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Why Boundaries in Marriage Are Good for Your Relationship

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Why Boundaries in Marriage Are Good for Your Relationship

If you’re wondering why marriage is so hard, you are not alone. It’s true that all couples go through difficulties in their marriages. Yes, you read that right. Marriage is definitely an undertaking for adults who are mature enough to handle the relationship dynamics.

Theoretically, a marriage is about two people sharing everything with each other; however, realistically, statistics show that when boundaries in marriage are absent, the marriage probably won’t last.

1. Emotional Boundaries Strengthen the Emotional Connection in a Marriage

Emotional connection is the most important pillar in a marriage because it is the foundation of a genuine relationship. But what is emotional connection?

Well, emotional connection refers to authentic love experienced in a marriage, for example you actually appreciate each other; have many shared experiences in life; and you try your best not to hurt each other’s feelings.

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to strengthen the emotional connection in a marriage is not experiencing all life has to offer with each other. The fact is that emotional boundaries are essential in every sustainable marriage. Let me explain.

Let’s say you love your spouse so much that you are together 24/7 and you never give each other any space. This marriage will eventually have a suffocating effect on either or both partners which will lead to arguments.

Now I’d like you to imagine this: Both you and your spouse are invited to a party. You took time to go to the gym first, because that fulfills you as a person. When you arrive at the party, your spouse is already there and you see them working the room, interacting with many different people and obviously having fun. At this moment, as you notice your spouse’s charisma from a distance, it makes you realize how charming he/she is.

Then when you join your spouse, you feel more attracted to them, right? And they feel attracted to you because you’re feeling pumped and happy from exercising and looking after your body.

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This is a typical example of a couple setting emotional boundaries in a marriage. You give each other some space which gives you both an opportunity to observe how wonderful your spouse is from a distance. As a result, you get to appreciate each other even more. Emotional boundaries such as this will strengthen the emotional connection in your marriage.

World-class entrepreneur Lisa Bilyeu started multiple businesses with her husband, so they’ve had lots of shared experiences. Nonetheless, when Lisa Bilyeu decided to start her own podcast (The Sheroic Podcast), she didn’t ask her husband to be involved in it. Instead, she asked her friend Cassey Ho to be her co-host. Whenever her husband went to see her in the studio, he saw a different side of Lisa.

“I can see that Lisa is such a multi-dimensional woman, and I felt even more attracted to her when I saw her photo shoot for her podcast,” says her husband, “I’m so proud of my wife.”

2. Physical Boundaries Improve the Quality of Intimacy in a Marriage

While having your own interests is paramount in maintaining and building attraction in your relationship, many marriages fail due to miscommunication and intimacy problems in the bedroom.

Sexual intimacy isn’t something that most couples discuss prior to marriage and this can cause problems when a couple’s sexual preferences are mismatched.

There are no hard and fast rules here (pardon the pun) other than it’s important not to get your sex education from porn which can result in unrealistic expectations and a lack of true intimacy.

Hence, setting physical boundaries around intimacy can be paramount in your marriage. But what does that mean?

Setting physical boundaries in marriage means you communicate to your partner what you like and what you don’t like, so your partner doesn’t have to go through a process of elimination or feel frustrated that they seem unable to fulfill you.

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It’s also important to resolve any functional intimacy issues as they will otherwise contaminate a happy marriage. These common challenges are often the result of focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time which results in your brain being confused as to what you want.

Therefore, you may consider consulting a professional sex therapist if you are keen to find out the best approach for your marriage in this regard. After all, intimacy is the second pillar in a marriage.

3. Financial Boundaries Are the Cornerstone of an Invincible Marriage

To be fair, nobody’s marriage is 100% invincible because love is relatively vulnerable in front of human nature.[1]

That being said, according to my observation, the most invincible marriages all share something in common: they have clear financial boundaries.

How can we set financial boundaries in marriage?

First, couples who have a lot of wealth may consider getting a prenup or a post-nup agreement. I know this doesn’t sound like the most romantic thing in the world. However, money is the third pillar of a relationship and when you sign a prenup or a post-nup, you know that no matter what happens, you will remain financially stable.

Although it’s important to note that these agreements can become an excuse to not try harder to work things out when you have disagreements, which may lead to your marriage breaking up.

If you already have healthy emotional and physical boundaries in place, then you are well on your way to improving your overall intimate connection.

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Healthy financial boundaries in your marriage may look more like the following:

You and your spouse have a shared bank account which takes care of all shared expenditure in the household (e.g. housing, bills, etc.) and you also have some shared savings/investments.

Then you and your spouse have personal bank accounts – you don’t share your passwords with each other. You use your personal bank account to do things you want to do, no matter if it’s investing or buying designer shoes – this is totally up to you.

Meanwhile, your spouse uses their personal bank account to do things they want to do. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’ve had honest discussions to set financial boundaries in marriage beforehand.

This method is liberating because it gives you the right amount of freedom you need in a marriage.

4. Boundaries in Marriage Help You Stress Less

The most stress and anxiety come from trying to control what is outside of your control. For example, trying to control your partner makes you become stressed and anxious and also alienates your partner.

In other words, a marriage without boundaries leads to controlling behaviors which cause stress and anxiety for all concerned. Thus, you need to understand what’s under your control and what’s outside your control in your marriage. All of your actions are under your control – or they should be.

While you cannot control your spouse’s behavior, you most certainly can influence it. The best way to influence your spouse is to be the best version of yourself. This naturally encourages your partner to match your effort.

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Obviously, having boundaries in your marriage and being in charge of your emotional reactions will help you reduce anxiety and enjoy a more fulfilling connection.

5. Boundaries in Marriage Facilitate Professional Growth

Spending all day every day with your spouse may not expand your outlook and probably won’t help you with your career unless you have a shared business, direction and purpose.

According to Keith Ferrazzi, the majority of career opportunities come from weak links, i.e. acquaintances rather than your spouse/family members/friends. That’s because you and your inner circle are very likely to share the same resources and information – if your spouse/family/friends can help you with your career, they must have done it already.[2]

In contrast, you and your weak links share very different resources and information, so your weak links are much more likely to help you with your career.

So, if you are looking to have more professional growth, you will benefit from building relationships with your weak links instead of spending all of your time with your spouse.

6. Boundaries in Marriage Add More Fun to Your Life

When you allow some space in your marriage, you can stay flirtatious and continually increase attraction between you and your spouse forever. Never stop seducing your spouse and you can both enjoy the fun that comes with creating a great marriage!

The art of seduction is a journey rather than a destination. Keep creating fun moments along your journey!

7. Boundaries in Marriage Give You Opportunities to Grow Together

Because you’ve set boundaries in marriage, you actually both have more flexibility which allows you to adjust according to different situations in life. As a result, you and your spouse will be well-calibrated and can grow together in harmony in the long run.

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Final Thoughts

All couples go through difficulties in their marriages, however, by creating the right boundaries in your marriage you will ensure happiness and wellbeing.

More Marriage Advice

Featured photo credit: Kyle Bearden via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Robert Greene: The Laws of Human Nature
[2] Keith Ferrazzi: Never Eat Alone

More by this author

Jacqui Olliver

Psychosexual Relationship Specialist

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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