How a Rental Car Guards My Marriage

How a Rental Car Guards My Marriage

I’m passionate about my marriage. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect it. Recently, this meant renting a car and driving to the Philadelphia airport by myself.

It all started in December, when my husband, Bob, and I brainstormed a way to thank Suzy, our lead teacher of Secret Keeper Girl, for ten years of ministry partnership. A Caribbean cruise seemed just the thing, so we bought Suzy and her husband, Jonathan, two tickets. Of course, we thought we should tag along and got two tickets for ourselves.

In the week leading up to our departure, some challenges arose and Bob had to join Suzy and the rest of our Secret Keeper Girl team in Chattanooga the day before our vacation. That meant Jonathan and I would depart from our hometown on our own rather than with Bob. I guess some women would have felt comfortable taking a four-hour drive to the airport with a trusted male friend. I didn’t.

And it’s because of something that happened in a hotel room in California almost 20 years before I was born.

One afternoon in 1948, a young Billy Graham invited a few friends—George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows, and Grady Wilson— to his hotel room in the city of Modesto. There, in that room, the four men decided (among other things) that to protect their marriages they would never be alone in a room or travel alone in a vehicle with any woman other than their own individual wives. The commitments they made to each other became known as the Modesto Manifesto. From that day on, Graham stated, “I did not travel, meet, or eat alone with a woman other than my wife.” One of the great hallmarks of his life-long ministry is that it was scandal free. What a gift of faithfulness he gave to his precious wife, Ruth.

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Bob and I heard about the practical way this man lived out his passion for his marriage when our own marriage was brand new. We decided to follow his example. We don’t follow it because we are speakers. We made the decision when we were in our twenties and working as marketing consultants with no dream of writing books, speaking, and traveling. Our verbal commitment to one another is something like this:

  • We don’t go out to eat alone with someone of the opposite sex.
  • We don’t get in a car or room alone with someone of the opposite sex.
  • We copy one another when emailing someone of the opposite sex with personal information.

Through the years we’ve had friends, board members, business partners, and complete strangers question our decision. But we’re stickin’ to it.

My vacation cost me $211.15 more than I’d planned for one simple reason: My marriage is priceless to me.

Dannah Gresh is a best-selling author and the creator of and Secret Keeper Girl. Used with permission.

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  • Anthony

    That is highly commendable. I don’t question it at all. If I ever remarry, that’s how I want it to be. As I read the article, I even felt a little convicted about having lunch with some of my married coworkers. It’s never been a problem but even though I’m single I think I don’t think I’m going to do it anymore. Placing your marriage in such a high regard is an honorable thing. I’m sure you are very blessed because of that. God bless and thanks for sharing that…it was very encouraging.

    • Phillipl Dudd

      If it works for you, thats great, but I find little spiritual understanding in this.
      Im still trying to fathom how monks find selibacy by locking themselves out of harms way, and cannot practice avoiding temptation in the real world.
      Also what use are thier spiritual exsperiances if they cant share them as a testemony.
      so likewise surely how can you practice true loyalty by avoiding others who in fact need to see that you are different and faithful to your partner in any situation with a person of any genda.
      Jesus was frowned upon for being with people of disrepute, sinners and the like, but by doing so was able to show them that He was different and spread the gospel message, like the woman at the well.
      finaly how will this build your faith and trust in the power of the holy spirit, as one of the gifts of the spirit is self control, and knowing all others are Gods creation should indeed bring thoughts of love and compassion and not lust.
      I can accept that your testemony of devotion to your partner can be shared this way but how can people know its real if you are never in a situation to show that then is when you really show how you stand.
      and more will your devotion stand the test if real temptation in this like occours.
      I also believe that we can only trust each other to do as we say we will by our words being true, not by avoiding every situation that may pose a threat to our words.
      if somebody needs to hear about Jesus I want to be able to move when the spirit calls me to a person or situation, not specify when, how or with whom, however im not condeming your beliefs or actions, as God works His plan through many different people in many different ways.
      and thats how such a diverse population of people in the world are going to be reached, so I thank God that this way is yours and can reach those it will be relavent to.
      May God bless you.



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