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Why You Need to Define Boundaries in a Marriage
Posted by:    |  Feb 18, 2020
Boundaries in Marriage

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

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

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.

Final Words

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.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in New York City
License # : 000697