Communicating boundaries: As a Christian couple boundaries are very important. However, most couples don’t know how to communicate boundaries in their relationships the right way.
In this article, and also in our youtube channel we give you some of our experiences and share tips on the best way to communicate boundaries in your relationship.
My wife and I have been working and mentoring couples for a while now and one of the most important sessions we have with them is this session on communicating boundaries. Having healthy personal and relationship boundaries is something that we consider a very important and necessary step in any dating experience.
If you have no idea what a boundary is we simply define it as a guard rail or limits. It’s what you allow or not allow.
These five steps will help you communicate boundaries in your relationship the right way, by giving you ideas on how to brainstorm on what boundaries you should have in your relationship. We recommend you go through this process with your partner.
If you prefer reading a book we recommend “Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships” By by Henry Cloud (Author), John Townsend.
These are the five steps;
Step 1: Establish And write Your Desired Boundaries
The first step is to understand what each of you values in a relationship. Being sure of what you stand for will help the two of you have the best relationship ever. When you bring on the table your list and your partner do the same. The two of you now can discuss and see what each other values the most and find a common ground on a way forward. You will not have everything in common but the common things will keep you going.
Many people today are in relationships that they don’t want to be in because they haven’t gotten the opportunity to sit and think through what they really want. Establishing what you want in any relationship is the highest form of maturity. That means you are not just going through the motion, you are completely aware of what you are doing emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
If you want to have healthy and working boundaries in your relationship you need to be aware of what you want personally in the relationship. We all want a working thriving relationship but it’s not automatic. A relationship is about two people who are different, have different views, perspectives, cultures, backgrounds, and dreams coming together to form one common thing.
With these differences, we all come into a relationship wanting something based on either where we are coming from, where we are currently, or where we are going eventually. And this is the thing that informs your boundaries. As you write down your list consider thinking through what you value, your faith, your culture, your beliefs, your background, your past, and your future. As you brainstorm and come up with these boundaries, write them down in a list.
Step 2: Communicate Non-Negotiable and Negotiable
After going through the process of writing down what you desire in the relationship as boundaries. You need to divide your list into two, non-negotiable and negotiable.
When we say non-negotiable we mean things you are not willing to compromise no matter what. I remember when we were dating my wife and I were coming from a different school of thoughts concerning some issues. One of them was kissing. For me kissing was not a bad thing and had no issue with it, however, to her kissing was a sin.
At first it was hard for me to understand where my girlfriend (my wife now) where she was coming from. And that brought us to the next step.
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
[Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961]”
― John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Step 3: Clarify the Why
Now you both know what the other person value. It’s common for many couples to find themselves not agreeing on something based on how each one views that thing. That brings us to the third step which is to clarify the why.
This step involves a process of discussing listening and understanding the other person’s perspective. help your partner understand why you want what you want, and be willing to hear from them why they disagree with you. A healthy debate is good for any relationship actually it helps the two of you know each other better.
Take time to discuss this process with your partner and give each other time to also pray about these particular issues. In our experience most of these issues with have are internal battles that one is fighting and it is important if your partner understands where you coming from.
We have found that most people who have hard a hard childhood either were mistreated or taken for granted they tend to have some strict boundaries because they are trying to protect each other from being hurt again.
Step 4: Find Balance
The biggest advice you will ever get about marriage or relationships, in general, is the idea of compromise or what we call finding balance. A relationship is about finding a common ground. It is in this step that the two of you need to discuss what the balance is. Trying to find the best boundaries that will serve the two of you better. Just to share what our balance was, we had a process to check if a boundary is healthy for both of us. We asked these three questions,
- Does the boundary help us honour God?
- Does it prevent us from doing what we don’t want to do?
- Does it help us grow healthier in the relationship?
Discuss way forward
After finding a common ground you need to discuss the way forward. The question you are trying to answer here is; How are we going to keep our boundaries?
For us, we knew that the best way to keep boundaries is to first figure out the areas of tension. What are the things that easily cause us to drift? For us, that was staying in the car for a long time together. Being in the same house alone for a long time was also an area of tension.
After realizing what our areas of tension were we promised each other that, the best thing was to avoid finding our-self alone in those areas. This brought us to our next measure. We found an accountability partner.
Final Thoughts on How to communicate boundaries in relationship
As you think about how to communicate boundaries in your relationship, I also want you to think through what the goal of the relationship is. Making clear what the win for your relationship is will give the two of you the need and willpower to keep the boundaries. For us, we knew that keeping our boundaries was a form of honoring God and honoring each other. It motivated us to keep each other accountable. As a married couple now, we can say that keeping boundaries was worth it.
The Journey of boundaries doesn’t end there, even in marriage my wife and I still have some boundaries. Things have slightly change but the battle still continues, especially in the areas of sexual purity, finances, inlaws the battle continues. We have to help each other stay faithful to the call and to the vows.
Communicating boundaries is one conversation that we keep revisiting every now and then just to make sure that we are still on the same page. Hope this article was helpful for you and help makes your relationship better. If you wish to talk to someone feel free to reach out to us.
Honey Let’s Talk
when we talk we make it better.
Shadrack T. Ashaiyo