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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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