Marriage is long and difficult and when boundaries are crossed in marriage it can be disastrous.
A vital part of marriage is trust and when established boundaries are violated a marriage can breakdown.
So, it’s very important that, when boundaries have been crossed, it is dealt with right away.
How? Let me help.
#1 – Acknowledgement.
When boundaries have been crossed in marriage, it is essential that both parties acknowledge that the boundaries have been crossed. Unless there is agreement that the boundaries have been violated there is no way to begin the healing process.
A client’s husband had violated their ‘no mid-week drinking’ boundary. They had both realized that when they drank wine after work their parenting skills around bedtime suffered. So, they agreed to abstain. When her husband came home one night smelling of beer, she was very upset because they had an agreement and he had broken it.
Her husband pushed back at first, justifying his behavior, but then he acknowledged that he had violated their agreement. With that mutual understanding, their healing could begin.
#2 – Conversation.
An essential part of healing when boundaries are crossed in marriage is conversation.
I believe that conversation is essential to any healthy relationship and when boundaries have been crossed especially so.
For my client and her husband, it was very important that they revisit why they had set the boundary in the first place, why he had crossed the boundary and what next steps they should take around the boundary.
They agreed that the boundary had been set in place for the sake of their children. He explained that he drank because he had a work dinner and he wanted to make his client feel comfortable but knew that he had crossed their established boundary nonetheless. She expressed her disappointment in the fact that he hadn’t kept his word and that he had been a little bit out of it during the kids bedtime routine.
Each of them were able to speak their piece, know they had been heard, and get ready to take steps for figuring out resolution.
So, a key part of surviving boundaries being crossed in marriage is talking about it! Without conversation, moving forward is impossible.
#3 – Resolution.
Once my client and her husband had spoken their piece, they set out to figure out what they should do about the existing boundary. Did they feel like it was a boundary they should maintain or one that needed reconsideration? They wanted to make sure that both of them felt comfortable with the boundary because they knew that a healthy marriage was based on mutually agreed upon boundaries.
After some discussion, they agreed that the boundary was important and that it should stay in place and that, if another work dinner arose, they would address that situation when it came.
It is important, when trying to figure how to fix things when boundaries are crossed in marriage, to work together to identify what can be done to come to terms with what was done and to make a plan for moving forward.
#4 – Benchmarks.
After conversation and resolution, the next step to managing boundaries is by setting benchmarks.