Welcome to our book review of "Boundaries in Marriage" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend!
Only when you and your mate know and respect each other's needs, choices, and freedom can you give yourself freely and lovingly to one another?
This unabridged audio version of Boundaries in Marriage gives you the tools you need.
Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, counselors and authors of the award-winning best-seller Boundaries, show you how to apply the principles of boundaries to your marriage.
This long-awaited book helps you understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in your marriage -- and move beyond them to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you both long for.
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Book: Boundaries in Marriage
- Originally published: 1999
- Authors: Henry Cloud, John Townsend
|Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend|
About the Authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend
They are popular speakers, well-known authors, and licensed psychologists in the United States, co-host the nationally broadcast psychological counseling program "New Life Live" (New Life Live), and also co-organize seminars, research centers, and church training groups.
The two graduated from the same Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology with a doctorate in clinical psychology.
They also jointly opened a psychological counseling clinic in Newport Beach, California.
They are the authors of many best-selling books, including "Too Much", "Setting Boundaries for Kids", "Setting Boundaries for Dating", and more.
What are Boundaries in Marriage?
"Boundaries for Marriage" will tell you: why boundaries and the "Ten Laws of Boundaries" are the foundation of a happy marriage;
Waiting for third parties to invade; why couples need to set personal boundaries and how to enforce them;
how to set boundaries with a spouse who understands and values boundaries—and a spouse who resists them.
Will help you experience the joys of marriage with your significant other.
You'll learn how to deal with betrayal issues and violated marital boundaries, and develop mutual relationships of love, care, appreciation, and growth.
How important are boundaries in marriage?
For those who don't understand, this is the reason for the failure of the marriage.
What are boundaries in marriage? It is an invisible norm of communication between people, and it is a way of communication that keeps distance in a close way. Boundaries need to be maintained not only between friends and relatives but also between husband and wife.
An important secret to maintaining a marriage is to always pay attention to the boundaries between yourself and others. Many women whose marriages fail, it is precise because they ignore this point that the relationship between husband and wife breaks down.
Many people say that husband and wife are one body and the most intimate people in the world. But no matter how close you are, you still need some personal space.
Some people feel that the other party completely belongs to them when they get married because they can't grasp this point well, so they ask their husbands to report to themselves no matter where they go.
Some people even have a strong desire to control, and every time they get a message for more than a few minutes, they will become suspicious and start calling in a series of fatal calls.
As everyone knows, such a relationship between husband and wife has actually deteriorated. As a wife, too much intrusion into the husband's private space, and even seriously affected the husband's work and life.
No matter who it is, with such high-intensity monitoring every day, it is really hard to breathe. You must know that before you become a husband and wife, you are first of all two independent individuals. It doesn't mean that in the name of love, you can deprive the other party of their freedom.
Everyone will have their own job, their own friends, and their own social circle, life is not only about love, but there are also many other things to face and deal with. Many men file for divorce from their wives just because they can't stand such control and feel that life is too depressing.
Only by respecting each other's normal communication, being independent when it should be independent, being tender when it should be gentle, and giving people freedom and dependence, is the way husband and wife got along before.
In fact, in addition to the husband, the mother-in-law also needs a sense of boundaries. It is said that every family has scriptures that are difficult to recite, but the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is a difficult period that every family has to go through.
Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are essentially two people who have no blood relationship but are bound together because of the same man. A daughter-in-law, it is rare to meet a mother-in-law who is amiable and loves herself like a daughter. But most of the time, there will be more or less friction between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
Some mothers-in-law have a strong desire to control their sons and will regard you as an outsider who came to snatch her son from her. She often interferes too much in your marriage in daily life.
Whether it is the education of the children or the property of the family, she wants to intervene. You feel that she has interfered too much in your life, but because she is an elder, it is difficult to say anything.
In fact, at this time, the best way is to keep a certain boundary with your mother-in-law. Don't rely on too much and have too many hopes, because your mother-in-law is not your biological mother after all.
