Boundaries in marriage are a crucial part of it that makes a relationship happy and healthy and what’s more, healthy boundaries will enhance and strengthen it.
A boundary means drawing a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s about the limits that protect you and your wants and needs, and thanks to healthy boundaries, you can maintain your relationship and your personal well-being.
Married couples especially need boundaries because partners can easily become enmeshed and they often create unhealthy dynamics unless they set clear relationship rules. Setting them helps avoid problems such as anxiety, codependency, conflict, anger, and more.
It may seem that boundaries exist to keep you separated but in a way, it’s quite the opposite. They help you become closer, strengthen your bond, and become fully united, while at the same time protecting you as separate individuals.
You have to have a sense of self as well as the ability to communicate your needs to have the relationship you need. That’s why you should set healthy boundaries that are based on your needs and personalities.
Here, you’ll find the most important boundaries that every married couple should develop. Don’t stop there though, because you should come up with your own boundaries as a couple and as individuals.
Communicating about them clearly, openly, and often, will help you have a happy marriage and grow as a couple.
Talk about your needs whenever possible and be very clear about what you can and cannot tolerate from your partner. Listen to their needs and wants, too, and respect their personal boundaries.
Start with setting the ones I’m about to list and then talk about any others that you may want to add later.
13 Boundaries In Marriage That You Definitely Need To Set
1. Stick to your wedding vows
When you got married, you promised to love each other in good and bad times, in sickness and in health. This is something you need to stick to throughout your relationship.
Love should be the foundation of your marriage.
You need to love each other during difficult times, even when you’re not happy with your spouse’s behavior, and show each other unconditional love by never forgetting your wedding vows.
This doesn’t mean that you should tolerate your spouse when they treat you poorly. Draw a line when it comes to bad behavior and make clear what is unacceptable.
Don’t ever put aside your love for each other, though. All couples argue sometimes but when you do, remember that you’re fighting with the person you love.
Know where to draw a line when it comes to insults, name-calling, and anything else that could turn a fight about a problem into a bigger issue. Love your spouse enough to always aim to find a solution.
2. Be honest with each other
To trust each other, you need to be honest with one another, so don’t ever let your spouse doubt you or your feelings for them. You won’t be able to respect each other if you’re not always aiming for honesty.
Being dishonest can lead to a lot of negative feelings such as jealousy, disrespect, insecurity, and mistrust. As a married couple, you should be a team and work as one.
This implies discussing important things with each other but it’s also about not keeping secrets from one another. Don’t hide things from your spouse because it could ruin the relationship that you have.
Honesty is one of the most important boundaries in marriage that keeps it healthy.
Naturally, you’re not going to always say everything to your spouse. They don’t have to know that you chose to eat a burger instead of a salad even if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you don’t tell them about certain details of your day, that’s okay but it’s important which details you don’t mention. Talk about everything that could affect your spouse and your relationship with them.
Share your feelings and concerns with your significant other and don’t give them a reason to doubt your honesty and loyalty to them and you’ll have a happy marriage.
3. Respect each other’s privacy
Honesty is important in a relationship but so is privacy. Maybe you value honesty more than anything else but if your spouse values their privacy, so should you.
The truth is, everyone needs some individual privacy in a relationship.
Maybe you like sharing with your spouse every thought that goes through your head but if they aren’t that type of person, you shouldn’t pressure them to always let you know what they’re thinking.
Having privacy in a relationship isn’t the same as being dishonest; on the contrary, the two are connected!
You can’t respect privacy in a relationship where you’re not honest with each other, because privacy is often about things like social media and phones.
You need to discuss whether you’re okay with sharing passwords or you need to keep your online life private.
Naturally, to have privacy when it comes to phones and social media, you need to have trust, and to have trust, you need honesty. Ideally, you and your partner won’t hide your phones or online activity from each other.
You should have access to your spouse’s personal devices but this doesn’t give you the right to go through their messages. That’s what drawing a line is all about and you shouldn’t cross this boundary.
4. Stay faithful to each other
Naturally, one of the boundaries in marriage that you must set is faithfulness. You need to reassure each other of your love and protect your relationship from external influences.
Both of you are probably going to have some friends and colleagues of the opposite gender and to make sure to steer clear of extramarital affairs, you may want to talk about how you handle friendships.
It should be fine to spend time with the people you care about, whether they’re of the opposite gender or not.
