Boundaries are well-defined and clearly identified in land deals. This helps owners to know their limits of ownership. Respecting the limits allows neighbors not to encroach into other’s space. In any organization, job descriptions, rules and regulations have the same effect. Effectiveness and productivity of the organization rest upon respecting each other’s boundaries of space and work.
If respect of the other is the basis of functioning within the set boundaries in the above instances, growing in love with each other is the basis for setting boundaries in marriage. Or to develop oneness in spirit, mind, and body is the goal rather than controlling each other or to force the other into your mold.
In the first stage of marriage, namely romance, even when boundaries are not well defined, this stage will care for itself as the newness the couple enjoy, may cause them to focus on loving each other. Here the couple ignores each other’s faults thus getting along and pleasing each other become their priorities. Brain also comes in our aid as it releases chemicals like Oxytocin, Phenylethylamine and Dopamine which set one’s heart thumping thus feeling similar to being “high on drugs.”
However, it is necessary to set boundaries in Romance stage itself. Just like all other stones in a foundation will be set in reference to the cornerstone in a foundation, some key patterns of words and deeds set during this stage will further guide couple’s life. Setting of boundaries may not naturally evolve. It needs deliberateness from both partners but either of the two can take the initiative. Thus it is neither an autocratic process nor just the interest of one person. Even in the midst of enjoying each other’s company both husband and wife can create a list of boundaries to steer their life together. This may not be an exhaustive list but surely it is the cornerstone.
As there is an urge in pleasing each other during Romance stage, the couple may be willing to do anything for each other. This is the stage in which they have certain high ideals about one’s marriage. Thus it is easier to set boundaries during this stage. One limitation may come from the fact that couple sees each other only through the beautiful, rose coloured glass which can create fuzzy vision. Yet with little effort realities can be brought to one’s perception. Besides this is just the initial attempt, the beginning of listing boundaries of their married life.
Boundaries can be set during any stage in marriage. Yet newlyweds have an added advantage. From the beginning itself they can avoid causing damage to their relationship and others. Yet for others who have been married for some time, it is better late than never. If the couple has the intention of creating oneness, let a new chapter emerge in life with clearly defined boundaries. While past issues are to be resolved they can avoid creating further damage in and through them.
What are some common boundaries that couples usually set? Family will pray together twice/once a day. Settle all disagreements before sleep. Always sleep in the same bed even when there is disagreement. Discuss disagreements not in anger. Not to use words like “divorce” and “suicide” in family discussion. Not to hit each other or use foul language. Not to discipline children in anger. Family will have at least one meal together. The family will visit their parents once a week/month/year. Never tease each other before others. Never to place one in a vulnerable situation where one is mentally/emotionally/physically attracted or attached to someone else other than one’s spouse. Take money from each other’s purse only with mutual understanding.
The list can go on. It is to be tailored according to context of one’s family but with the aim of growing in oneness in spirit, mind, and body. One life to live, why don’t we live life to the fullest and enable others to do so!