Updated: Dec 14, 2020
● Have you ever said ‘yes’ to your partner when you'd rather say ‘no’?
● Do you expect your partner to know how you feel, want and/or need?
● Have you ever kept quiet regarding an issue you feel strongly about in order to avoid conflict?
● Have you ever promised to do something you don’t want to just so your partner will stop insisting?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you are not alone. Many couples find communicating what is OK and what is not OK in their relationship, an intimidating and difficult conversation to have. A lot of the hesitation about setting boundaries may have to do with misconceptions. Boundaries are not meant to be walls that separate and create distance between you and your partner. On the contrary, they are helpful guidelines that you two would set for yourselves. It involves knowing and sharing your values when it comes to your relationship.
How you want to be treated. How to address disagreements. What you consider to be a priority as you share your life together, What is negotiable and what is not. Both of you have your own thoughts and emotions, and each one of you is responsible for verbalizing them. You can’t read your partner’s mind; any more than your partner can read yours. So, don’t overlook this important aspect of your relationship. Acknowledging and sharing your boundaries with each other, will facilitate your feeling safe and respected in your relationship while allowing the both of you to remain true to your needs, feelings, and what you consider good and worthy: the essence of who you are. What can be more important than that?
Openly discussing your boundaries reduces the probability of potential misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions. In my work with the couples I prepare for marriage, I have found that setting boundaries reduces the number of fights or arguments in general. You see, letting your partner know what is ok and what is not permissible allows each of you to assume responsibility for your part in the health and satisfaction you experience in regard to your relationship. Managing conflict becomes a lot easier for the both of you in the long run.
Tips for boundary setting A few things to consider and remember when setting boundaries. 1. Share with an open heart. Be as honest as possible. 2. Listen with empathy. Abstain from judging. Ensure that your partner feels heard, valued and cared for. Now, explore and share: ● What do you find unfair or offensive? ● What should be kept between the two of you and rarely shared with others? ● Compromise when appropriate. Give and take is a part of any healthy relationship. ● Ask, don't assume that you know how your partner is feeling.
While you may find that you share similar boundaries, boundaries are unique and personal at the same time. Being flexible is crucial, so take the time to pause and examine what you both want and how it will affect the other.
I want you to see the value and power of boundary setting. It is about being present, emotionally accessible and empathetic to your partner’s needs while acknowledging and respecting your own needs as well. By being open and having an honest and open conversation with your partner, you are building a bridge of understanding and love that connects and strengthen your bond, not a wall that divides. Remember this.