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Published on January 3, 2020

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.

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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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