Part 2: Why You Need Boundaries in Love and Life
Boundaries inform people about what matters most to you and how you manage your time, life, and energy. They demonstrate your beliefs, priorities, and values.
Just as we use fences and gates to protect our personal property, boundaries are the invisible fences that protect our wellbeing.
In general, there are six different areas of our life and wellbeing where boundaries apply.
Material boundaries have to do with anything you own. What are your expectations for when people borrow your stuff? When do you expect it to be returned? Do you even want people using your stuff? Further, what are your rules for any physical possessions that are jointly shared? Material boundaries help prevent relationships from being ruined over physical possessions.
What are your rules regarding your privacy and body? How do you want people to interact with you physically? Do you prefer handshakes to hugs? Do you prefer fist-bumps or no contact at all? How loud do you want the music to be played in your home? You get the idea.
Thoughts & Beliefs
What are your values and beliefs? Your mental boundaries determine to what extent you allow other people to influence your opinions and beliefs. They empower you to disengage from conversations or situations that are offensive or compromise your standards.
One of the most important things you can do is decide what type of emotional environment you want for your life. Your emotional boundaries guide and protect your feelings and emotional state. They protect you from yourself because you take charge of your emotions instead of letting your feelings control you. Emotional boundaries protect you from being manipulated by the agenda of other people.
Sexual boundaries are your rules for sexual interaction. Since this is a marriage blog, sexual boundaries apply to your sexual activity with your spouse. What, where, and when do you want to interact sexually? Are there any times or circumstances in which you want to refrain from sexual activity? What are you comfortable with? What activities do you want to avoid? The topic of sexual interaction can be very difficult and uncomfortable. If sexual activity/inactivity is causing conflict in your marriage, please see a licensed therapist for help before it’s too late because if left unaddressed, sexual conflict will end your relationship.
Spirituality & Faith
What are your rules or expectations for encountering God? How do you wish to express your faith? These boundaries apply primarily to yourself. But, what are your spiritual boundaries with your partner? Do you expect them to share your faith journey? Are there parts of your faith journey you wish to take alone? What kind of relationship will you have with people whose beliefs differ from yours?
When it comes to boundaries, it can feel a little overwhelming. Review this list. Is there an area of your life where setting boundaries in one or more of these six general areas would enhance your wellbeing? If so, take a piece of paper and list what you will no longer tolerate in that area of your life; and also make a list of what you expect from yourself and others in that area of your life starting today.
In our next post, we’ll cover how to set boundaries.