A key to healthy marriage is having respectful boundaries. Without mutual respect and clear boundaries, you won’t receive the genuine love and support you look for in a marriage.
If someone isn’t willing to respect the boundaries you’ve defined, you’re going to be trapped in a relationship full of gaslighting, chaos and anxiety. You’ll start to accept the disrespect and end up walking on eggshells, building resentment, which will negatively impact your relationship and self esteem.
Here’s what you need to know about boundaries.
What Are Boundaries?
Boundaries aren’t walls that you put up to keep other people out. They’re a healthy way of making sure that your thoughts and emotions aren’t dependent on the thoughts and emotions of other people, and vice versa.
Boundaries define what you value, what is important to you, and guide your behavior. Boundaries make it easier for you to interact with others in a way that doesn’t sabotage your mental health or damage your self-esteem.
Boundaries, in a psychological sense define, personal integrity and wellbeing. It is a clear distinction between healthy behavior that create value in a relationship and behavior that causes harm.
Your relationship with your spouse will vary depending on whether you have rigid, porous or healthy boundaries in your marriage. You should work towards building healthy boundaries, where you know when to say “no” if something is unreasonable or unacceptable. However, you should still be able to have an intimate and supportive relationship where you don’t doubt your place in your spouse’s life.
Boundaries are formed over a period of time while establishing consistent behavior. You institute boundaries by what you allow or don’t allow other people to do or say around you. When you’re initially establishing boundaries, you take small steps into letting the other person know what you’re comfortable with and acceptable to you.
If someone oversteps their boundaries or hurts you with their actions, it is your right and even responsibility to reestablish that boundary. You’re allowed to speak up about how you’re uncomfortable, or notify the other person through your actions.
Why Do You Need to Define Boundaries?
The reason why it is so important to set boundaries is because they define who you are and it also to provide a safe environment. Only when someone respects your boundaries and you respect theirs can you find an authentic relationship that you feel secure in.
They help you understand what the other person’s limitations are, as well as inform them of yours. It is only through these boundaries can you build trust, intimacy and connection.
A relationship without boundaries can quickly become more exhausting than exciting. The following are some other reasons why you should set boundaries in your marriage, too.
You’ll Remain Your Own Individual
Not having boundaries means that all of your spouse’s feelings become yours. If they’re upset, you take it personally. If they’re happy, you are too. While this shows that you share a deep connection with them, it also means you are too affected by their changes in mood.
If you can’t differentiate between your own emotions and those of your spouse, you’ll slowly start to lose your sense of self. If you can’t tell when you want something because of your own reasons, or if your spouse is influencing your decision, you will stop valuing your opinions. Value your emotions and what they’re trying to tell you, because it makes you more attuned to what your physical and emotional needs are as an individual.
It’s important to be able to set a clear line between your values and those of your spouse. It’s okay to occasionally compromise, but if you stop considering your own opinions, you’ll lose your voice. Someone with porous boundaries relies too heavily on what other people expect them to do. Overtime, you won’t be able to make any decisions without your spouse’s opinion.
The more you suppress your point of view so as not to start an argument, the more isolated and depressed you become. Assertiveness training can help you build the necessary skills to implement healthy boundaries. It teaches you how to express your thoughts and needs without feeling like your voice won’t be heard.
You Won’t Resent Your Spouse
At the start of any relationship, you may find it endearing that your significant other is over-involved in all your problems. You’ll convince yourself that they have your best interests at heart, even if their actions hurt you. However, having a healthy boundary with your spouse means that you’re able to convey what you think is best for you and know that your spouse will respect it.
If you don’t set boundaries to limit your spouse’s involvement in your activities, you’ll start feeling like an observer in your own life. You’ll eventually start resenting your spouse for taking your agency away. If you resent your spouse, you’ll be riddled with guilt and try to overcompensate for it.
When you work on your communication skills, you learn how to accept differences and realize that your partner may not always be on board with what your opinions are. You learn to accept their point of view without letting it harm your sense of worth, because you know that it doesn’t affect your relationship with them. Similarly, when you say “no” to them about something you disagree with, you can be confident that they won’t be offended.
You’ll Have Better Mental Health
If you constantly have to justify your spouse’s actions, even when they’ve hurt you and overstepped their boundaries, you’ll negatively impact your self-esteem and confidence. A major part of being in a relationship means that the other person should know where you draw the line, in terms of physical, emotional, and social boundaries.
Being able to stand by your boundaries and assert your perspective is an indication of healthy mental health. Not having to worry about rejection or repercussions from your spouse for being your own individual means that you have a stable, constructive relationship with healthy boundaries.
One essential fact to remember about boundaries is that they aren’t about what you keep out. Boundaries are used to define what you let in to your emotional and mental space. When you allow “positives” – what makes you feel safe – to get it and block the “negatives”, you’ll notice a major rise in your trust of and connection to your significant other and with that build worthy relationship.