There is no need to blindly alienate and tolerate, otherwise, it will only make your in-laws think you are a bully. We all live under the same roof, respect and understand each other, and it is good enough not to bother you if you have something to help.
If the relationship between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is good, the husband caught in the middle will naturally feel at ease. You must know that in many families, it is because the conflict between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is too sharp that the husband has to reluctantly choose to divorce.
The last thing to do is to maintain a good sense of boundaries with friends, especially friends of the opposite sex.
Before getting married, going out alone with a girlfriend of the opposite sex is not a big deal, after all, everyone is single.
But it’s different after getting married. As a married person, you need to change your identity and consciously keep a certain distance from your previous close friends of the opposite sex. This is not just respected for your partner, but also for your friends. After all, if rumors spread, no one will be injured.
Between friends of the opposite sex, it is a very delicate relationship. Maybe before, you have been with each other for a long time, and it has almost become a habit of each other.
But after marriage, this kind of intimacy no longer applies. If you still encounter something, the first reaction is to go to this so-called male best friend, I believe no man will be able to bear it. This desire to share and subconsciousness is the expression of no sense of boundaries. Over time, it will also become a hidden crack in the marriage.
As the saying goes, relationships need to be managed carefully, and the same is true for marriage. If you feel that you can sit back and relax just because you have stepped into the palace of marriage, then you are really naive.
In a marriage, nothing is taken for granted, and nothing good happens in vain. If you want a long and happy marriage, you must always keep in mind the importance of a sense of boundaries. Never screw up your married life by crossing a line.
A boundary is a sign of a mature marriage, how to establish it
People who are in love always hope to be with the person they love every day. In their hearts, the meaning of love lies in companionship, but the secret to truly keeping a marriage fresh is to maintain a proper sense of distance.
Even the most intimate people have their own boundaries. Many couples just don't know how to respect their partners' privacy, and they always repeat the behavior of crossing boundaries, which leads to a crisis of trust in the marriage.
Maintaining a sense of boundaries can be difficult when it comes to intimacy between couples. Because living under the same roof allows two people to achieve absolute intimacy and understand each other's temperament very well, they often forget the existence of a sense of boundaries. But in a mature marriage, a sense of boundaries is a key factor.
It can't be seen or touched, but it exists in everyone's heart impressively. Even the closest people don't want to set foot in a small private area of their own.
My friend Linlin is a woman with a strong desire to control, and she likes to be the one who controls the overall situation in her marriage.
Therefore, Linlin asked her husband to report her whereabouts every day with her at all times, and even installed a tracker on her husband's mobile phone without worrying about it, so as to keep an eye on her husband's whereabouts all the time.
In Linlin's own opinion, this is her love and concern for her husband, but for Linlin's husband, such a controlled life is painful and disturbing.
In fact, the main reason for the conflicts and problems in the relationship between husband and wife is that Linlin didn't notice to keep a certain distance from her husband.
This distance does not refer to alienation, but to respecting the privacy of the partner and getting along in a way that makes both parties feel comfortable.
When the relationship is not equal, one party's blind tolerance and tolerance will only increase the sense of loss in one's heart.
Marriage is not a competition, you have to win or lose before you give up. Marriage is a life-long bet, and the ultimate goal is to grow old together, so learning to respect each other's small world is also a kind of love.
1. What is a marriage that does not know how to control distance?
People who don't know how to respect their partner's sense of boundaries in marriage usually like to pry into their partner's privacy by all means, because they feel that two people are the closest people in their relationship.
In fact, the closer people are, the more they need to learn to give each other room to breathe. Marriage is like a piece of soil. If there is no sense of boundary between two people, the soil will be compacted and it will be difficult to grow good crops.
Only by maintaining appropriate boundaries can such a marriage become a soft soil that nourishes a happy relationship.
In marriage, couples who don't know how to control distance will completely mix their career and marriage together. Such a marriage consumes each other.
A mature marriage is one that is mature and independent from each other, and will not put all their sense of security on their own marriage, but learn to create their own confidence.
