Boundaries In Marriage
Someone asked me if I would stand on the boundary between two properties. I said, "I'm on the fence about it."
I heard about an old Vermonter who lives on the Massachusetts boundary. He recently had his land surveyed. After the survey was completed and the new map was made, it turned out that the man had been living in Massachusetts all this time. "Good," said the man. "I can't take any more of those Vermont winters!"
My wife is mad at me. Get this, would you? Her diary says I have boundary issues.
On a far more serious note (smile) . . . Boundaries enable a person to embody their self-worth, and know what is necessary to respect and protect their own desires, needs, and beliefs. Without boundaries, people can easily become enmeshed, or interact in ways that create unhealthy dynamics. Ultimately, boundaries help couples to avoid issues like codependency, anger, anxiety, conflict, jealousy, and more.
Above all, the most important part of building and maintaining healthy boundaries is to communicate about them clearly and often. Talk frequently about what you need in your marriage. Discuss your expectations. Be very clear on what you will and will not tolerate from your spouse. Listen to what your spouse needs and hear how you can respect his/her boundaries. This is likely to be an ongoing process throughout the life of your marriage.
Physical Boundaries -- refer to your body, privacy, and personal space.
- I need 30 minutes after work to unwind before I shift to the family.
- I don't want you to touch me like that.
- Don't look through my phone without asking first.
Emotional Boundaries -- are all about respecting and honoring feelings and energy.
- I really can't talk about that right now. It isn't the right time.
- When I’m upset, I would like you to listen to me without trying to fix it. I just need to vent sometimes. When you try and fix things, I don’t feel heard. If I want your advice, I will let you know.
Sexual Boundaries -- include consent, agreement, respect, understanding of preferences and desires, and privacy.
- I have a hard time enjoying a certain sexual position. I want to avoid it for now.
- I want us to have great sex. Here are some things you can improve on during our sexual experiences.
Intellectual Boundaries -- refer to your thoughts, ideas, and curiosity.
- I know we disagree, but I won't let you belittle me like that.
- I can respect that we have different opinions on this.
In the final analysis, we can set as many boundaries as we want. It is wise to do so. However, remember, the centrality of a good-to-great marriage is based on love and faithfulness. Take it from Proverbs 3:3-4, Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.