I get asked a lot about how to cultivate and honor boundaries in (and for) marriage. It is a topic I don’t dive into much, however it is important to acknowledge that strong boundaries within marriage or intimate relationships don’t happen by accident.
Each couple will have different approaches to this. There is no “formula” or one size fits all approach. We all come from different conditionings, with different needs, hurts and expectations.
I will say, boundaries within marriage are a learned skill. Imagine learning to play tennis or a new language together. It takes practice, and it won’t feel “natural” to you until this practice integrates into your every day life.
Remember, a boundary is an outward expression of your inner values. Spend some time talking with your partner about things like:
- what do we value as a couple?
- what do we each need to feel safe, loved and respected?
- then begin to unpack what limits look like around time with inlaws, financial planning, home life (kids/chores), what autonomy looks like (separate goals/hobbies/interests), physical space and privacy, intimacy, communication, etc.
- based on what you discover, you can begin to set up a framework around these core values. These are the boundaries that protect and guard what matters most to you.
- review often and make tweaks if necessary. Don’t shut down or blow up, and don’t expect your partner to read your mind! Be courageous and kind while you learn to communicate. You are learning together and both patience and grace are needed. Maintenance is key!
If you are looking for more resources or direction on this topic, I have invited my friend Elizabeth Earnshaw (@lizlistens) to host this month’s Masterclass inside Discover Your Worth. Elizabeth is a couples therapist who provides clear roadmaps, expertise and education to build relational skills that are tangible and realistic for people like you and me. She also recently released the book I Want This To Work; an inclusive Guide to Navigating the Most Difficult Relationship Issues We Face in the Modern Age. All DYW Members receive instant access to the Masterclass along with all the previous coursework and content.