2. Why do mature marriages need to maintain a sense of boundaries?
For mature couples, marriage is not a necessity of life, and it does not fully penetrate into one's life like the basic necessities of life. The marriage of a mature person is more important to achieve mutual companionship with the person you love on the premise of your own independence.
This way of getting along in marriage is fascinating. Only by experiencing a marriage that maintains boundaries can you know how cool it is to maintain yourself in marriage.
A marriage that maintains proper proportions and does not easily cross the boundary with intimacy is comfortable and natural, and it can make people feel sober and respected in such a marriage.
Keeping your own boundaries and respecting the other person's boundaries is also maintaining a sense of mystery, and love and attraction are kept fresh by this sense of mystery.
3. How can we maintain clear boundaries and build healthy intimacy?
A psychologist in the United States once said, "The higher the degree of dependence and trust on a partner, the stronger the jealousy and insecurity, and it is easy to produce anxiety and lack of self-confidence."
So keeping your own clear boundaries in the intimacy of marriage is protecting your sobriety.
The first step is to express your demands correctly and accurately, communicate with your partner sincerely, and express that you want to be respected and recognized, and don't refuse to speak out because you are afraid of hurting the feelings of both parties.
The second step is to respect each other's feelings. Since you ask others to respect your boundaries and self-space, you should also respect your partner's boundaries, and keep a sense of proportion so that your partner will not feel uncomfortable and offended.
The third step is to create a reasonable and unique mode of getting along. Just like a kind of affection, there are 3 rules:
- Don't lose contact. If you don't see each other, you can talk on the phone.
- You must make up on the day of the quarrel.
- Don't break up easily.
So in the process of getting along with our partners, we might as well learn to make some sweet rules. On the premise that both parties have independent lives, there are mutual "secret languages".
Everyone has their own universe that operates independently and dreams that they have always insisted on. Don't give up your own space easily because of intimacy. Learn to maintain a sense of boundaries in marriage, and let yourself be a sober self in marriage.
10 boundaries to protect your marriage
Marriage bottom line: If you want a happy marriage, please set these.
Anything of value should be protected and your marriage is definitely worth something. Even if you trust your spouse wholeheartedly, it's still wise to be vigilant and put some "guard rails" in place.
You may think your marriage is just fine, but like bowling ball bumpers or train tracks, setting boundaries can keep your relationship safe and moving in the right direction.
While every marriage has different circumstances, challenges, and constraints, there are some big ones that can be universally applied when it comes to setting boundaries.
Here are the top 10.
1. No secrets
Whether it's about money, plans, or relationships, there's no reason to keep your spouse a secret. For a marriage to last and be stable, there needs to be honesty between husband and wife.
To encourage your spouse to be honest, it's important that you don't throw a tantrum when you hear something you don't like.
2. Emotional expression on work boundaries
In this day and age, men and women work together, it's as simple as that.
Therefore, it is very common to start an affair in a work environment. To prevent infidelity, it's important that you and your spouse agree on some ground rules to protect both of you from any slippery slopes.
Getting to know your spouse's co-workers not only helps limit opportunities, but it's also a great way to discover a healthy mindset. Familiarity with each other's worlds will make it easier to see when trouble is coming.
3. Agree on boundaries with the kids
Disagreement on parenting can be detrimental to your marriage and disastrous for your children.
Find out what the rules and expectations should be about your kids, and then support each other by sticking to your mutual decisions.
You and your spouse may play "good cop, bad cop" with your kids, but if you're on the same page, it's fine.
4. Create a budget and stick to it
Since money is one of the biggest destroyers in a marriage, the two of you should identify your financial goals and decide how to spend your income. Once you agree on a budget, stick to it.
Sure, you might be throwing money around, but the problem is a lack of honesty. Instead, be transparent about your spending and speak up if something unusual happens.
5. Pay attention to time-consuming hobbies
Having personal hobbies is good (in fact, necessary in a long-term love life), however, if your hobbies or passion projects cause you to spend more time with other people than your spouse, then problems may arise.
To prevent this from happening, limit the amount of time you spend each week on individual endeavors, or find something you enjoy doing together.
