on criticism, trust, and context

So, I don’t think I was mentally prepared for the amount of readers (and anger?) that would come along with yesterday’s post about Boundaries & Love. A few people were really, really mad. One person even emailed me saying I was locked inside a cage of religious-fear and I needed released. What? Clearly they do not know me.

A few things in response to this:

1. I have lots of guy friends. Our friendships just look different from my friendship with women. We hang in groups. Read: we don’t lie around in our pajamas watching re-runs of New Girl together.

2. I am in full-time ministry, and have heard story (after story, after story) of men (and women) leaving their jobs because of an inappropriate relationship(s). So, boundaries are just a bonus to the consistent heart-checks that free me from that. I don’t want to be part of those stories.

3. I trust my husband more than anyone, outside of Jesus. Our boundaries are not created out of fear, but rather mutual love and respect for one another. In fact, they allow us to have great friendships with members of the opposite sex.

4. Criticism–especially that which does not come from a place of love–actually really hurts. I have usually been in the camp of “if you haven’t been through the grueling process of creating something, step back and don’t be critical just to be critical.” Yesterday I got a little personal taste of that. I am all for dialogue, conversation, growth, and different opinions, but not when they’re in the form of internet-rant-screams.

5. Before you critique something, read the entire thing. Context matters. I read a lot of comments yesterday wondering if they even read my post. I did not think our boundaries were a list for everyone to adopt. Rather, they were the overflow of principles we try to live within our own marriage. The encouragement was not to adopt my boundaries, but to think through your own heart/mind/desires and figure out what’s necessary for you and/or your spouse.

Thanks for reading and supporting! It’s been a fun couple of days.

10 thoughts on “on criticism, trust, and context

  1. Anne,

    It breaks my heart that your writing has been so vilified and misunderstood. I know all too well how the lack of boundaries puts marriages at risk, both from personal experience and the experiences of those closest to me. It amazes me that
    you have such insight at such a young age. Truly God has given you an incredible gift. I beleive it is because the message is so real that it comes under attack. Stay strong in your faith because you are heaven sent and so many of us need you.

    Debbie

    PS: I found this quote the other day and, while it is not Biblical, I really like it. “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock” Thomas Jefferson

    1. Debbie,
      Thank you so much! You are so sweet. I appreciate you so much and I know my mom is so grateful for your friendship, as well. Love you!
      Anne

  2. Anne, don’t be discouraged by the comments! Our flesh is so weak and like you said we are never above crossing the line into having an affair. I think we all like to think we are above that kind of sin but sin is sin. It’s a slippery slope leading to more sin. I admire your post and your efforts to honor Christ and your husband through the boundaries you’ve set:) ps. Are you living in Indy? I’d love to meet up sometime and catch up:)

    1. Hey Jess! Yes, I am! We live on the westside. Do you have my #? Let’s get together. Thanks for your encouragement, you are just great.

  3. I read your whole post on good women and HEARTILY agreed. As a child, I saw our pastor ruin his marriage and the health of the church by not setting up healthy boundaries in his life and ministry. And that wouldn’t be the last. I have always felt it important to protect myself (and now my marriage!) by not being alone in a car or a building with a man. You shared such wonderful insights about the inside jokes and the unhealthy familiarity that comes even from seemingly innocent alone time in the office or on a car ride. I would gladly inconvenience myself and ride alone, in order to be beyond reproach. I’m so glad you were brave enough to bring up these issues. So many people get themselves into big messes because of these little choices. By the way, I am in the Indy area as well. :)

  4. I read your whole post on good women and HEARTILY agreed. As a child, I saw our pastor ruin his marriage and the health of the church by not setting up healthy boundaries in his life and ministry. And that wouldn’t be the last. I have always felt it important to protect myself (and now my marriage!) by not being alone in a car or a building with a man. You shared such wonderful insights about the inside jokes and the unhealthy familiarity that comes even from seemingly innocent alone time in the office or on a car ride. I would gladly inconvenience myself and ride alone, in order to be beyond reproach. I’m so glad you are bringing up these issues. So many people get themselves into big messes because of these little choices. By the way, I am in the Indy area as well. :)

  5. I read your article but did not leave a comment. I honestly believe your article was very honest and opened. It aligns with a lesson that was taught in our marriage ministry based on a book called hedges. It focused on boundaries that married couples, especially Christians, should discuss and put in place as a couple. I believe you received so much push back because most married couples honestly beleive that it could never happen to them. We also live in a society where marriage is not taken seriously and we think counseling, retreats, and classes should only be attended when the marriage falls apart. If we begin to be proactive with our marriage the divorce rate would not be so high. Continue to write what God gives. It’s obvious you are right on target.

  6. I think you had a great list of boundaries and I appreciated your courage to share them. Boundaries are very freeing. (from one who’s been married for 32 years)

  7. We’ve been following similar boundaries from the start of our 13 yr marriage. It has hurt when other believers feel judged when we try to avoid the car ride situation. There have been times when it would just be easier lower our standards. At times, we have altered things, as the principles are there to support us, but always with the other person’s full knowledge and debriefing. This has led to a trust and honesty in our marriage. We had boundaries before we married, why wouldn’t we have them after? We put boundaries around things of value. My marriage is precious, but remains that way, only through daily work. I, too, grew up with divorced parents. I don’t want to go there.

  8. I have a question about the dating before marriage stage. If you are serious about dating a person would you say that the same boundaries still apply? Would you not allow your boyfriend/girlfriend to ride in a car alone with one of their other opposite-sex friends? What if you had no trust issues when the bf/gf was with the friend, even if you had never met the other friend? I ask because I legitimately don’t know where the problem lies. Is it a problem with being able to trust the significant other, or is it a problem with how others outside of the relationship might view the situation? Thank you very much for any insight. I appreciate other views on things.

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