even necessary, but what it is going to take all that is really required to ensure a good marriage is to execute properly a relatively small number of true fundamental movements and yet still men and women change from pillar to post in search of mythological Hollywood engendered perfectionism and some marriage is a founder not because people have been unwilling to do the essentials well but because they have had absolutely no interest in doing the essentials well when marriage is disintegrated is not usually as a result of some bizarre event which appears out of the blue, but it is a result of a slow lead that has gone on undetected for a period of time and it is neither some kind of superficial optimism or debilitating pessimism that are to permeate our thinking in relationship to this but if were going to be realistic, then it includes a healthy dose of skepticism. And this may seem strange to you but I've been thinking a lot about this and I think skepticism is a large part of a good marriage skepticism doesn't sound right is not sort of culturally and politically correct in its sound. I'll admit that were not supposed to be skeptical. We don't think were supposed to be loving and trusting and blowing and going and all those positive words. But no, I think skepticism is a really good word and I'll tell you why because we live in a fallen world and because we live in the reality of Romans seven the good we want to do. We don't do and the bad.

We don't want to do we do therefore skepticism is absolutely essential for spiritual wholeness and if it is essential for spiritual wholeness that it is essential for biblical faithfulness within the realm of married C. Skepticism starts with an examination of our own motives. The man might ask himself just why it is that he so concerned to be calling his secretary at such a late hour on a Friday evening to be skeptical of that your ask yourself the question of my emotionally attached, the parent might not take at face value the bright faced assertions of the young man who is taking their daughter on a date. After all, is a raging sea of hormones and the need to be skeptical, less the doctor would be swept away on the tiny invite is the height of naivety and foolishness to assume that we can enter high-risk areas without facing the potential for failure Gordon McDonald writing on this in his book rebuilding your broken world quotes Oswald Chambers always beware of a friendship or of a religion or of a personal estimate of things that does not reconcile itself to the fact of sin. That is the way all the disasters in human friendships and inhuman labs begin and where the compromises start. Jesus never trusted human nature.

He was never cynical. He trusted absolutely what he could do for human nature but he recognized that with which he was dealing soberly realistic in preventing that kind of demise that were alluding to this evening. Then we need to make sure that we put necessary boundaries in place and I want to give to you at one or two hedges if you like England is the land of hedges. If you've driven in England.

That's all you know that her huge big hedges everywhere. It's downright scary, especially in the home counties in Buckinghamshire and Surrey and all around their you meet these cars going at breakneck speeds all around the lanes and you can see around the corner. Because of the hedges. Some of the hedges are beautifully fashioned with care, others are wild there haphazard. Apparently, in each case there usually planted as a line of demarcation between farmers fields or as a means of protection from the elements for the things that are within their precinct and the care which the average Englishman takes of his hedgerow is actually an indication of the importance of it for him, not simply as a thing of beauty, but also as a boundary or you say well what kind of hedges are you thinking although very simple things.

Let me give you just one or two let's call the first heads the hedge of carefulness, carefulness is nothing dramatic about that. Is there no one deliberately so the principle is that which is found in Paul's writings to the Corinthians. Let the man or the woman who feel sure of his standing to be careful that he doesn't fall tomorrow and his men were supposed to live in paralyzing fear we wouldn't be well served by living every day imagining all the dreadful things that might happen to us. The fight of the matter is if we're going to live insanity we have to proceed leaving that the best will be the case. And yet at the same time making constant provision for possible failure when you and I tonight think about our children heading down the road of life. When we think of them getting their drivers license and going down the street and when we try and affirm for them the importance of the stop signs and becoming a member of the gambler and not trying to jump the red and sustain it beyond the green. We teach them. All these things because we want them to come home in the evening and in the same way as we think of them going into marriage. We want to teach them about the green lights, stop signs, the cautions and we want to tell them about the importance of hedges protected boundaries sworn hedges are essential for every marriage even after decades of relationship success listing to Alister big on Truth for Life were in a series called, we too are one and were learning the marriage has the greatest chance for success. When we adhere to the plan of the designer. Many couples however stray from the plan and the relationship becomes strained even at the risk of failing. That's one of the topics that's covered in the book we want to recommend to you. Titled gospel shaped marriage race for sinners to love like saints.

This is a book that explains God's design for marriage.

The authors take a candid look at some of the difficulties many couples space issues like hostility or aggression or injustice are unfortunately a reality for many couples this is something the Bible acknowledges, but these challenges can be overcome if you read the book gospel shaped Mary Jo learn what the Scriptures say about marital tension and how to resolve conflict, ask for your copy of the book when you donate to Truth for Life today@truthforlife.org/donate.

If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 that we want you to know the books we offer on this program are carefully selected by our team. In the book gospel shaped marriage is no exception. We choose titles that supplement the teaching you hear on Truth for Life so you can learn more about the biblical instruction. Alister addresses in his messages. Our desire is that these books will help you grow deeper in your understanding of God's word and your relationship with Jesus. I mention this because both of the monthly resources we feature are available to you simply by request.

When you become a true partner.

It's one of the ways we say thank you for your monthly donation of $20 or more and when you sign up to become a true partner. Today you'll receive Alister's hardcover devotional called Truth for Life 365 daily devotions. Each daily reading includes a Scripture passage, followed by a commentary from Alastair that will guide you in your study of God's word. If you heard me invite you to become a true partner before but you have not yet joined the team why not make today the day you can sign up online that Truth for Life.org/true partner or by giving us a call at 888-588-7884.

Don't forget to request your copy of the book gospel shaped marriage and if you've enjoyed learning about marriage in our series called, we too are one. You can only study on the USB we included along with the series God's design for women and other teaching about Christian relationships from Alastair including family relationships and parenting priorities.

The collection of studies is titled God's design for life together, you'll find it at truthful, I.org/store for five dollars a bottle opinion the way we demonstrate care in the little things of life can make a huge contribution to the success and enjoyment of our relationships join us tomorrow to find out why Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living