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Why Boundaries in Marriage Are Good for Your Relationship

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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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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