Building “Hedges” around
Your Christian Marriage
Author Interview with Nancy C. Anderson,
Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage
I typically "blur over" when reading books related to
Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome (Kregel,
December 2004, paperback, 112 pages) by Nancy C. Anderson grabbed me from
page one. This is probably due to the fact that Anderson takes time to
share her own experience and marriage prior to jumping into suggestions
for how you can improve yours.
In the first section of the book, we learn why Nancy calls herself a
"cheater" on the opening page and we experience the strains and near break
up of her own marriage. Thanks to the power of prayer, true forgiveness
and the guidance of loving parents, Nancy and Ron were able to work
through the challenges they faced and have now gone on to be happily
married for 26 years.
Given this backdrop, the second section of the book is filled with helpful
principles that will enable couples to avoid the many extramarital
temptations that may crop up in even the strongest of Christian marriages.
Nancy shares her ideas and wisdom in a fun, very readable fashion.
The "things to do" and "things to think about" sections at the completion
of each chapter help to pull together the concepts presented and to apply
them to one's own relationship. This is a great resource for couples in
all stages of marriage and equally valuable to couples either happily
married or facing challenges. Invest the time to read this book and share
it with your spouse.
Nancy Anderson has the following to share about her
new book and safeguarding your Christian marriage.
Q: Nancy thanks so much
for your time and for this great book! You start off right away by
introducing yourself as a "cheater". Why did you feel compelled to share
your own experience of adultery in this book and how do you hope that this
can help readers?
A: The reason I tell my story is to, hopefully,
prevent it from becoming someone else’s story. I am willing to say, “I’ve
been to the other side of the fence and I can tell you that the grass is
NOT greener. It’s full of weeds and thorns…it’s a lie.” I want to tell
couples that if they water their own marriages, they can grow a beautiful,
healthy “green” relationship in their own backyard.
Q: Could you please briefly describe the six
protective "hedges" we can build around our marriages to keep them intact
A: The H.E.D.G.E.S. are all action words, because
we have to be proactive in our marriages, always rebuilding, remodeling,
and reconnecting as life brings challenges that can divide us.
Hearing - Listening to your spouse is they key to
unlocking their heart. People who have committed adultery often say,
“My wife/husband never listened to me - they never heard me.”
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them.”
Encouraging - Experience the teamwork building
power of a helping hand and a compliment. Focus on the positive
qualities of your mate.
“So then, let us aim for harmony…and try to build each other up.”
Dating - Build a life that celebrates marriage.
Have fun, laugh and play together.
“Let your fountains be blessed. Rejoice with the wife (husband) of
your youth.” Proverbs 5:18
Guarding - Establish safeguards for your
relationship. Set clear boundaries, that neither of you should cross.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”
Educating - Study your mate as if he or she was a
textbook. Seek to understand and appreciate your mate’s unique
“Dwell with your wife according to knowledge” 1st Peter 3:7
Satisfying - Meet each other’s needs. Ask your
spouse what he or she needs from you, and then do those things.
“You shall be like a well-watered Garden” Isaiah 58:11
Q: What role should faith
play in the marital union? Why is commitment to a Church family so
A: When I had my affair, my husband and I were
lukewarm Christians who were not attending church. That lack of
accountability lead to my self-deceptive thinking. I didn’t get Godly
council and I took advice from non-Christians. I believed the world’s lie;
“You deserve to be happy,” I sought feelings over truth and selfishness
over self-control. I took God off the throne of my life and lived to
Now, with Christ as the foundation of our marriage and our church as our
social and spiritual base, we stand firm and accountable to other
Q: I know that many couples who are experiencing
marital challenges will benefit from their reading of your book, but why
should happily married couples invest their time in reading
Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome?
A: Because preventing an affair is always better
than trying to recover from one. Some security firms hire reformed
burglars to show them where their property is vulnerable; I can show you
where your marriage may be vulnerable. Also, every husband and wife
should know the warning signs that may indicate your mate is having an
affair. If you have a good marriage, this book will give you creative
ways to make it great. It has many fun and practical ways to keep your
marriage fresh and exciting.
Q: You discuss planting
"guarding hedges" in some of the areas of one's life where temptation
might creep in - could you please say a few words about these, especially
the workplace and church environments.
A: Jake and I worked together. He told me that I
was funny, pretty and smart. He laughed at my jokes and bathed me in
compliments. Those compliments were like magnets and I became very
attracted to him. My husband was critical and rarely praised me, so I was
starving for positive attention. I’m not excusing what I did, but the
workplace can be a dangerous environment if you are not being “watered” at
Most affairs begin with a flirtation and flirting can
happen anywhere, even at church. Choir members, Sunday school teachers,
and committee leaders often work together at church activities, and that
can lead to trouble if the relationship becomes too personal. We have to
guard our hearts, even at church. If you are attracted to someone, stay
away, and don’t allow an inappropriate bond to form - we are told to flee
Q: Thanks again for your time. What do you feel
is the single most important factor in creating and maintaining a
A: For me it has been the friendship factor. I not
only love my husband, I like him. Our relationship is not just based on
passion and romance, it’s deeper than that. Those things may come and go
during the years, but our friendship, trust and devotion are stronger and
more stable than our emotions. Love based on caring for each other and a
firm commitment to Christ is described in Ecclesiastes 4:12b where is says
that a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. If you love God, and
each other, in thought word and deed, your three-stranded-marriage will
survive and thrive.
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