My husband and I were married on a rainy hot day in mid July. Our engagement had been long by many peoples standards, two years to be precise. Our long engagement; however, made way for many things to be discussed before the vows were ever spoken over our happily ever after. One of the important topics we discussed were boundaries we wished to set in order to protect our marriage. The statistics for marital divorce, during that time, were high and we were determined not to be a part of the percentage. Our plan: save our marriage before it began.
Although time with one another in marriage helped to expand, define, and erase some of our initial boundaries, the topic of boundaries was one of the most important things we spoke of during our long engagement. These "rules" were not set to control, limit, manipulate, or create hostility. Perimeters were instituted so that we could protect our marriage. One thing we never pretended to be immune to was the big "D" word. Divorce. And so, our first rule set up was that the "D" word was never to be used to manipulate, threaten, or be used when it came to our marriage. This was not because we were immune, however, it was a rule we created because no matter what, this was not an option. And so, our rules were created. Here are some boundaries we created to safe-guard our marriage:
1. The "D" Word (Divorce) is not to be mentioned in reference to our marriage: There are always options and this word should never be used to manipulate or threaten the other. If we safe guard our marriage and keep it strong, this word should never need to be used.
2. We will not ride alone with anyone of the opposite sex unless it is family: This doesn't just safeguard our marriage but also each individual.
3. We will tell each other about all individuals we work with: There are no hidden men or women in our lives. We tell one another about our days each day and openly converse about the individuals we work with or talk to.
4. We do not go out or meet with individuals of the opposite gender alone: I understand work may sometimes require lunch dates with someone (of an opposite gender) from a different company; however, we have always been able to bring along another co-worker for these meetings.
5. We communicate communicate communicate! Talking with one another about our days, our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our worries, our struggles is part of the process and must be discussed.
6. We communicate if our "love tank" is low: Think of a gas tank on your vehicle. When the gas is low, the light comes on. The same is true for us. If we are feeling less than loved, we let our spouse know our feelings.
7. We are open about our attractions: If we are around someone who attracts us, we let our spouse know and make sure to engage as necessary but to be aware, set boundaries, and not to engage more than necessary. We know we can both fulfill this particular boundary because the other spouse is approachable. Our spouses are to be our accountability, not jealously judgmental. My husband and I are very careful to be thankful for each others' honesty rather than make the issue about ourselves. We are careful to be open, non judgmental, and approachable.
8. We have frequent sex and let our partner know if we need it: I know, I know! This is a taboo subject for many; however, my husband and I are very open to let people know: You are the only righteous outlet for your spouse! If your spouse is in need of sex, don't leave them "hangry!" This can create unhealthy lifestyles in which your spouse turns to such as pornography, infidelity, and lust. Just don't go there!
9. Allowing our spouse to participate in activities with friends: Sometimes a guy needs to be a "guy" and a girl need to be a "girl." We allow each other to go our with our individual friends when it is needed/offered. We don't do this frequently; however, it is important. Family time comes first, and we put this as our top priority.
10. We serve others together: Get involved in something outside of yourselves. Help others in need, volunteer together, make memories. These activities will not only help those who your are serving, they will grow you and your spouse in your marriage.
11. We share household chores and burdens together: no one individual needs to feel like the household is "on" them all the time. For Example: My husband washes dishes and folds laundry with me. I mow the lawn and take the trash out. We work together.
12. We parent together: My husband and I present a united front with the kids and talk about disagreements in parenting later. We are always a team. There is never a "Mom vs Dad" war when it comes to parenting and the kids know that. Also, we do not use the phrase, "Wait until your (insert parent), comes home." or "Your (insert parent) is going to punish you when he/she gets home."
13. We have full access to each other's accounts and devices at all times: This rule is not because we don't trust each other but because we *do*! This includes passwords, finances, subscriptions, emails, phones, computers, etc. EVERYTHING!
The cool thing about boundaries within marriage is they are always adaptable to you and your spouse. These boundaries are healthy and work for my husband and I. You may take these and tweak, copy, omit, or change some; however, the important thing is to talk about these with your spouse. It will not only strengthen your marriage, but will allow you both to be confident of the protection and clarity you have surrounded your marriage with.
What are some healthy boundaries you and your spouse instituted within your marriage to protect and strengthen it? If you are not married, what are some you would like to see? If you and your spouse had hard lessons learned within your marriage, what are some you did not think you needed to institute and did?
Feel free to share below! We would love to read your comments!