If you feel like a doormat in your marriage it might be due to a need for some boundaries.
I remember the first time a boundary of mine was crossed by a friend. I didn’t recognize it for what it was at the time, but I see it clearly now.
We were sitting in the theater, around age nine, and I had a box of candy. Over half the box was in my hand, because it was noisy to open the box out and dump them. As I sat and ate my Junior Mints, I realized my friend might want one. She didn’t have any money, so I was nice and shared. I whispered, “Hey, do you want some?” I held my hand out, piled high with the little brown orbs of peppermint yumminess.
I thought she’d take a few and be thankful.
She proceeded to scoop them off of my hand and into both of hers.
I was surprised. Shocked. Confused. Angry. I couldn’t believe she had done that. I wanted to say, “HEY. I meant like a few of them! What’s wrong with you?”
But I said nothing, because I was afraid I would upset her. And I didn’t have any experience with exercising my voice – I thought the only option I had was voicing my anger. And that seemed mean (at least I knew that), so I kept my mouth shut.
I spent the rest of the movie feeling sad about my three leftover pieces in the box, and lied to myself that it was all fine. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what.
Here’s the thing – it wasn’t about the candy.
It was about being taken advantage of by another, even unintentionally, and failing to speak the truth.
Speaking my anger would not have been my truth, by the way, but that’s for coverage in the Strength & Dignity eCourse.
Today’s dare is #3 – where we torture ourselves with dig into a self-evaluation.
This is an important step in growth, because to live in denial is to undermine our ability to see what is true about ourselves. What’s often true is that we have pieces of ourselves we cannot see. They might be visible to others, they might not be. What is 100% true, is that they are always visible to God. So today, we’re asking God to peel off our blinders, and do a little self-evaluation about respect. You have the Biblical wife one if you have The Respect Dare book. If you feel like you don’t know much about respecting yourself, then this will help today. We won’t go into a ton of detail about it here, that’s for the Strength & Dignity eCourse, but at least you’ll get a basic understanding and know where you fall.
It matters. Here’s why:
Marriages and relationships where both people do not have healthy boundaries destroy trust & lasting love.
If you are wondering if boundaries are Biblical, I assure you, they are. Here’s just a tiny bit of info about that.
For a person to practice respect and love for others, we first have recognize a number of things:
- Limits = “boundaries” for the purposes of this discussion.
- To the degree that I respect/love myself, I am capable of respect & love for others
- If I have limits to what I will or won’t do, I’m worthy of credibility, am perceived as a person of character by other people – we teach others how to treat us
- To the degree that I allow others to walk all over me (no limits) my respect/love for myself and the way others respect/love me is diminished
- Anger, contempt, disdain, or parental condescension is a relationship damaging way of communicating boundaries
- Gentleness and patience, both fruits of the Spirit, are the best way to communicate about boundaries
So in combination with the Biblical wife self-evaluation which contains elements about respecting your husband and following God, we’re adding this self-evaluation from the Strength & Dignity eCourse about boundaries. We have one on character that I’ll be talking about later this week. For now, however, just put a check mark next to ones that are opportunities for you (and if you are struggling with how submission plays into all this boundary stuff, get an understanding of how I view submission here first):
- I have a strong concept of what I will and will not do, based on Biblical knowledge. These are boundaries I set for myself, not in an effort to control other people’s behavior.
- When I’m not clear about what should be okay or not (boundary for myself or someone else), I research it in the Bible, or ask the person it might involve.
- My “yes” means, “yes,” and my “no” means, “no.” I don’t say things I don’t mean or agree to do things that are not right for me to do.
- I don’t judge myself for making decisions that other people do not like.
- I know what tempts me and I set boundaries to protect myself from temptation.
- I understand my weaknesses and set boundaries to strengthen myself.
- I have confidence in my ability to make the right decisions, ones that honor God and respect myself and others, in most situations.
- I am aware of other people’s boundaries.
- I respect other people’s boundaries and do not cross them or provide temptation to encourage others to cross their own boundaries.
- I respect other people’s right to say, “no,” or “yes,” without judgment or pressuring them to do something else.
- I understand that the bad behavior of other people has consequences that are theirs to own and not mine to fix.
- I own my own negative states of mind without blaming others for it.
- I do not own other’s negative states of mind and do not feel responsible for fixing how they feel.
- I do not enable self-destructive behavior that damages me, children, or our marriage by covering, hiding, avoiding, ignoring, or tolerating.
- I engage in “proactive boundaries” when problems are small instead of waiting for a “reactive boundary” when things are out of control.
- I communicate my boundaries in a gentle way when they are violated.
- I am aware of and evaluative of the pain my boundaries cause others.
- My boundaries are not parental in nature, designed to “punish” my husband for his “bad” behavior.
- My boundaries are designed to bring joy to our marriage.
What about YOU? Am interested in dialogue with you about boundaries today. How have you seen boundaries impact relationships, or respect for yourself and others?
Love to you,
It’s not too late to join in with the Strength & Dignity eCourse beta. Sign up by clicking on the box in the sidebar or this link– within a day you’ll get a page where you can input your email, where once you confirm, you’ll start receiving course material and assignments , then yia inbox. In a few weeks, after you’ve done the prep work, you’ll get an invitation to the live Facebook® forum that we’ll be using until we have it set up on our website.