How to Have Healthy Boundaries in Marriage.

***This article isnt to say that you will have issues with family members and your spouse in your marrriage! Or that problems with family members and your spouse cant be reconciled. But unfortunately drama does happen sometimes.***

“I married you, not your family!”

These words or some rendition of these words could be heard coming out of the mouths of any spouse. We all have family. We love our family. Family is supposed to be there for you, know you, love you, and back you no matter what. But what happens when the family gets too involved? Or what is the role of the family in the marriage relationship? Is there even a role?? Lets look at how to have healthy boundaries in marriage.

I grew up with a big family. I have three older siblings, and lots of great aunts and uncles and cousins. Whom I love. I respect them, and back them. But when I got married this dynamic changed a little. Of course, with my husband being a new member of the family, its natural for my family to be skeptical of him. Because they haven’t yet gotten the chance to truly get to know Jason. This comes in time, and by spending time with him. We have had situations where family members have gossiped about him, and slandered him. There has been drama, upon drama, which stinks. But it taught me some valuable lessons about the relationship between the new spouse and the family.

Here’s What I’ve Learned:

Peace must be guarded

You must establish your peace. Practically, this can be done by having your own place to call home and not living with family. Of course everyone’s situation is different but try your best to establish your own place, and work toward getting your own place. Even keeping your address private if you feel you need to can help as well. This is super important for establishing boundaries.

Keep up Boundaries

The bible says the following in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” It says a man LEAVES his parents. Of course you don’t have to block everyone out. But establish some boundaries. you’ve created a whole new family, you and your spouse. Ive established physical and nonphysical boundaries.

Physical boundaries include: Distance-I live far from my family (which stinks sometimes) but it has allowed my husband and I to stay away from certain arguments and tension.

Space-we have our own place, which is so freeing. I don’t have to be bombarded by negative views or opinions. If this isnt possible for you, make it a goal to be financially able to get your own place, or find other housing arrangements.

Nonphysical boundaries: No gossipping!-Make up in your mind to not gossip about your spouse to family members and don’t tell them when we have disagreements (unless you have a family member who can be objective and not take sides). If I constantly tell my family members disagreements we have had then this will give them a negative opinion of my spouse. And this will be compounded because they may not be objective since they don’t know him as well as they know as I do.

Time-I speak to certain family member still. But not too often I plan when I will speak to certain family members which may have unsavory opinions of my spouse or who are likely to cause drama. This ensures my peace.


Respect! Respect! Respect!

Although I have had drama and disagreements with family members about my spouse, that doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect them. Matthew 5:44-45 says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” And I respect my spouse and his feelings. He has chosen not to associate with certain family members I still associate with. I have respected his feelings. And I don’t tolerate disrespect for my spouse. My family knows that I wont tolerate disrespect of my husband.

When you get married, you create a new family. While that doesn’t mean that your extended family is to be discarded, it does mean that the marriage relationship with your spouse must be respected and honored. This isnt to say that you will have issues with family members and your spouse in your marrriage! Or that problems with family members and your spouse cant be reconciled. But unfortunately drama does happen sometimes. You dont want the bad opinions or feelings of family members to destroy your marriage. A 26-year longitudinal study looking at 373 couples showed that a husband having a close relationship with his wife’s family decreased risk of divorce by 20%. While lack of support from family is cause for 17.3% of divorce according to a study polling 52 people in a relationship program.

Boundaries should be established to ensure that the new family you’ve created is its own. You and your spouse have the opportunity to create a beautiful new family together. Your family can add to that beauty in numerous ways: support, love, confidance, and guidance. I believe that can be done through boundaries, respect and guarding your peace.



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