Recently our church experienced a moral failure within our leadership. It is painful, frustrating, disheartening, and confusing. Everyone in the church family feels it, and when you are a large church on the national stage like we are, it stings all the more. The details are unimportant; a Christian failed, like we all do, but as the person in question was in a leadership role, the failure is in the spotlight. Like it or not, that is the reality. Thankfully, by Gods grace, the rest of our leadership team has tactfully and professionally handled the situation. I respect them more now, for the leadership they have shown, than I ever have.
These things happen in families and relationships everywhere. I want to discuss a few practical steps that my wife and I have taken to avoid such a misstep. We have taken the advice that leaders such as Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, and our own Mark Beeson, routinely teach.
In no particular order;
1. We do not have one-on-one meals or meetings with members of the opposite sex, other than each other. If there is not a third party available, we skip it. Hanging out in places where alcohol is served is not done unless we are both there, which is rare to begin with, but a good rule of thumb nonetheless. (I want to be there to hand out the dirty looks to dumb idiots, just in case. Haha, just kidding. Wait…no, I’m not.)
2. We share every password, to everything, with each other. Facebook, Twitter, even this blog, it is all in the open. Every social media encounter with the opposite sex is relayed between the two of us; friend requests, messages, chats, whatever. Secrecy is the beginning of trouble.
3. This is a new one; requests for help or advice from women, are referred to my wife, and vice-versa. It was never really something that came up before, but as we grow in Christ, it has been happening more and more, which is a huge blessing.
4. We revisit and reshape the boundaries we have regularly. We talk about it with each other often. We seek guidance from others that we respect and look up to. We know that we do not have all the answers and are just as susceptible as anyone else. Sometimes one of us innocently forgets (um…me) and needs a reminder, so trust is key. Open communication keeps the process moving. Constant vigilance is how we roll.
Maybe it sounds weird, and maybe it is, but we decided that we would rather be strange to outsiders and have a long and healthy marriage that avoids many of the common pitfalls, than do it any other way. Since we became a team and put our marriage first, it has only gotten stronger.