Have your friends been telling you that establishing boundaries before marriage is a very important of a successful marriage?
Do you want to have be happily married but do you have NO IDEA what boundaries are and how and why to set them up before marriage?
Let me help!
To understand healthy marriage boundaries look at the four walls of your house.
Those walls are the structure that holds your life together. They hold your food and your bed and your possessions and it’s where you live your life. Healthy marriage boundaries are the same as those four walls of your house. They are the things that support your marriage as it matures. To have a healthy relationship, one that can grow and be fruitful, it is important that it has structures, boundaries, that support it.
Boundaries come in all sorts of shapes and colors. Here are a few of the essential ones.
#1 – Always be true to yourself.
For many people, when they are married, they become less of themselves.
Many people, men and women, take on their spouse’s friendships, their hobbies and their ways of doing things.
It is VERY important that all people stay themselves when in a relationship.
Why? Because every healthy relationship is based on truth and if you are anything other than your true self your marriage will never be really healthy.
It is also important that you continue to respect yourself and you will respect yourself by being yourself. By continuing to have your friends, to do your own hobbies, to have a career that you love and a healthy lifestyle that serves you, you will wake up every day feeling good about yourself.
And, when you feel good about yourself, your partner will love you even more because he knows you are being your true self, someone who is ambitious and smart and willing to take risks to get what she wants.
So, be yourself in your relationship. A healthy marriage requires it.
#2 – Practice compromise.
I have a client whose new husband moved into a house that she already owned. Right away they had issues because it was her house and she wanted to do things her way and that just wasn’t okay with him.
It is important that everyone be flexible in a relationship. Just like you would at work or with your family, it is important to work with your partner so that you can both live a life that is authentic to you.
You know the phrase “My way or the highway?” That phrase has no place in any healthy marriage.
#3 – Maintain mutual respect.
One of the biggest romance killers in a marriage is lack of respect and contempt.
The saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is an accurate one and something that happens in many marriages over the years.
It is important in every relationship that you each respect each other. Respect each other within the confines of your relationship by speaking to each other honestly, 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 not tell something about your partner to anyone that you haven’t already shared with your partner.
So, make sure you treat each other with respect, both inside and outside the relationship.
#4 – Don’t give up your power.
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 power dynamics are unequal, a marriage can change.
Make an effort to keep the decision making even and fair in your marriage. If you are good at organizing your social life then do that but give him 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.
Letting your marriage’s playing field become uneven allows it to slip into a sort of parent/child dynamic, where one person is in charge and the other does as they are told. Does that sound like a healthy relationship to you?
Not so much.
#5 – Spend 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!
So, spend some time apart. Miss each other. Value each other. Keep that spark alive.