Books on marriage ought to be short and practical. I believe there is much need to explain why a person should want a happy marriage. Every married person wants a happy marriage; but he chafes at the selflessness needed to accomplish it. If he reads a marriage book, he should find sound advice on opening himself up, creative ideas for daily love, and Biblical rationale for honoring God by honoring his marriage vows.
Hedges fits this bill to a degree. It takes a few chapters on the need for hedges; but because this is a different angle on marriage than many enrichment books take, the explanation is probably warranted.
We live in an oversexed, immodest culture. Many of us may believe God made us to live with a certain percentage of lust, that the female figure should be demystified for our better health. I say vive la mystÃ¨re. In part one of Hedges, Jenkins tells several stories of adultery and how small, perhaps innocent, words and touches can break down healthy barriers between men and women. He explains how flirting works, regardless of personâ€™s intent, and how powerfully we can deceive ourselves. Understanding self-deception is Jenkinsâ€™ most valuable message here.
In part two, he describes the barriers he has used for years to avoid lust and the appearance of it. He doesnâ€™t argue that every reader should follow his example to the letter, but he urges us to plant the hedges which, according to our personalities and weaknesses, will accomplish the same goalâ€”to hold your heart to the love you committed on your wedding day.
This updated edition of Hedges includes a study guide for group discussion and a DVD of Jerry Jenkins addressing this topic.