It's OK To Have Boundaries In Marriage

It's OK To Have Boundaries In Marriage

In relationships, boundaries don't inhibit growth, they foster it. Boundaries don't limit connection; they provide a safe framework for vulnerability.

But what do you mean its ok to have boundaries in marriage?!

With eyebrows raises and mouths dropped open, that's what seemed to be painted on the faces of couples sitting around in a circle one evening of our marriage mentor group when I said it 'I think boundaries are needed in marriage. We've found they increase the health of our relationship and deepen our intimacy.'

The belief was not one I arrived at over night, in fact its take over three years of marriage to endorse. Boundaries in dating was a normal thing. Not just physical boundaries but emotional boundaries too. There was too much hype about boundaries and then the day we walked down the aisle, exchanging vows and rings, poof, I thought all the boundaries were supposed to just disappear. We went from having all these boundaries while we were dating and then took a hard right turn into marriage where I felt like I wasn't supposed to have any boundaries. But the idea and practice of no boundaries in marriage is not the healthiest and we began to discover that through our time in counseling.

When I first began to ponder the necessity of boundaries in marriage and whether they were good or bad. I felt like I was wading treacherous territory. In every other area of my, I had boundaries, they were a good thing.

One boundary I had set was not respond to work emails on the weekend to protect my time off with my husband, family and friends. Another was not answering my phone at the table whether at home or at a restaurant because, barring an emergency, the people around the table are more important than anything else at that moment. That boundary has helped to protect my priorities and communicate the value and importance of the person sitting across the table from me. In the emergency department where I work, when patients or family members get angry, I do not allow them to use colorful adjectives or call me explicit names. Communicating by that boundary says that it is not ok to speak to me that way.

As I considered boundaries in every other area of my life, I found that they all provided safety, promoted healthy relationships and delineated my priorities.

It seems counterintuitive but boundaries act to provide safety.

We don't question the need for warning signs on fireworks. We don't challenge the necessity of the concrete median that runs down the middle of the interstate. Boundaries aren't bad, boundaries are meant to protect, to ensure safety.

Boundaries are simple; boundaries say what is ok and what is not ok. When we approach boundaries in marriage with that simplistic mindset, we set our relationship up to grow and thrive.

Boundaries aren't a crazy list of 'don'ts.' They're usually small, seemingly insignificant, but their importance is huge.

Boundaries for us include not making fun of the idiosyncrasies of the others family. Another includes choosing to engage in serious conversations upon the other initiative rather than joking around, though the conversation may be uncomfortable.

A simple boundary I have set is that, until my husband has had his coffee and breakfast in the morning, I don't ask him to help with anything around the house, I don't ask him to take out the trash, I don't ask him to help unload the dishwasher, nothing. That boundary is one of respect for him, knowing that he likes to wake up slowly, have his coffee and breakfast and then he will be fully present and ready to start a new day with me.

On a more serious level, when we get into conflict and the tension starts to escalate, if one says 'I need to take sometime before I'm ready to continue having this conversation' the other person gives them space and respects what they've asked. That's a boundary that has served to prevent small disagreements from becoming big throw down fights where we say things we don't actually mean and things we regret.

We never ever joke about the others body, not when we're lounging around the house in sweatpants, not when we're hitting the beach in our swimsuits and definitely not during sex. This boundary has created freedom and safety, trusting that we will never hear a critical remark or joke from the other made about our bodies. This boundary has deepened the emotional and physical intimacy we are able to experience together through the freedom of vulnerability.

In relationships, boundaries don't inhibit growth, they foster it. Boundaries don't limit connection; they provide a safe framework for vulnerability.

Boundaries aren't bad. In marriage, boundaries are imperative to promote emotional and relational health. Boundaries provide a framework of safety by which we are able to know a deeper, richer and truer love.

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My Friend Got Sick In The Dominican Republic

From visiting the beautiful beaches to spending six hours in a hospital of a foreign country.


I visited the Dominican Republic from June 7 to June 14 this summer for my high school graduation trip. My family and best friend Jordan stayed at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana. I'm not hopping onto the bandwagon of all these stories coming out about this country that relies so much on tourism. I'm not here to condemn the resort or the country, because despite all the trouble I went through, I had an amazing time. I'm simply here to tell my story about what happened.

Right before we left for the trip, we heard all the stories about people dying in the country. This obviously made us all paranoid because we didn't want to end up like those people. We wanted to be careful. Most of the people who died at resorts had a drink from the minibar in the hotel and were poisoned by insecticides, had bloody diarrhea, throwing up blood, and had eventually had respiratory problems. We were aware of the symptoms and were knowledgable before going into this foreign country.

The first four days of the trip we were all having an amazing time. We enjoyed the beautiful beaches, swimming in the fourteen different pools, and eating like gluttons. I met so many beautiful and kind people from the Dominican Republic. Every person welcomed us as "familia", Spanish for family. On the fourth day, we decided to go on an excursion through the hotel. We went snorkeling and swam through the clear blue water. Jordan and I danced with the crew members on the boat. We shopped for souvenirs from locals and finally called it a day.

When we got back on the bus to the resort, my dad was shivering and was short of breath. His stomach was cramping and his forehead was on fire like he had a fever. After the longest thirty minutes of my life worrying about him, we finally made it back and he rushed to the bathroom. For the next twelve hours, he rested in the hotel room. The next day he was fine and had seemed to just catch a twenty-four bug.

Then, the next night Jordan was spending a lot of time in the bathroom. I figured it was just because she was adjusting the spicy food of the Dominican and that it would pass. In the morning when I had woken up, she told me had a fever and had been going to the bathroom every hour. My mom gave her anti-diarrhea medicine and she felt better the next day after resting in the room. We got her dinner of a small pizza and we went to bed, an uneventful day.

Jordan woke me up at 2 A.M. that night calling my name from the bathroom and asking for a trashcan. It was coming out of both ends at this point. After calling my mom and her dad, who was still in the U.S., we decided to call the resort doctor and have her come to the room. The doctor then determined that she was extremely dehydrated and needed to be transported to the hospital.

We got there at 4:30 A.M.. and Jordan had an IV put into her with anti-diarrhea medicine and saline. After multiple tests, the doctors said that she had a bacterial infection in her stomach. They gave her antibiotics and multiple packets of pills to take home and we left the clinic at 10:30 A.M. at last. She's going to be fine, but we were all scared because of all the news stories going on.

When we got back to the resort, multiple people who we had seen at the clinic came up to us and told us how their relatives experienced the same thing Jordan had. When I did some research, an article stated that 45 people had gotten violently ill from eating at the Toro restaurant at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, which is where we ate the night before Jordan got sick.

We were lucky, you could say. I'm not sure it's necessarily all the resort's fault or the country's though. Although all these things happened to us, I believe that it's a matter of doing your research before you go to any country. Any country's food could make you sick. We don't know exactly where Jordan or my dad got sick from. All these bad news stories coming out could've played into why we reacted so harshly.

Saying all this, I would still love to visit the Dominican Republic again. I want to visit so many other countries across the world. For anyone else that is reading this and is scared to visit a country like this, I say just go for it. Know the risks, but know that there are rewards. You can't let fear hold you back from living your life, because dying in America is just as likely from other things.

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