Boundaries Blog — Boundaries in Marriage

How Jeremy & Audrey Roloff Use Boundaries to Protect Their Love Story

How Jeremy & Audrey Roloff Use Boundaries to Protect Their Love Story

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....

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The Secret to a Successful Marriage (Hint: It Involves Boundaries)

The Secret to a Successful Marriage (Hint: It Involves Boundaries)

When two people marry, two lives blur together to make a new one, two become one. The blurring of expectations and feelings can become an issue. Many times a spouse will automatically expect that the love in the marriage means that her spouse will always see things her way. She may feel unloved when her otherwise-loving mate says, "No, I'd rather not take a walk. I'm sleepy." Sometimes this happens during the "honeymoon period," when both parties tend to see eye-to-eye on everything. But when the reality of two different wills, needs, and perspectives comes in, the honeymoon is over. This is when the Law of Respect must be applied.

For example, a couple with whom my wife and I (Dr. Cloud) are close, Nick and Colleen, mentioned the same problem at dinner one night....

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How to Guarantee that People Will Want to Be Close to You

How to Guarantee that People Will Want to Be Close to You

Amy and Randall had been married for eight years, and they loved each other. However, when he was angry or upset, Randall became moody and would withdraw from Amy and the kids, except for occasional outbursts of anger.

When his manufacturing business was struggling, he would sit silently through dinner. Once, during this period, the children were arguing at the dinner table. Out of the blue, Randall said, "Amy, can't you keep these children in line? I can't even have a moment's peace in my own home!" And with that, he stormed out of the kitchen into his home office, turned on the computer, and stayed there until the kids went to bed.

Amy was hurt and confused. But she had a pattern of "handling" Randall's moods. She would try to cheer him up by being positive, encouraging, and compliant....

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Finding Hope for a Hopeless Marriage

Finding Hope for a Hopeless Marriage

I (Dr. Cloud) was once meeting with a couple who had given up hope in their relationship. I knew that they were at the end of themselves. From their perspective, divorce was the next option. At the same time, I knew that their problems were curable. I felt that we first needed to put this couple's hopelessness on the table, so I asked, "Do either of you have any hope for this marriage?"

"No, we don't," they both finally admitted.

Then I said something that threw them: "Good! Now we can get to work."...

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Why Actions Speak Louder Than Words When It Comes to Love

Why Actions Speak Louder Than Words When It Comes to Love

George sat in my (Dr. Cloud's) office, despondent. His wife, Janet, whom he loved deeply, had just moved out because he had lost another job. A very talented person, George seemed to have everything he needed for success. But he had lost several good jobs because of his irresponsibility and inability to follow through. Bosses loved the talent but hated the performance. And after several family disruptions because of his failures, Janet had had enough.

"I love her so much," George said to me. "Doesn't she see that?"...

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