Our first date was at George Webb’s. For those of you who arent familiar with this place, think Waffle House or a smaller, dimly lit IHOP. We talked about silly things like, “Whats your favorite feature on your face?” (my eyes), and deeper things like “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” (take care of babies). It was nothing romantic or extraordinary but it was the last first date of our lives, and the start of our life together. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be his only dinner date.

Having a God-honoring, old fashioned marriage is tough. Submission, respect, sacrifice, selflessness – those are tough words. Even more difficult than saying them and understanding them is actually putting them into practice. You’d think after 13.5 years of marriage Id have mastered one of these things. No such luck. Some days Im the perfect wife. I send encouraging texts,  I make him coffee and a smoothie to have on his way to work, I pack him a lunch, I clean the house so he comes home to his castle, I make sure our sheets are clean and his laundry is put away, I greet him with a kiss and a warm dinner.

Then there are the other 360 days a year.

These days I am the farthest thing from a perfect wife. I snap at him as he leaves the house, I dont get up early enough to make him his smoothie, I forget to clean the coffee maker the day before so he doesnt have time to clean it and brew more before he leaves, I text him a passive aggressive text about working so much, the garage gets so messy he cant even walk to the door, dinner is whatever you can find,”  and the laundry has exploded all over the house.

Somehow we get through those tough days and still love each other. There are many days that I need to ask for forgiveness as he walks through the door, or as we climb into bed. I pray that God would give me compassion for him and his long days at work. I read blogs about being a good homemaker and better ways to organize my time. Some of it works, for a time. Then a new day or week begins and I have to start over, go through more lessons on respect and sacrifice and true love. I ask God, Havent I learned this yet?! He gently reminds me, Nope. Lets try this again.”

One lesson Ive learned is that God-honoring marriages require strict boundaries. Theres another fun word. Boundaries. When we were children, we understood boundaries, rules, regulations. We understood that these kept us safe, even when we didnt really like it. We knew that we had to stay in our yard and not cross the street because it was dangerous. Maybe we could get away with it a few times; but it was risky, unpredictable. There were consequences. We knew that if we went into the principles office without being invited, that it was rude and disrespectful; it was wrong. Maybe we didnt like it, but it usually made sense. All of the sudden we are grown ups, and boundaries dont apply. We dont like to be told what to do, where to go or not to go, who to see or not to see. We should be able to do whatever we want, right? Wrong. Especially in a marriage, when youve submitted your life to another person. Two becomes one, your life is not your own. These boundaries keep you safe, secure, and connected.

Everyones boundaries are different, but there are some basic ones that any God-honoring couple would (should?) agree on. No coarse joking, not a hint of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3). Treat younger men as brothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2).  Keep the marriage bed pure (Hebrews 13:4).  Learn to control your body in a way that is holy and honorable (1 Thessalonians 4:4).  How you go about honoring those boundaries is the tricky part. For some people it may be no computers in private places. Some may suggest no close friends of the opposite sex. For others it may be not being alone with someone of the opposite sex. Perhaps its having open doors during meetings in an office setting. Maybe its no R rated moves. The list goes on and on, and each couple needs to wrestle with how they are going to honor these God-given boundaries. Its vital to the success of the marriage.

Heres where it gets exciting. I love that my husband has boundaries. Not because I dont trust him. I do, without a moments hesitation. Not because Im insecure (okay, maybe I am but not in his love for me). Not because he has been unfaithful and given me a reason to doubt him. No, I love it because it gives me freedom! Freedom from worry and insecurity. Freedom to love him without a single doubt of where his heart is. Freedom to be naked and unashamed” (Gen2:25), because I know theres nothing or no one between us. Freedom to tell him all my failures and know his heart is still one with mine. Freedom to mess up and know he is not leaving, because he has told me he values our marriage above all else. I love that my husband will only see my eyes when hes looking across a table at a nice restaurant (or George Webb’s). I love that he will only have my hand to grasp when we go out to see a movie. I love that Im the only one to hear him sing when we drive. I love knowing these things. I am secure because we have set boundaries to never be alone with a member of the opposite sex. We talk about it, and prioritize keeping that hedge of protection around our marriage. Theres not one ounce of doubt where his heart is.

We are weak, sinful people. To set up a security system in our marriage is important. Why wouldnt we want to protect the most precious thing we have? Christ says our marriage should reflect the love He has for His church. His sacrificial, humble-enough-to-die-on-a-cross kind of love. This kind of love sets aside all pride to serve another. Serving my husband by setting up boundaries and keeping them is a Christ-like love.

Through the decade plus we have been married, there have been countless dinner dates. Every single time, I am thankful for a man who wants to honor God with our marriage, who wants to keep his heart connected to mine. And every single time, I still look across that table and thank God that I am his one and only dinner date.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Hannah Carpenter

I am simply a crazy and stressed homeschool mom living in Ohio. I have five amazing kids and one incredible husband who still loves me after 15 years. Most importantly, I am a daughter of the King who is trying to honor Him everyday through my parenting, teaching, art and writing.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading