Setting Boundaries in Relationships, marriage
Look at this scenario critically.
“Babarinde and Wuraola have been married for 5 years now. Babarinde is highly critical of whatever Wuraola does or says. In spite of the effort she put into her work, attitude, and behavior, he always criticized and nitpicked on her. The truth is that Wuraola let that happen to her. She never tried to stop him or stood up for herself. This could have been avoided if there were some boundaries set early in the relationship”
When two people are in love there might not be any boundaries. But when love translates into marriage, there is a need to draw limits. Setting rules and guidelines ensure that both the partners are happy and know where they need to stop. That helps keep the marriage healthy for a lifetime.
How do you set boundaries in your marriage? Before you announce your partner’s limits, set an example by coming up with boundaries for yourself. This will encourage your spouse to follow suit.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set boundaries in a marriage:
- Identify your feelings and accept them: The first step in building boundaries is to know and understand your feelings. You may get caught in your spouse’s emotions and feelings, and tend to overlook yours. Recognize and understand what is making you feel bad or depleted in the marriage. Take the time out and introspect.
- Analyze if boundaries have been broken: Once you know your feelings, understand what is making you feel that way. For example, your spouse is coming home late regularly, criticizing you repeatedly, or you are yelling at your partner, annoyed at him/ her that they are not doing things your way, and so on.
- Determine how to set your boundary: Once you know the cause(s) for your hard feelings, setting boundaries becomes easy. For example, if your spouse is coming home late every day, you can tell them, “I am not going to wait for you, the food will be in the refrigerator, and you can heat and eat it”. If they are criticizing you always, you can simply walk away and ignore.
- Communicate your boundary: Convey your boundaries to your spouse. There would be a certain amount of resistance and conflict, but explain the things in detail so that your spouse will see reason in your decision.
- Stick to your boundaries: After you define the boundaries, you need to stick to them to make the boundaries work. Don’t leave any margin for the other person to overstep boundaries. If you are deviating the limits, then take a break, relax, meditate, or do whatever you can to put yourself back on track.
Boundaries act like lifeboats during the uncertain tides of marriage. Nevertheless, there are many misconceptions surrounding them. Forget all of that and set the boundaries to enjoy your marriage.