How many times have you heard your friends or co-workers complain about their spouses to others? Probably a lot.
Your spouse needs to be able to count on you to speak positively about him or her and defend their honor if necessary.
To help you develop this habit, consider how your spouse would react if they heard what you were saying. As their spouse, you should be their biggest fan, so if there is anything negative to say about your spouse, speak up!
7. Don't take it for granted, ask
Never make assumptions because that would make you and me a jackass. It's true!
While there are some things you can probably guess about your spouse's reaction, be careful not to assume too much. An easy way to avoid conflict is to ask when you have doubts.
8. Practice transparent communication
If you have something to hide, your only excuse is that your partner doesn't know your phone or internet password.
Both partners in a marriage should be comfortable letting their spouse check any social media accounts, text messages, or other communications.
That's not to say you should ask to see your spouse's account, but they shouldn't be concerned that you see anything suspicious.
Nothing is more powerful than imagination, so instead of making your spouse run a mile a minute, take responsibility. For married couples, this isn't a sign of a lack of trust in one another, but a sign of the times we live in.
If you're going to be late, call your spouse and let them know. If you're going to lunch with a group from the office, send your spouse a text. Learning about these things after the fact or from others can arouse suspicion and resentment.
10. Consider your partner
If you or your spouse enjoy hanging out with friends once in a while, make sure they are like-minded friends who won't drag you both into uncomfortable situations.
In the book "Boundaries in Marriage", the author tells us that the so-called boundaries, simply put, are like the fence around our house, marking the beginning and end of every family.
What about crossing the line? That is to say, you have set foot on territory that does not belong to you and violated the property rights of others. A large part of the reason why family conflicts occur from time to time is that family members do not understand the boundaries of their relationship.
You say what you can't say, and you insist on intervening in what you shouldn't be in charge of. In this case, how can you not arouse complaints from others?
There are two authors of this book, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Both are well-known authors and practicing psychologists. Although this book was written by them for marital relationships, I think the elaboration of boundaries applies to all human relationships, including but not limited to family, marriage, workplace, and social interaction.
Today we will focus on the field of marriage and family and see where we should set boundaries so as not to cause family conflicts because of crossing the boundaries.
Set boundaries for your character
The occurrence of many family conflicts is related to the three views and personalities among members. The three views are different and the personalities are opposite. When dealing with the same matter, it is very easy to cause quarrels.
In particular, some people are born more selfish than others. Such a character will have an impact on the harmony and stability of a family.
A family is a place of giving and sacrifice, requiring us to pay more attention to the needs of other members. Then we must set boundaries for our weaknesses in character.
Always ask family members if there is any aspect of your personality that has hurt them, and if so, let them suggest how to change it. As much as a person values the harmony and happiness of the family, he values his own spiritual growth. Only when he becomes good enough can he provide more light and heat to his family?
Set boundaries for your own controlling behavior
Dominance by one partner over the other is very common in family relationships. For example, disrespecting the other party's wishes, ignoring the other party's rejection, etc.
Whether it is the control between husband and wife, or the control of parents over their children, it will cast a shadow over intimacy.
So how do we set boundaries for our desire to control?
First, we need to understand the impact of the desire for control on family members.
When we know that our actions and attitudes have caused pain to our family members, we will empathize with them, and the next time we want to control the other party, it will be easier to stop.
Second, accepting that family members' feelings of powerlessness cannot be changed.
For example, as a parent, you always ask your children to meet the standards you set. Long-term oppression and demands make children feel more and more inferior and fearful and become more and more alienated from their parents.
Gibran once said that parents only give their children their bodies, and they should not regard themselves as their children's spiritual parents. Children have their own thoughts and their own destiny. It is better for parents not to interfere too much.
The same is true between husband and wife. When we cannot change the other party, our coercion will only result in their resentment and hurting each other. It is better to let nature take its course.
The third is to value the freedom of our family members as much as we value our own freedom.
Everyone understands the principle of not doing to others what you would not have done to yourself. When you don't want to be manipulated by others, think that others don't want to be manipulated by you.
