Marriage relationships can be difficult to figure out at times. When you are married, a lot of the boundaries you have established with other people will come down. There is a whole list of things that you should be doing with your spouse that isn’t good to do with anyone else.
Does that mean you can’t have boundaries in your marriage? Of course not! Boundaries are completely and 100% important to have in all relationships, including your marriage.
Boundaries you have in marriage are going to look different for each couple. This is true for any relationship really. Since we are all individuals, our boundaries are going to look different than other people’s boundaries.
Why Are Boundaries Necessary in Relationships?
Before we can talk about how boundaries are needed in marriage, we have to understand why it is important to have boundaries with others. Basically, boundaries define how a relationship between two people work.
For example, with my children, we have boundaries in place when it comes to living space. Each of my children are blessed enough to have their own bedrooms. Even when they shared bedrooms, we helped them establish boundaries for each other’s space.
The rules we help them to establish is that no one is allowed to go into someone’s room without permission from that person. This is a boundary that has been established to help my boys relate with one another. They are allowed to tell their brothers that they may not come into their room for whatever reason they choose.
Think of boundaries as rules for how to relate to one another in a relationship. This will help you when it comes to put rules in place in your marriage.
What do Boundaries Look Like in Marriage?
Like I said before, when you get married, your boundaries are drastically changed. You do not allow other people to have access to your body and space the way you do your spouse. That does not mean that there are no rules in place, but the rules are different.
Each couple has to decide what is important to them and ask their spouse to respect their wishes. I can’t tell you what boundaries you should put in place in your marriage, but I can give you a few examples of the boundaries that are established in my own marriage.
Privacy in the Bathroom
We have a rule in our house, if someone is in the bathroom, you leave them alone. This not only applies to our children, but it applies to us. Austin and I do not come in on each other while the other is using the bathroom.
Privacy in Communications
If I wanted to go read my husband’s emails and text messages, he would let me. However, I wouldn’t do that without his permission. This is a boundary we have established in our marriage.
We are both entitled to our privacy when it comes to communication with others. This would change if either of us expected inappropriate relationships were happening. Until that point, we stay out of each other’s mail and text messages.
Ask Before Making Plans
Neither of us will make plans without asking the other one first. This rule only applies when the plans will affect the other one. My husband does not have to clear work meetings that take place during his regular hours with me.
However, if he needs to work on off hours, he is going to talk to me about it first. I do the same thing with him. We both have the freedom to make plans that won’t affect the other.
All Purchases Are Discussed
Before either of us make any purchase, we talk about it with one another. This doesn’t apply to grocery shopping per se, even though my husband knows when I go to the grocery store. We have a budget and so I don’t clear necessities with him.
However, if either of us wants something that is not in already established in our budget, we talk about it ahead of time.
We Are Allowed to Say no To Physical Affection
Even though we have a wonderful and active sex life, both of us are allowed to say no to the other when it comes to physical affection. This can be no to sex or other forms of physical affection like hugs and kisses.
We have huge respect for each other’s bodies. If I don’t want to be touched, I get to say no to him. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt his feelings, but he will respect me. Truth be told, I’m a touch-me-not a lot of the time.
Respect Each Other’s Time
It is really important to Austin and I to respect each other’s time. If he has things he needs to get done and I’m distracting him, I try to leave him alone. He does the same thing for me.
I try not to presume upon him and he does the same thing for me. We never sign each other up for stuff or commit the other to something without asking.
If my husband needs alone time, I respect that. If he sees I need alone time, he has to just about push me out the door (yes, I’m that stubborn).
Time is valuable, and it is not my place to decide how Austin spends it. It isn’t his job to determine how I spend my time either. This is a difficult thing to negotiate in marriage, because there are things I need him to do and vice versa.
The way we handle it, is I will ask him to do something that only he can do. He is then responsible for putting it on his schedule and seeing that it happens. I have to be patient and wait for him to accomplish the task. He handles this the same way with me.
Every Couple Must Determine Their Rules
These are all personal preference for me in my relationship. Some couples have no problems with the things I have established in my relationship. The point here is that this is what works in my marriage.
When it comes to boundaries, the thing to remember is that these rules are put in place to make sure the relationship works in a healthy way. For the most part, it all comes down to personal preference.
The lines must be established by the couple. If one person is ok with something and the other person isn’t, then the couple needs to decide to respect the wishes of the one that feels uncomfortable.
If you do not have clear cut rules in your marriage, then you will need to take the time to work through your boundaries. It takes time to put these lines in place. Do not get discouraged if you have to remind your spouse of the rules you discussed.
Give each other grace and time to adjust to the rules. Even if you have boundaries, throughout your marriage, you’ll need to re-negotiate. Life changes, which means the way you interact changes as well.
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.