Part 8: Boundaries Within Families
Boundaries within families are important. Having boundaries for your spouse and children will create a happier marriage and home life.
Time & Space Boundaries
Marriage is one of the most challenging yet joyful relationships anyone can experience. But your relationship with your partner doesn’t automatically get easier when you get married. This is where boundaries can help.
Boundaries can help keep you and your spouse from taking each other for granted. They can also help ensure that you both feel respected and appreciated.
A common marital challenge people face is maintaining their sense of individuality. It’s easy to lose yourself in each other’s life when you live together. And although marriage is about two people becoming “one,” you’re not supposed to lose your sense of identity or individuality. So consider setting a boundary that allows you to have time apart and use that time to stay connected with friends and friends.
Also, do you have passions or interests you wish you had more time for? Consider setting a boundary that allows for time away from family to pursue your passions. Allow your partner the same courtesy so both of you feel individually fulfilled.
In addition to time away boundaries, emotional boundaries are important to marital happiness. Emotional boundaries deepen the emotional connection between partners because they allow the spouses to better understand each other in terms of their emotions and needs.
Emotional boundaries can include when and where to discuss your feelings, how to fight, and addressing behaviors that make you feel unappreciated. Share your emotional boundaries with your spouse so they know what they need to respect. And allow them to state their emotional boundaries so you can honor and respect their emotional boundaries too.
It’s easy to feel like your personal space is being infringed upon when living with someone. Consider setting physical boundaries with your spouse so they know how to treat you and your things.
As you will see, it’s normal for certain boundaries to overlap in marriage. For example, physical boundaries in marriage can pertain to alone time, shared spaces, and shared chores. Physical boundaries help both parties feel happy, safe, and comfortable in their home.
Though it’s rarely talked about, both spouses should respect each other’s sexual limits, preferences, desires, and needs. Neither should force the other to do what they don’t want to do or what they believe is morally wrong. Also, neither spouse should force unwanted sexual interaction on their partner.
Being truthful with each other and having open conversations about the importance and frequency of sexual activity is essential to a happy marriage.
Boundaries and Kids
Parenting can feel overwhelming sometimes. It’s easy to feel like you exist for the sake of your children and that your home is no longer your own. Realize that it’s okay to set boundaries with your children to let them know you’re in charge.
Consider setting “no-go zone” boundaries with your kids. No-zones boundaries are what you won’t tolerate. Examples include how they treat their siblings, how they speak to you, and whether they’re allowed in your bedroom, etc. Share your no-go zones boundaries with your kids so they know what to expect.
Also, consider boundaries that structure the day. These include set times for bath time and bedtime, screen time, playtime, etc. Adhering to a set bedtime is healthy for the children and for you because it gives you and your spouse regular time to connect.
Children test boundaries. So it’s important to be firm, warm, and consistent so they know you’re serious. If you’re inconsistent, your child won’t respect your boundaries.
Although it’s a little difficult, you need to follow through if your child breaks a boundary. Make sure they know the consequences in advance and enforce them to teach your child to respect the boundary. Just know, chances are your child won’t respect your boundaries at first. So, be patient and kind with them, but be ready to enforce consequences.
It’s important to set and honor boundaries within the home. Regarding marriage, create boundaries for time away, emotional intimacy, and physical space.
Additionally, have no-go zone boundaries for your children and boundaries that structure the day. Boundaries within the family result in a happier and healthier life for you, your marriage, and your family.