What do you think of when you hear the word boundaries? Do you have a negative or positive connotation with that word?

Perhaps you think of boundaries as divisions or separation between people or things. That’s partially true, boundaries can divide or separate, but they also provide protection.

While a fence around your house is a boundary of your property, its purpose is to protect your family and communicate to outsiders that they aren’t free to cross over.

Boundaries are safeguards we put in place for ourselves and our relationships to help us be at our best. Boundaries promote health and safety in relationships. They communicate what is acceptable or unacceptable between parties.

Boundaries are necessary for any relationship, but especially marriage. Boundaries protect your covenant with each other and God. Having these safeguards in place will strengthen your unity and will help you to stand against anything or anyone that attempts to divide your relationship.

Here is an initial list of boundaries to talk about with your spouse. Discuss your current policy for each item. If you don’t currently have a boundary in place, make it a priority to create one.

Communication:

  • What is each of our preferred methods of communication?
  • If we’re having a disagreement, how should we resolve it?
  • Which of our marital issues, if any, are acceptable for us to talk to others about? With whom?

Relationships:

  • What boundaries do we need to have in place with in-laws and extended family? With our children?
  • At what point will we each feel that friendships are becoming a priority over our marriage?
  • Is it acceptable for us to be friends with people of the opposite sex? In what capacity?
  • Is it acceptable for us to text or receive phone calls from opposite sex friends?

Technology:

  • When is it acceptable for us to use technology while in each other’s presence?
  • Do we have access to each other’s phone, e-mail and social media accounts and passwords? Why or why not?
  • What internet monitoring or media filtering should we put in place?

Work:

  • What work boundaries do we need to put in place to protect our marriage?
  • How will we handle working with opposite sex coworkers?
  • What protections can we put in place while one of us is traveling for work?
  • What will we do if work requires us to travel alone with an opposite sex coworker?

As you can see from this list, there are many situations and circumstances that we face in our marriages. We would be extremely wise to create these healthy boundaries ahead of time. Even if you don’t necessarily think you’ll need them, being proactive about creating these safeguards is so much better than wishing you had when something comes up.

For more on boundaries, I highly recommend the many Boundaries books by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.