But would you like to hear your spouse giggling while making plans for dinner with one of their good-looking friends of the opposite sex?
You need to draw a line and discuss how you would handle a slippery slope like this. There’s a line between friendship and an emotional affair and you should both discuss your approach to this.
Maybe you want to avoid iffy situations, tell each other everything about individual friends, or only have mutual friends. This is something all couples decide for themselves, so discuss the subject of fidelity and what it means to you.
Faithfulness is one of the boundaries in marriage that you definitely don’t want to cross. You shouldn’t prevent your spouse from having a social life but if something about it bothers you, speak up.
5. Have a healthy communication
Married couples often end up talking only about everyday things such as work, home, children, chores, and finances but this is not enough in a relationship.
It most certainly shouldn’t be all you talk about if you want to have healthy communication.
Occasional heart-to-heart conversations are necessary, as well as some quality time together, as they are what makes the relationship special and your bond stronger.
Don’t assume things without asking your spouse about them and express any concerns you may have. Some couples neglect this and try to avoid talking about the things that bother them but it can ruin the relationship.
If there’s a problem in your marriage that your spouse isn’t aware of, you can’t expect it to go away if you don’t speak up.
Healthy communication also includes the way you handle arguments. I already mentioned that you should avoid insults but this also includes anything else that doesn’t contribute to fixing the issue for that matter.
Don’t be rude to each other, even when you’re angry, and try not to raise your voice unless necessary. Yelling or screaming at each other is not going to fix anything and it could just make things worse.
You should also aim to have some meaningful conversations every now and then. Don’t neglect to talk about your feelings, dreams, and goals, and always discuss your plans for the future.
As long as you can have healthy communication, you can work on any problems you encounter.
6. Don’t talk badly about your spouse to others and don’t let others talk badly about them either
You shouldn’t complain about your significant other to your friends and family. If you’re having some problems, you need to solve them between yourselves.
Talk to your spouse about the issues in your marriage before you even mention them to anyone else. The two of you are a team and a family and other people shouldn’t be involved in your private matters.
Maybe you will sometimes need outside help and in fact, someone else’s perspective may shine some light on your problems, but this is something you need to discuss with each other first.
Your partner may not be comfortable with involving a third person in your issues.
You also shouldn’t let others badmouth your partner. If someone talks badly about them, you should either walk away or stop them.
This is one of the important boundaries in marriage that is often overlooked but it shouldn’t be because it shows loyalty, love, and respect. Stand by your partner no matter what, and they will certainly appreciate your devotion.
7. Don’t try to change each other and accept the changes that occur
If you married a person you love, and I’m assuming you did, you don’t want them to be someone else. Accept them for who they are and let them be themselves around you.
You can help your spouse become the best possible version of themselves but don’t try to change them. After all, you wouldn’t like it if they tried to change you.
Some things are going to change with time, though, so your partner may change on their own and you need to accept that.
As a married couple, you’re supposed to be together forever. Changes occur naturally over time but this doesn’t mean that you should accept bad behavior.
If your spouse changes for the worse, you should voice your concerns. Hear them out, though, and help them be the person they want to be.
If they try to improve themselves, show them support and accept other changes that come naturally. You’re not always going to be in the honeymoon phase and that’s okay.
As your marriage progresses, you need to progress as well. Keep trying to make your marriage better and improve yourselves.
8. Respect each other’s time
Boundaries in marriage most definitely include respecting each other’s time. You don’t want to waste your time, nor your partner’s for that matter.
Both of you need some alone time, some time with your friends and family, and some time for work. You need to clearly state your needs and respect your partner’s needs just like they respect yours.
Everyone needs some alone time to rejuvenate and recharge; after all, it’s essential to our well-being. Allow yourself the space that you need to keep up with your daily responsibilities.
You’ll have to be flexible at times but giving each other some space and time can only improve your relationship. If you’re newlyweds, you may want to spend all your time together but give yourselves some room to breathe.
You’re about to spend the rest of your lives together, so you have plenty of time for everything. Spend some time with friends and family because you have to have a life outside of the relationship.
When you have work responsibilities, limit your interactions and help each other get everything done.
Having some alone time as well can only improve your relationship, as when you’re constantly together, you can fall into a rut and get bored with each other.
You’re married, so you have all the time in the world to be together. Spend some time apart to truly value the time you spend together.
9. Forgive each other
Forgiveness is one of the boundaries in marriage without which the relationship simply can’t work.