When our ideas are denied by our family members, we don't need to complain, let alone force ourselves. Whether you ask or not is your freedom, and how they choose is their freedom.
Boundary line with the outside world
Family conflicts caused by boundaries are not only caused by internal members who have not grasped their limits, but also by outsiders. For example, some people regard the requirements of outsiders such as friends and colleagues as their own responsibility, which affects the interests of family members.
This will definitely cause conflicts among family members, so we need to establish boundaries with outsiders.
As mentioned at the beginning, the sister-in-law is out of bounds when she tells her sister-in-law how to spend money. Then, as a husband, you should draw a good line with the sister-in-law's behavior, and not let her interfere in things that she shouldn't be in charge of, let alone cause conflicts between husband and wife because of her opinions.
In addition, in addition to people, we can further expand it to work, sports, shopping, etc., which are all factors that can cause conflict in the family.
We need to evaluate our weight in life, and we must have a degree in everything, we cannot cause discord among family members because of these "outside" excessive interventions.
All in all, through the book "Boundaries in Marriage", I understand that whether it is between people, between families, or even between countries, clear boundaries are the basis for ensuring harmony.
In order to maintain that peace, each of us needs to be clear that while we do not cross the boundary, we must also set a good boundary and prevent others from crossing the boundary!
Books similar to Boundaries in Marriage
If you enjoyed "Boundaries in Marriage" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend and are looking for more books on the topic of relationships and boundaries,. here are a few similar titles that you might enjoy:
- "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
- "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman
- "The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively" by Helio Fred Garcia
- "The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work" by Terrence Real
Why Boundaries in Marriage Are Good for Your Relationship
If you're also someone who thinks marriage is hard, you're not alone. It is true that all couples experience some difficulties in their marriages. Yes, you are not mistaken. For adults mature enough to handle relationships, marriage is like a career.
In theory, two people in a marriage will share everything about each other, regardless of you and me; however, the actual data shows that when there are no boundaries in the marriage, the marriage will not last long.
1. Emotional boundaries strengthen the emotional connection in marriage
Emotional connection is the most important pillar in marriage because it is the foundation of a genuine relationship. But what is an emotional connection?
Emotional connection refers to the real love experienced in marriage, such as you actually appreciate each other; you have many common experiences in life; you also try not to hurt each other's feelings.
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to strengthen the emotional connection in a marriage is to not experience everything in life. In fact, emotional boundaries are essential in every solid marriage. Here I explain.
Let's say you love your partner so much that you are together 24 hours a day and never give each other any personal space. Then this marriage will have a suffocating effect on one party or even both parties, leading to quarrels.
Now I want you to imagine this: You and your spouse are both invited to a party. But you spend part of your time at the gym first because it fills you up before the party.
When you arrive at the party, your spouse is already there, and you see him in the room, interacting with many different people, obviously having fun. At this moment, when you see your spouse's attractiveness from a distance, you realize that he or she is very attractive.
At this time, when you are with your spouse, you will feel that they are more attracted to you. Of course, they're also attracted to you because you're energized and happy in exercising and taking care of your body.
This is a classic example of a couple setting emotional boundaries in their marriage. Give each other some space and give you both the opportunity to observe how good your spouse is from a distance. You will also appreciate each other more. Such emotional boundaries strengthen the emotional connection in a marriage.
World-class entrepreneur Lisa Bilyeu and her husband have started multiple businesses together, so they have a lot in common. When Lisa decided to start her own podcast (The Sheroic Podcast), she didn't ask her husband to get involved. Instead, she enlists her friend Kathy as her partner. Whenever her husband visited her, he saw another side of Lisa.
Her husband said: "I can see that Lisa is a multi-faceted woman, and when I see her photos and videos for the podcast, I think she is more attractive. I also feel for my wife. pride."
2. Physical boundaries improve the quality of intimacy in a marriage
While owning your interests is paramount in maintaining and building attraction in a relationship, many marriages fail due to misunderstandings and intimacy issues in the bedroom.
