Having healthy boundaries in your marriage is necessary for its long-term success!
What are Healthy Boundaries?
If you have a dog that is prone to run, you may find a way to put up a fence that will keep him on your property. We once had a dog, aptly named Dodger, who would run whenever he got the chance. We live along a very busy highway, and each time he got away, we panicked that he would find his way down onto the road. It would have been nice to get a fence to keep him protected, but with the way our land is laid out, it just wasn’t practical. Putting a fence up for him would have been a healthy boundary, not a way of ruining his life!
Your relationships need boundaries, but not to gain control over the other person. Instead, they are meant to keep the good things in and the bad things out. Boundaries keep your marriage from running out into traffic!
In marriage, think of boundaries as limits you and your spouse agree upon to protect your marriage. Boundaries keep you far away from situations that could damage your relationship. For example, healthy boundaries keep sex and intimacy within your marriage. Crossing those boundaries will destroy the trust you have for your partner.
How definite are the boundaries in your marriage? Are they inflexible, unstable, or somewhere in between? Have you even discussed boundaries to help your marriage?
Read more about boundaries here: How to Establish Boundaries that Protect Your Marriage
Healthy Boundaries are Biblical
Biblically speaking, boundaries are connected to our self-control. God Himself is the author of boundaries.
God sets boundaries for things like our beliefs, identity, thought life, morality, and relationships. Here are some verses that apply to relationship boundaries, whether in marriage or otherwise.
- Matthew 5:28— But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- Proverbs 22:24— Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
- Proverbs 25:17— Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.
- 2 Corinthians 3:14— Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
God establishes boundaries to protect you, and He will reward you for holding yourself to them. In Psalm 147:14, it says, “He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.”
The blessings are inside the boundaries—especially the boundaries of marriage.
We should never trust the flesh by just leaving the boundaries loose or unspoken. There are plenty of seemingly strong Christians who fall into temptation and end up losing their marriages due to adultery. So pray about the boundaries you need in your marriage and pray for the strength and self-control to respect them.
Why do we need boundaries?
There are many benefits to setting and respecting boundaries with your spouse.
First of all, it allows both of you to be more comfortable and secure in your relationship. This security will enable you to develop a positive self-image based on your identity in Christ. When both of you understand who you are, your marriage is stronger. It will be less likely that you will be insecure because of a shaky marriage.
Boundaries teach us to have a safe marriage. We can face challenging situations without fear of hurting or being hurt by our spouse. When the boundaries are in place, it is easier to face adversity together.
You and your spouse are still two distinct individuals with different needs. Setting clear boundaries helps you strike a balance between your individual needs and working as a team.
Having boundaries in place can help you resolve conflicts in your marriage in ways that will not hurt or offend one another. Being able to have rules in place before conflict erupts helps keep your marriage strong and healthy.
Setting up healthy boundaries helps build an atmosphere of respect. Honoring your spouse’s wants, needs, and limitations, and being firm with your own creates an environment where you can both grow and thrive.
Examples of Healthy Boundaries
So, what kinds of boundaries should you set to build an enduring marriage? Here are a few ideas.
- In-laws and family
- Personal privacy
- Time together
- Household chores
- Relationship rules
What healthy boundaries would you add to this list? Have you and your spouse set boundaries that have been particularly helpful in your relationship? Share your ideas in the comments!