By Jeremy Roloff
Editor's Note: More than 2.3 million people watched as Jeremy and Audrey Roloff shared their vows and committed their lives to each other. Now for the first time, the former co-stars of TLC's hit show Little People, Big World share their imperfect, resilient, and inspiring love story in their New York Times bestselling book A Love Letter Life. What follows is an excerpt from the book.
Authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend define a boundary as "a property line." One of the functions of healthy boundaries is to protect the "property" of our relationship from trespassing. In Boundaries in Marriage, Cloud and Townsend write, "While many dynamics go into producing and maintaining love, over and over again one issue is at the top of the list: boundaries. When boundaries are not established in the beginning of a marriage, or when they break down, marriages break down as well.... For this intimacy to develop and grow, there must be boundaries."
As Audrey and I entered into marriage, we knew that the locomotive of our love would not stay on track without boundaries. Boundaries are the protective rail lines of our love. Boundaries are designed to protect, not prohibit. For example, a ski boundary line, a divider on a freeway, directions on the back of a medication bottle—these boundaries are not set in place to hold us back; they are set in place to safeguard us.
Boundaries in marriage are no different. Their purpose is to protect our marriages from division, hurt, bitterness, animosity, and miscommunication. Early on in our marriage, Audrey and I were encouraged to protect our love by setting boundaries for our finances, our friendships, and our technology—specifically social media.
I believe that the overuse of social media is posing a massive threat to our love stories. It can be a tempting place to zone out, escape, or invite wandering eyes. It can allow comparison to steal the joy that our love stories were meant to experience. It can steal our time, causing us to spend more of it scrolling feeds than connecting with our loved ones. Without boundaries for phone and social media use, we'll lose our grip on what it means to truly connect.
Here are a few of the boundaries we use to protect our love story:
- We don't use social media on Sunday.
- We don't check our phone during date night.
- We don't get on our phones in bed.
- We have access to each other's social media accounts.
- We don't go out one-on-one (coffee/drinks) with the opposite sex.
- We don't keep texts, emails, or social media messages to the opposite sex a secret.
- We don't text old boyfriends/girlfriends without the other knowing about it.
We encourage you to come up with your own list of boundaries. It doesn't need to be exhaustive, nor does it need to be completed overnight. Just begin the conversation for the sake of protecting your love.
Taken from A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively, Date Intentionally, and Love Faithfully by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff. Visit aloveletterlife.com to learn more about this title.
Jeremy Roloff grew up on a 110-acre farm in Helvetia, Oregon, alongside his twin brother and two younger siblings. Jeremy helps his parents, who are both dwarfs, run Roloff Farm's pumpkin patch, which brings in thousands of visitors from around the world every weekend in October. Jeremy has a degree in professional photography and is the cofounder of Beating50Percent.com, a marriage ministry on mission to revive covenant marriages. He also grew up filming for a reality television show called Little People, Big World, which has been following his family since he was fourteen years old. He is a 9 on the enneagram, loves old cars, and will never pass up an evening by the campfire.