Do you know that anxious feeling you get when someone tries to get you to do, say, or think something and you don’t agree with it? You are experiencing someone trying to push against a boundary— one you’ve set, or maybe even one you need to set.
We have to put boundaries in place to protect ourselves and others, even down to a soul level. Within the context of marriage, it will help you keep your relationship healthy if you can clearly outline, effectively communicate, and stick with your boundaries.
We should note that not every relationship will have the same cookie-cutter boundaries. Some boundaries have recurring themes, but they are also personal and vary depending on the struggles and other life experiences each individual has faced.
Use this list as a guide to help you navigate a conversation with your spouse about boundaries, and then tailor those boundaries according to what you both agree works best for you. Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to boundaries. If it’s biblical and something you need for the health of yourself and your relationship, then you’re on the right path!
Disclaimer: We are speaking from a Christian perspective, but if you don’t consider yourself a Christian, then don’t stop reading! We welcome you and think these tips can be helpful and encouraging to anyone. 🤗
- Know your triggers
Did you have a traumatic experience in your past that has come to the surface by something in your relationship? For example, do you have certain needs when it comes to alone time versus time spent with other people? You have to know yourself and communicate your needs with your spouse. If something feels as if it’s pushing you too far, then draw that line. Communicate lovingly with your spouse and work towards honoring each other’s needs.
Communicate your boundaries and feelings when the time is right
You can’t expect someone to respect your boundaries if they don’t know what they are. Take some time to think about your feelings and what you need. Ask your spouse to do the same. When you’re both in an open and positive headspace, communicate what you’ve thought about and what you must have moving forward. Being proactive in relaying your needs and setting boundaries is much more effective than trying to communicate in the heat of the moment.
Don’t use your spouse to cure your loneliness
If you’re feeling lonely or empty and looking to your spouse to fill the void, then that can be dangerous. You might be putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship or placing all your worth and happiness in your spouse. Instead, look to God to fill the empty places of your heart. Significant others can walk alongside you and encourage you, but they can never satisfy the craving only Christ can fill.
Guard your time togetherMarriage is a holy union, so the enemy is going to try anything and everything to cause discord and division. Remember that the two of you are a team. It’s you and your spouse against the problem, not you against your spouse. Prioritize regular date nights and getaways to build a strong foundation of trust and intimacy with each other.
Leave & cleaveOnce you’re married, you are each other’s priority, even before your family. That can feel crazy, but that’s God’s design. Work on switching your mindset to put your spouse first, even before yourself. That is the selfless example Christ set for us by going to the cross.
In conclusion, if you don’t get anything else from this post, then hear this: it’s not about following strict boundaries; it’s about creating the right posture of your heart.
Boundaries are guideposts to help us live life the way God designed—full of peace and joy. They’re not just another set of rules we have to follow. They are there for our protection and health. Boundaries are meant to set us up for success. Who doesn’t want a successful relationship?
Read this message of encouragement from Hebrews 12:5-11 (NLT):
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.