The parents of Miley Cyrus are on the road to Divorce Court once again. It seems that after 19 years a couple would be inseparable. Nearly three years after the country singer, Billy Cyrus, filed divorce papers then changed his mind, his wife Leticia has decided to end their marriage. I’m sure during the course of their union many issues have arisen with only a few being resolved and the remaining have simply compounded.
At the base of many problems that surface in a marriage, boundaries seem to trump the list. For some reason, once we are married we seem to throw away the ideal of our partner’s boundaries and ignore the very principles that were paramount when we met.
Let’s start with a definition of boundary; “personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not.” As we progress in our marriages, we must also understand three fundamental principles of boundaries.
1. Boundaries are useless if no one knows about them but you.
2. Boundaries must have consequences attached to them.
3. Boundaries are not walls to keep people out, but rather identify the property lines of any community.
As human beings in this world we all live within ourselves. This means we inhabit our own souls and are responsible for the things that make up “us”. But often members of our family or other past relationships confuse us about our rights and responsibilities of boundaries. As a property owner we would know fully based on the laws of the land what our responsibilities are in relation to our boundaries. In fact, it is our job to insure the property we claim as ours is free of debris and dangerous materials. Anyone injured within our boundaries instantly become our liability.
Amazingly, people go through great lengths to protect their physical boundaries while ignoring the importance of their marital boundaries. It is going to take much more than a 9mm, security system or barbed fence to secure a stable and growing future for our marriages.
Boundaries are of vital importance. They help us establish where we begin and another ends. They enable us to have our own voice by liberating us with the truth that we have the right to speak up for ourselves. In life, like in marriage, it is very difficult to connect with someone who does not respect boundaries or have any for themselves. Our relationships will flow more harmoniously when the participants know what to expect and what is expected of them. Often, this seems absolutely normal and expectable in every setting except the marriage.
What’s interesting is as we develop in life, physical boundaries are much easier to relate to and identify. But emotional boundaries exist in our minds until we have the opportunity to express them. People go through great lengths to protect their physical boundaries while ignoring the importance of their marital boundaries. Here are four major boundaries that may affect a marriage:
1. Physical Boundaries: how and when you may be touched
2. Mental Boundaries: the freedom to have your own thoughts and opinions
3. Emotional Boundaries: forms an internal communication so we may understand ourselves
4. Spiritual Boundaries: freedom to experience God without religious obligation or mandates
A successful marriage is composed of two individuals; each with a clear defined sense of his or her own identity. Without our own understanding of self, who we are and what makes us so unique, it is difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that functions smoothly and enhances each of the partners. We need a sense of self in order to clearly communicate our needs and desires to our partner. When we have a strong understanding of our own identity, we can appreciate and love those qualities in our partner that make him or her a unique person.
The similarities between two people may bring them together but their differences contribute to the growth, excitement and the mystery of their relationship. Learning to have healthy boundaries is an exciting adventure and an exercise in personal liberation. Boundaries are an ever present reality that can increase your capacity to relate one to another.
By: Cherese Jackson