Boundaries allow couples to prioritize their marriage by setting clear limits on their behaviors and habits. One may think of boundaries as the white lane markings that are painted on roads and interstates. These boundary lines do not restrict progress or travel but they do make driving safer. A well know expression, stay in your lane, allows spouses to avoid the every day temptations to drift away from integrity, fidelity, honesty and purity. I could only Imagine the chaos of driving, if the boundary lines disappeared from our roads. In the same way, couples who observe these boundaries will increase the commitment, intimacy, spiritual growth and trust in their relationships.
All boundaries need to be supported by a value. Let’s examine the value of purity in a relationship. The Scriptures reveal that it is God’s will for us to abstain from lust, greed, pride and sexual immorality (I Thess. 4:3-8). Purity will have a powerful influence on the minds, hearts a bodies of a couple. The next step is to establish boundaries that promote purity in their relationship and personal lives such as not spending time alone or exchanging texts or emails members of the opposite sex. Each day they will reap the benefits and blessings of fulfilling the boundaries that will honor God, one another and their relationship.
- Boundaries should be clearly stated as personal or relationship.
- In addition to what would be considered wise or prudent for any marriage, boundaries should represent any personal struggles such as overspending, social media or contact with the opposite sex so that the marriage is not harmed in any way.
- Couples should develop boundaries together, these boundaries for us.
The following examples come from boundaries that couples have used to protect their marriages.
Value: Financial Stewardship
- No spending beyond an agreed upon amount without talking to your spouse.
- No cash purchases without a receipt.
- No eating out without talking to your spouse beforehand.
- No clothes purchases without agreeing on a spending limit.
- A commitment to live on 90% of our income and tithing ten percent.
Value: Affirming Communication
- No yelling.
- No swearing
- No name calling.
- Practice active listening
- No interrupting
- No talking for more than four minutes at a time (each person is responsible to time him/herself by using the stop watch on their smart phone) in order to give your spouse an opportunity to say, what I heard you say is…. And my response is….
- A commitment to pray before discussing sensitive topics or areas of disagreement.
- No using you always or never statements with each other.
- No rolling of the eyes or folded arms.
- I will respond to any questions that you need to ask me.
- Before I ask you questions about areas of broken trust between us, I will pray about these things and seek God’s timing before speaking to you.
- I will discuss any failures on my part to uphold boundaries that we have agreed upon with my accountability partner and then confess them to you, immediately.
- We agree to never discuss their feelings or other matters of a personal nature with members of the opposite sex.
- We agree never to go to lunch alone with someone of the opposite sex without talking to their spouse first, and spouse agreeing to the lunch or dinner meeting.
- We agree, no secrets between us.
- We agree, no flirting with members of the opposite sex.
- We agree to place content restrictions on the television and internet.
- We agree to disclose any time a boundary has been crossed, even if was accidental.
Prayer: Father, God, with your help and our commitment to these boundaries we ask you to restore areas of broken trust and give us a renewed sense of hope as we obey you and reestablish Jesus as the center of our lives and marriage. Amen.