How to Define Healthy Boundaries with Your Spouse?

How to Define Healthy Boundaries with Your Spouse?

February 04 2023 TalktoAngel 0 comments 171 Views

Everyone is aware of the intention to impose restrictions on our partners. However, it might be unusual and unsettling to think of establishing limits for oneself in marriage. Ultimately, you have no power over your partner. Only you are under your own control. According to Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, and Marriage Counsellor, “Setting boundaries in relationships enables you to specify what you are comfortable doing and how you want to be treated by your spouse”.

Setting boundaries for yourself in a marriage has that inherent nature. You have no control over your partner's actions or words.

However, you have a choice in the manner in which you react. The limits you establish for yourself are also located in that inner decision-making zone.

You select the things you will put up with or suffer. The effects of your spouse's behavior are up to you to decide. You decide if a behavior fosters more intimacy or emotional distance. You make decisions on how to raise issues and resolve disputes on your end.

Where’s the line?

What lines have you already drawn for yourself? Do they experience any abuse? Why? How often, too? And how do you react when these limitations are followed or disregarded? Prior to defining limits for oneself in a marriage, it is important to examine any existing boundaries (or lack thereof).

Relationship Boundaries: Types

Some of the various kinds of limits in partnerships are described by McInnis:

  • Emotional boundaries safeguard each partner's right to have their own ideas, sentiments, and principles without fear of mockery or invalidation. It's common for us to believe that we are responsible for our partner's emotions and moods, but it's crucial to establish emotional boundaries so that we can tell what is and isn't under our control. Setting emotional boundaries entails taking ownership of your own emotions while refusing to take ownership of those of your spouse.
  • Intellectual boundaries: These boundaries safeguard the ideas and viewpoints of each partner. A crucial intellectual barrier is when two people can differ while still recognizing one other's right to their own opinion.
  • Physical boundaries: Partners can convey their preferences for physical contact and use them to define their personal space. They also cover matters pertaining to bodily requirements, such as nutrition, hydration, rest, and well-being.
  • Sexual boundaries: Sexual boundaries are the needs and restrictions that couples have around sexual activity. These can include things like how long you want to be intimate in a relationship, the kinds of contact you are and aren't comfortable with, and the places and times of intimacy that feel most comfortable to you.
  • Time boundaries: Respecting one another's time is a time boundary. They can also entail deciding on parameters for how frequently and how you want to spend your time with your partner. Not feeling pressured to spend every waking hour with your partner is one way to protect your time.
  • Communication boundaries: To better handle conflicts or arguments, communication boundaries can be established. These boundaries may include prohibitions on name-calling, bringing up previous disputes, departing abruptly during a dispute, etc.
  • Material boundaries: Personal goods and wealth are related to material borders. The extent to which you feel comfortable sharing your assets and finances with your partner is up to you.

Strategies to be in a happy healthy marriage

Forgiveness vs. Consequences

In our culture, the concept of forgiveness in marriage is very important. We frequently regard forgiveness as a heroic quality. What's this? It's not always a good idea.

The issue with forgiveness is that it actively counters what could otherwise be a motivating factor for improvement. By eliminating logical consequences, we might also eliminate the tension that encourages transformation.

Don't misunderstand me. I believe in forgiving and bearing with people. But there can be a noticeable difference between showing restraint and tolerance and acting completely without consequences.

If you continue to overlook persistent offenses, your partner's problematic behavior will eventually come to be accepted in the absence of punishment. According to research, couples who were consistently forgiving of their partners were more prone to engage in emotional and physical abuse.

Knee-jerk forgiveness damages a marriage happening all the time. A concealed endorsement of an abusive partner's negative behavior could result from the act of constantly forgiving them.

Be Assertive, Direct, and Honest

Instead of verbally expressing unpleasant emotions, a partner may engage in a pattern of behavior known as passive aggression.

Passive aggression is a pretty common behavior we witness in couples therapy, particularly in men. This is because of how modern life has developed over the last several generations.

There is a discrepancy between what passive-aggressive spouses do and what they say.

A passive-aggressive partner will quickly say, "It doesn't matter," "It's ok," "I'm fine," or "I don't really care," but they'll also express a general sense of irritation and annoyance with the same issue that they previously declined to discuss.

The passive-aggressive spouse's inherent resentment and irritation with their partner's requests is a key characteristic of this personality type.

Complain instead of Criticizing

In a marriage, what does it mean to create boundaries for oneself? It entails being genuinely aggressive and realizing that conflict is both necessary and unavoidable. In a marriage, establishing boundaries requires being honest with yourself about what you want.

True assertiveness is composed, distinct, and clear. Here is what I want, why I want it, and what will benefit you by working with me.

Being aware that their partner is not a mind reader and was not here on earth to oppose their every wish, a differentiated partner asserts themselves.

They don't actively seek out or avoid conflict. But they do have valid issues, and they concentrate on what they want.

Set limits on conflicts

This is quite significant. It's normal to feel irritated or upset with our spouse when they have a different perspective. Any form of powerful feeling has the drawback of impairing our ability to think clearly and communicate with our partner as though they were someone we loved due to physiological arousal.

Making escalation your enemy is part of setting limits in a marriage. An ongoing commitment to maintaining emotional control is necessary for assertive, clear communication.

Conflict Resolution with Resistant Spouse

You might have given yourself some restrictions. However, if your spouse feels constrained and trapped by your boundaries, they might not be keen to follow you or want to be tied by them. If your partner is defying your boundaries, you can try the following:

  • Before deciding on the boundaries, consult your spouse.
  • Allow your spouse the discretion to refuse.
  • The Best Ways to Establish Healthy Boundaries with Your Spouse
  • Admit your mistakes.
  • Keep your spouse's space in mind.
  • Give them some time to adjust to the limitations.
  • Refrain from attacking, withdrawing from, or making your spouse feel guilty.
  • When you breach boundaries, listen to your spouse's advice.

Setting and maintaining boundaries takes a lot of effort. Consequently, it could be difficult and painful. However, having boundaries strengthens your bond and ensures the longevity of your marriage.

You can learn crucial skills for establishing limits for yourself in marriage through science-based couples counselling at TalktoAngel through Online Counselling with the Best psychologist in India and top-rated Online Counsellors. Consult with the best online “Marriage Counsellor near me to overcome conflicts, and set healthy boundaries.

Contributed by: Dr(Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist & Marriage Coach &  Ms. Aditi Bhardwaj




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