I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with church leaders about boundaries in marriage.
I’m all for protecting my marriage with great boundaries.
You know the kind:
Don’t meet with a member of the opposite sex alone.
Never travel with a member of the opposite sex alone.
Put a glass door in your office.
Have an accountability partner.
Install software protection on your devices.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Listen, I believe in strong boundaries. I’m 100% for them. As Michael Hyatt recently pointed out, the costs from an affair are horrific.
The last thing we need is for another ministry leader to fall after an affair. (Here, by the way, are 5 reasons pastors fail morally).
But all boundaries are fundamentally defensive moves.
But what bothers me about the tone of much of the conversation is that it sounds like having an affair is more appealing than going home to your wife.
Instead of running defence with your marriage, run some offence.
Passionately pursue the person you married.
Defence protects your body.
But running great offence protects your mind and your heart.
The offence and defence analogy in marriage also works exactly as it does in sports.
You might have the best defence in the league. You allowed no runs, no touchdowns, no goals. Awesome. But you still won’t win unless you run some offence.
Besides, the goal of marriage isn’t to avoid an affair. The goal is to have the most intimate, passionate relationship you can have with anyone.
So, run some offence!
Here are 5 ways to run a great offence in your marriage.
1. Bring your best energy home with you
If you read this blog, chances are you’re a leader.
So let me guess. You lead well all day.
But what often happens is you lead so passionately during the day that by the time you roll home around 5 (or 7 or 9) you are running on fumes. There’s nothing left.
All day long at work, you gave. When you come home, you want to receive.
Save some of the exceptional skill, energy and heart you poured into work for your time at home.
And don’t spend it all on the kids either.
Way too many leaders lead their staff or kids with more intentionality than they love their spouse.
That’s a mistake. Your staff will quit. Or retire. Even your kids leave home one day.
Your marriage is forever.
So pour the same intentionality and leadership into your marriage that you do into your job.
2. Stop giving your spouse your leftover time
It can be so easy to give your spouse not just left over energy, but left over time and attention.
If dating your spouse is something you do only after everything else is done, your date night will stink.
If spending time with your spouse is something you do only after everything else is done, you will hardly spend any meaningful time together at all.
A priority is a pre-decision about your time. If your marriage is a priority, your time alone with your spouse will be prime time.
Strangely, cleaning out an inbox gets attacked with more intentionality by some leaders than creating moments with their spouse does.
Give your spouse your best time. Not your leftover time.
3. Deal with your junk
Not everyone is eager to rush home to their spouse.
I remember a season in our marriage where every date night would start with an argument. The pattern was regular enough that I began to dread date nights.
The reason had something to do with points 1 and 2 above, but there was a third factor.
I had issues I needed to deal with that were still unresolved. In other words, I needed to sit down with a good, Christian counsellor.
I was bringing my issues into our date nights. I was angry…I blamed my wife for things that were really my issues.
Once I dealt with my junk, our date nights got a lot better.
One of the best gifts you can give your family is to deal with your junk. So deal with it.
4. Do something awesome
So much of family life is what I call ‘transactional’.
Who’s going to pick up the kids?
What’s for dinner?
Can you get that load of laundry?
Hey, the lawn needs cutting!
In the ebb and flow of family life, awesome often gets saved for family vacations.
Two weeks a year of awesome isn’t enough.
A few years ago my wife and I bought bikes for summer and snow shoes for the winter. Plus we take short trips, dinners out, hikes and other things we both love.
Most couples do awesome things when they’re dating and then forget about it once they’re married.
Awesome isn’t just for dating and heaven. It’s also for marriage.
5. Have (great) sex
If you had an affair, you’d have sex.
So why not just flip it and have great sex inside your marriage instead? After all, you’re allowed. You’re even encouraged.
God designed us for intimacy, and there is no greater intimacy than the intimacy a man and woman can enjoy within the context of marriage.
Far too many marriages are sexless and joyless. If you pursue points 1-4 above, you will set the stage for much deeper, more meaningful sex life.
And a great sex life is a better guard against an affair than any software you can install on your computer.
What Do You Think?
I’m all for a great defence to protect your marriage. But I think a fantastic offence makes everything much better.
Anything you’ve discovered that creates great offence in a marriage?
Scroll down and leave a comment.
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