Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:9) ~~ We must guard our hearts and guard our marriage, so that the outside world cannot separate it. We must protect its core – the love between husband and wife. This doesn’t come for free – it will cost us a lot – but “no” must be an integral part of our vocabulary. Saying no to others – whether to people, things, or tasks – is not easy. Sometimes it is hard work, causes anxiety, and may upset others. But in order to say yes to your marriage, you must be able to say no to other things. You simply do not have the time, resources, and energy to do everything you want and to please everyone around you. If you do not learn to say no to others, you will eventually ﬁnd out that you have been saying no to your marriage all the time. Marriage involves more than just keeping the love between you and your spouse alive. It also means forsaking, or leaving behind other things. Before getting married, we could take care of career, friends, sports, trips, and other activities. Marriage though means forsaking some of those things, even some of what we would call “freedoms” in order to gain growth. Marriage is not an extension of singleness where you bring your spouse along. You can’t have both at the same time. If you don’t make forsaking a part of everyday life, you always run danger of allowing the wrong thing (bad inﬂuences) into your marriage and hindering the good (closeness and honesty) from it. Marriage is designed to be an exclusive club, a two-person arrangement that provides a safe place for each spouse’s soul. There is no space for a third party to receive an equal share in a marriage, because that can easily disrupt the safety of the relationship. That means “Mama” and your “Family” will have to understand! Your “boys” or your “girls”, BFFs, partners and homies gonna have to hang without you this week! With the exception of God Himself, if there is a third party present, our love gets divided. A part of our heart is taken away from our spouse, where it belongs, and brought to an outside source. Our spouse is our prime address for ﬁnding comfort, help, truth and growth. But marriage is not the only place for that. It was never designed to be the source for all life for us. That would be idolatry, because only God and His resources are our life source. Of course, we also need and should have close friends in whom we can conﬁde and who conﬁde in us. We should have activities and associations aside of our marriage, But if they drive us away from our spouse, we certainly step over the line. In the end we have to learn to avoid extremes and ﬁnd the right balance. We need outside relationships and (appropriate) activities to get some of our needs met that our spouse simply cannot meet. But at the same time we have to make sure that these external inﬂuences do not intrude into our marriage and take a part of our heart away from our spouse. When it comes to your marriage – Just say No!