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How to Negotiate Boundaries in a Marriage

by Kristen Moutria, studioD

Negotiating boundaries in a marriage may be overwhelming at first. You might not be aware of what kind of boundaries you should build, or what the significance of a boundary is for marriage. However, Jane Collingwood reports on "PsychCentral" that setting clear personal boundaries in a relationship will ensure it is mutually respectful, caring and supportive. Talking with your spouse about a few key issues will help ensure you both know what to expect from one another.

Discuss Confidentiality

Emphasize the importance of keeping important issues between the two of you. Julie Baumgardner reports on "First Things First" that talking to other people about things you have not discussed with each other can be hazardous to your marriage's health. Instead, discuss why you want important subjects to stay between the two of you, instead of being spread to outside parties. Doing so demonstrates love and mutual respect as well as promotes trust in the marriage.

Reflect on the Importance of Honesty

Talk to each other about how important honesty is to each of you in order to build a healthy boundary in your relationship. Keeping even a small, seemingly inconsequential truth from your spouse can lead to deterioration of your marriage, say Henry Cloud and John Townsend, authors of "Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships." Being open with one another not only promotes intimacy, but integrity as well. Let your spouse know that she does not have to be afraid to tell you the truth, and that she can feel confident knowing you will respect what she has to tell you.

Analyze the Significance of Fidelity

Bring up fidelity when learning to prioritize the boundaries in your marriage. Faithfulness in your relationship will promote safety and trust, and cheating on your spouse is a huge violation of boundaries, Cloud and Townsend say. However, not every married couple subscribes to these particular marriage values. You may be alright with the idea of an open relationship, and your spouse may also prefer this. Talk to your spouse about what would happen if you found out he was cheating. Letting him know that you will not put up with any sort of infidelity unless an open relationship is agreed on will help clarify your standards and define your priorities.

Emphasize Forgiveness

Be honest with each other about the necessity of forgiveness in your relationship. Neither you nor your spouse is perfect, and you will undoubtedly do something that offends your significant other in the course of your marriage. However, it may be difficult to forgive your partner if he does something that you do not see yourself as able to overcome. Let your spouse know what you would forgive and what might be very difficult for you to let go of-- for example, being cheated on-- and explain why.


About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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