For some, the words ‘boundaries in marriage’ are a common thing but for most of us, it’s not. If this is the first time that you have heard this term then it’s just right to get familiarized with the importance of setting healthy boundaries in marriage.
We have often heard about compromising and commitment in a relationship but setting healthy boundaries? Maybe this is the one piece of advice that we have all been missing?
What are the healthy boundaries in marriage?
Boundary – a term that we understand and have encountered many times even in our daily lives.
Examples of healthy boundaries that we see in our daily lives are stoplights, medicine rules and dosages, work rules, and even the 10 commandments in the Bible. We need similar examples of healthy boundaries in marriages.
Boundaries in marriage are set because of the same reason why we have boundaries to follow in our daily lives.
It acts as a warning or a limit that will protect the marriage from actions that will ruin it. If one doesn’t practice setting boundaries in a marriage, then it would probably take just a few months to see the effects of having no boundaries at all.
Why are boundaries in marriage good for your relationship?
Boundaries may at first sound like a negative thing but they are not. In fact, setting healthy boundaries are good, because they teach us to understand different situations and how to stay safe in how we act and talk. It’s important to know what our boundaries are there so that we don’t hurt or compromise our relationship with other people, including our marriage.
Being able to establish healthy boundaries in marriage will allow both spouses to feel much more comfortable with each other and will eventually help each other develop self-esteem, thus making the marriage better and stronger. By knowing the importance of appropriate boundaries in marriage, each spouse would be able to think first before acting or talking. It allows a person to reflect on the things that they might say and what effects it will have in the relationship.
How to set healthy boundaries in a relationship
Healthy boundaries are important to help you keep your identity intact. You can set boundaries in a relationship through following ways:
Introduce healthy boundaries at the start of the relationship. In this way, it will be easier for partners to follow some relationship rules rather than feeling hurt.
Focus on ‘I statements’ rather than beating about the bush. For instance, if you wish to convey something, say, “I really feel _______.” you must not use statements that make your partner feel criticized or condemned like, “You always ____.”
You might want to check out this article for further information on healthy boundaries in relationship:
In order to establish healthy boundaries in relationships, both spouses should have a clear understanding of each other’s personalities. This is the basis of every boundary that a married couple would create. As months and years pass, this may change according to what we see in the marriage itself.
We have to remember that marriage is a continuous adjustment of two people and as we are able to practice healthy boundaries in marriage, we also reflect on ourselves and who we really are as a person, a spouse, and ultimately as a parent.
15 healthy marriage boundaries for couples
In setting healthy boundaries in relationships, the first thing that we would want to know is how to start and where to start. Don’t worry because as you go along with these 5 essential boundaries in marriage, you tend to be good at judging as to what type of boundaries you ought to set next.
1. You are responsible for your own happiness
You have to understand that while marriage is a two-way process, it’s never the only source of happiness so stop having this mindset. Allow yourself to grow and know that you can be happy on your own and better with your spouse.
One boundary that is often misunderstood is having friends outside marriage. Some boundaries become negative when the feelings involved with it is also negative such as jealousy. You need to let this go and allow your spouse to still have friends outside the marriage.
3. You need to open up and have REAL communication
We may all be busy but if you really want something, then you can definitely find some time for it. Never stop communicating with your spouse because this should be the base of your relationship.
4. You need to respect your spouse
Some boundaries in relationships get out of hand and can sometimes strip you of rational thinking and can later be a trait where you can no longer respect your spouse as a person. Respect their privacy. Set boundaries that you know where being married stops. For example, even if you are married, you don’t have the right to snoop on your husband or wife’s personal belongings. It’s just wrong.
Speak up and let your spouse know if you want something or if you disagree on things that you both need to decide. Without the ability to express what you feel, then being married is meaningless because a true marriage also means being able to be yourself with this person.
6. No physical abuse
There should be boundaries between the partners so that none of them steps forward to an extent to practice physical abuse in order to have a say in the relationship. Each partner needs to have enough self-esteem as to draw the line when it comes to violence.
At times, partners should also build boundaries so that they know that the names they give to each other is respectable and sounds adoring rather than a bully. Partners can also become uncomfortable and embarrassed by their nicknames and their spouse should not press upon such names.
8. Conversations about family
Spouses are not bound to discuss everything about each other’s family if they are not comfortable. Conversations about their respective families should be limited to the point both the spouses are comfortable sharing and listening to.
9. The kind of commitment you both wish to have
It should be clear in every relationship or marriage what level of commitment they both want from each other. If one partner wants a monogamous relationship while the other seeks open marriage, there should be a boundary where they both come to the same page and keep the relationship working.
10. Scope of sharing
For sure, sharing is caring but there have to be boundaries when it comes to the extent of sharing. Both the partners should ensure that they are only sharing what they feel comfortable with and the other partner should not force them.
Partners should give each other me-time and not hamper each other’s personal space. Me-time is essential for couples to re-energize and keep the relationship healthy.
12. Handling fights
How the fights should be handled must be pre-decided in every relationship. The partners should understand each other’s apology language and work around the relationship accordingly.
Check out this video about bickering in a relationship where Esther Perel discusses ways to communicate your frustrations in the relationship:
There could be sexual advances that one partner might not be comfortable with. So, both the partners must know what is acceptable is sex and what is not. They should work on safe words as an important step.
14. Financial preferences
Every person has their own money behavior. So, partners must discuss their financial habits and if they would like to keep their money combined or separated. Money is considered to be one of the top reasons for divorce.
So, it is essential to build good boundaries in marriage relating to finances beforehand.
15. Your hobbies and activities
Partners might have different preferences when it comes to hobbies and activities. They should set a limit to what they would like to share in terms of hobbies and things they would want to do separately.
How to maintain healthy boundaries in your marriage life?
If you think that you are ready to set boundaries in a relationship and want to know how to start, then just follow some of the most basic tips that can help.
We all know that setting up boundaries is our right and it’s just right to let our spouse know what they are. Communicate because it’s the only way to fully understand each other.
If you agree on something, make sure that you do it. Sometimes, we can be so keen with words but our actions fail to fall through. Be able to compromise before you promise changes.
Whatever happens, your actions will be your fault, not your spouse or any other people. As you can see, boundaries start with YOU so it’s just right that you need to be disciplined before you can expect your spouse to respect your boundaries.
Remember that there are emotional and physical boundaries in the marriage too and this will include boundaries from any abuse and even fidelity. Along with the basics, a person needs to understand their feelings before setting boundaries for their marriage.
Setting healthy boundaries in relationships is indeed a skill to learn and yes – it requires lots of time. Just remember, healthy boundaries in marriage will never come easy but if you and your spouse trust each other, then your relationship will get better over time.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.