Sexual intimacy is something most couples don't discuss before marriage, and problems can arise when a couple's sexual orientation doesn't match.
There are no hard and fast rules here (excuse the pun) and it's important not to get your sex education from porn, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and a lack of real intimacy.
Therefore, setting physical boundaries around intimacy is crucial in marriage. But what does this mean?
Setting physical boundaries in a marriage means telling your partner what you like and what you don't so your partner doesn't have to go through a process of weeding out or getting frustrated because they can't seem to satisfy you.
It is important to address intimacy issues in any relationship, otherwise, they can pollute a happy marriage. These common challenges are often caused by focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time, causing your brain to get confused about what you want.
If you want to find the best path for your marriage in this area, you might consider consulting a professional sex therapist. After all, intimacy is the second pillar of marriage.
3. Financial boundaries are the invincible cornerstone of marriage
To be fair, no one's marriage is 100% invincible because love is relatively fragile in front of human nature.
That being said, from my observations, the most unbreakable marriages all have one thing in common: They have clear financial boundaries.
- How do we set financial boundaries in marriage?
First, wealthy couples might consider entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. I know that doesn't sound like a romantic thing to do. However, money is the third pillar of a relationship, and when you sign a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, you know that no matter what happens, your finances will remain stable.
It's worth noting that when you have disagreements, these agreements can serve as an excuse for not working hard to resolve the issues, which can lead to the breakdown of your marriage.
If you already have healthy emotional and physical boundaries, then you are already on the path to improving your overall intimacy.
- Healthy financial boundaries in a marriage might look more like the following:
You and your spouse have a joint bank account that handles all common expenses in the household (e.g. housing, bills, etc.) and you also have some joint savings/investments.
Then you and your spouse also both have personal bank accounts - you don't share passwords with each other. What you want to do with your personal bank account, whether it's investing or buying designer shoes - it's entirely up to you.
Meanwhile, your spouse does what they want with their personal bank account. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you've had an honest discussion beforehand about setting financial boundaries in your marriage.
This approach is liberating because it gives you just the right amount of freedom you need in your marriage.
4. Boundaries in your marriage can help you reduce stress
The greatest stress and anxiety come from trying to control what you can't control. For example, trying to control your partner can make you feel stressed and anxious, as well as alienate your partner.
In other words, a marriage without boundaries leads to controlling behaviors that cause stress and anxiety for everyone involved. Therefore, you need to understand what is under your control and what is out of your control in your marriage. Like, all your actions are under your control - or they should be.
While you can't control your spouse's behavior, you can certainly influence it. The best way to influence your spouse is to be the best version of yourself. This will naturally encourage your partner to match your efforts.
It's clear that setting boundaries in your marriage and controlling your emotional responses will help you reduce anxiety and enjoy a more fulfilling relationship.
5. Boundaries in marriage help career growth
Unless you share a common cause, direction, and goals, spending time with your spouse every day probably isn't going to expand your horizons or help your career.
According to Keith Ferrazzi, most career opportunities come from the weak link, acquaintances, not your spouse/family/friends. This is because you and your inner circle are more likely to share the same resources and information - if your spouse/family/friends can help you with your career, they must already be doing so.
Instead, you share very different resources and information with your weak link, so your weak link is more likely to help your cause.
So, if you want to grow more professionally, you can benefit from building a relationship with your weak spot instead of spending all your time with your spouse.
6. Boundaries in marriage add more fun to your life
When you allow some space in your marriage, you can stay flirty and keep increasing the attraction between you and your spouse. Never stop seducing your spouse and you both can have fun creating a great marriage!
The art of seduction is a journey, not a destination. So, keep creating these fun moments during your travels!
7. Boundaries in marriage give you the opportunity to grow together
Because you set boundaries in your marriage, you both have more flexibility, which allows you to adjust to different situations in your life. As a result, you and your spouse will be able to bond better and grow together in harmony in the long run.
All couples experience difficulties in their marriages, however, by creating the right boundaries in your marriage, you will ensure your happiness and joy.