Sometimes, it’s quite challenging to forgive your spouse for something they did but you have to learn to forgive each other because holding grudges can ruin what you have.
Even when you’re very upset with your partner, you need to let bygones be bygones. Of course, you should voice all your concerns but don’t keep holding on to resentment.
Once you let your spouse know what’s bothering you and have a discussion about it, let it go. If things don’t change, discuss it again but always try to forgive them.
If they repeat their mistake, you should be firm and of course, you shouldn’t let them break your personal boundaries. If you don’t forgive them, however, you’ll only become resentful, which can cause your relationship to deteriorate.
There are things that are unacceptable in marriage but none are unforgivable unless you’re ready to end the relationship. If your spouse does something unacceptable, let them know that you won’t tolerate it.
They need to know that they’re risking losing you if they don’t respect your personal boundaries.
Make it clear that you’re not going to tolerate certain behavior but forgive them for what they’ve done, as without forgiving them, you can’t truly give them a second chance.
10. Respect each other’s need for space
Respecting your partner’s space is similar to respecting their privacy and their time and it often happens simultaneously.
For instance, when you give them the privacy and time for their online activities, you’re also giving them space.
Sometimes, allowing them space may mean letting them be physically distant, so don’t crowd them when they aren’t in the mood for cuddles.
If they need to take a walk or go to another room to process their feelings, literally give them space.
They may sometimes need some emotional space as well, though. Your partner has their own feelings and reactions and you need to accept the way they respond to things, even if you sometimes don’t like it or even don’t understand it.
When they’re upset, you have to let them deal with their feelings the way they want. You can offer them support but you can’t jump in and try to solve things if they don’t want you to.
Maybe you always want to fix things, so you offer ideas and solutions to the problems your partner is facing. Sometimes, though, they don’t want you to fix anything and you need to respect that.
You have good intentions that come from your love for them but you can’t always make everything better just like that.
Your partner doesn’t always need solutions and sometimes they just need some quiet alone time and for you to listen to them once they open up.
Whenever you aren’t sure what they need from you, you can simply ask them.
11. Don’t tolerate abuse
It goes without saying that abuse should not be tolerated.
Some people only think about physical mistreatment when this is mentioned, so it needs to be explained that there’s mental and emotional abuse as well and none of them should be condoned.
Your spouse can’t manipulate you into getting what they want or only think of their own needs. They should meet your wants and needs and always aim to make you happy too.
Abuse sometimes isn’t even that obvious but it comes to this – don’t cross any lines. Setting boundaries in marriage is about drawing a line and that line should never be crossed.
You’ll see signs it’s time to draw the line if your partner doesn’t respect you. Don’t let them hurt you and protect yourself as you would protect a loved one who’s being abused.
You need to love and respect yourself enough not to allow any type of abuse into your relationship. Don’t let your love for your partner be stronger than your care for your own well-being.
Boundaries like this in a marriage are there to protect you from ending up in an unhappy relationship. If your spouse hurts you in any way, they will need to apologize, make amends and change their ways.
12. Share responsibilities and be equals
Don’t ever let yourself end up in a one-sided relationship. You and your partner both need to put the same amount of effort into the relationship and if you have kids, be equally involved in their lives and take care of them together.
Share the responsibilities and chores because you’re supposed to work as a team and what’s more, it’s easier to get things done when you do them together.
You can start your day with a conversation about what needs to be done and decide who will do what.
By the end of the day, everything will get done and neither of you will be exhausted, so you’ll have enough energy left to enjoy your time together.
Do certain things together whenever possible. Cooking and cleaning can be very boring chores but when you do them together, it’s just one more way of spending quality time together and it can even be fun.
This will strengthen your bond, which you can also achieve by asking each other some questions for married couples while you do your chores.
Housework doesn’t have to be boring as long as you enjoy hanging out together and have enough topics to discuss.
You certainly won’t be happy in a marriage where you have to do all the work. Your partner needs to put just as much effort into the relationship as you do.
13. Stick to your personal boundaries
Boundaries in marriage are important but so are your personal ones.
Most often, men crave space, while women crave closeness. Your partner and you may have different personal boundaries, so you should have a conversation about it.
Maybe you value honesty, while your partner values privacy more. Respect each other’s boundaries and needs so that you can have a healthy relationship.
Learn to set boundaries like a high-value woman and don’t let your different boundaries stand in the way of your happiness.