Being in a relationship and being married are both different things altogether. When a couple has to spend years together, respecting their individual time and space becomes crucial for a strong and healthy marriage. That’s when setting healthy boundaries in marriage comes forth.
Are you newly married and are you wondering about some common boundaries in marriage? Do you want to be proactive and get ahead of problems before they start and do you know that setting some boundaries, some ground rules, is a key way to do this?
Good for you! Unfortunately, many of the most common, and most effective, boundaries are often the ones most easily violated, sometimes by mistake and sometimes on purpose.
Let me help you review what are the most common boundaries in marriage, learn why they are important, see how they can be violated, and understand what can be done to prevent this from happening.
Here’re 5 Healthy Boundaries in Marriage
1. The importance of time apart.
When they are falling in love, couples want to spend every available minute together. The feelings that accompany falling in love are addictive and hard to walk away from even for a short while.
It is important, however, that you spend time apart from the one you love. You know the old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder?” It’s true!
Think about how you feel when you go on a diet. How you can’t eat ice cream for a month while you lose those 5 pounds and, man, do you miss your ice cream? It’s the same thing in a relationship. Stepping away from your partner, even for a bit, makes you both notice the void that is created in his or her absence.
And then the heart grows fonder. Unfortunately, this is one of those boundaries that are easy to violate, oftentimes unintentionally. As a matter of habit, we tend to fall into patterns that include spending all of our time with our partners.
And while that can seem great at first, over time that can create issues such as losing touch with friends and getting sick of spending time with our partner. And being sick of spending time with your partner can be a real relationship killer. So, spend some time apart. Miss each other. Value each other. Keep that spark alive.
2. Don’t let one person be in charge.
In many marriages, it happens that at some point one person becomes the one calling the shots. And while this seems to work on one level, ultimately the relationship will become uneven. And when things are uneven a marriage changes.
In many marriages, at the beginning decisions are largely shared. What to do, where to eat, where to travel, these are all decisions made by a couple together. What often happens, though, is that after the kids are born, decision-making tends to fall to the primary caregiver.
This doesn’t happen for any reason other than efficiency – the raising of children is a chaotic job and the family usually revolves around them. Decisions need to be made quickly, on the fly sometimes, or more deliberately at other times. And, more often than not, the primary caregiver is the person present to make those decisions.
And this, while efficient, will ultimately create a power imbalance that can kill any strong marriage. So, make an effort to keep the decision-making even in the marriage. If you are good at organizing your social life then do that but give him the opportunity to choose events.
If he is good at managing the finances let him do that but continue to have input into where the money goes and why. Work together to make as many decisions about the kids and your family together. Not letting either one of you be in charge is important.
3. Respect for each other.
One of the biggest romance killers in marriage is a lack of respect and contempt. Working hard to maintain respect for your partner is essential.
The saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt is an accurate one and something that happens in many committed relationships. As time goes on, personalities can clash and unsettled issues can simmer. As a result, partners can lose respect for each other. How can you be in a happy marriage when you don’t respect your partner?
Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into the trap of losing respect for each other. You can keep yourself out of the trap by speaking to each other honestly and sharing your feelings and needs in an open way. By not attacking each other personally and criticizing each other’s behaviors and actions.
Furthermore, it’s important to not criticize your partner out in the world. The general rule of thumb is that you do not tell something about your partner to anyone that you haven’t already shared with your partner.
When I was married, I talked to my friends WAY more about the problems in my marriage than I did to my husband. This didn’t do our relationship any good because we weren’t communicating and giving our relationship a chance to improve. And when we were together I treated my husband with contempt because I no longer respected him.
I am no longer married. So, make sure you treat each other with respect, both inside and outside the relationship.