Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Priceless Hedges


posted by Michele Olson


I live next to a bike path and a small woods. When it’s rainy and muddy, people will often avoid the bike path and walk through our yard, which over time wears a path. We’ve contemplated putting up a fence or planting a hedge. Perfectly nice people but they are wrecking an area of our yard. Although we wish them no harm…we don’t want them in our private area-our yard.

This concept also applies to your marriage. You will be surrounded by perfectly nice people in your lifetime…people you work with or meet in civic and church groups. They may be particularly engaging because you tend to see the “good” side of their personality. Perhaps on a morning when your spouse doesn’t notice your haircut, someone in your social circle does and you get a compliment. That’s normal.

Now imagine that you and a member of the opposite sex are working on a project together and you are really hitting it off.

Harmless.

Who doesn’t want to enjoy the people they work with?

But here’s a question. Have you decided ahead of time what your boundaries are?

If not, it is time for you and your spouse to have a conversation about what is acceptable to the both of you when it comes to close interactions with the opposite sex. Just like the privacy and sanctuary of your own personal space like your home and yard, your marriage has to have boundaries.

Otherwise people, well-meaning or not, can invade the privacy of your personal space. Situations can occur that you would have not wanted had you thought about the possibilities ahead of time.
It’s often how affairs can start.
No intention.
Innocently.
Gradually.

If you and your spouse haven’t talked about your boundaries as a couple…it’s time.

Some discussion ideas, how do you as a couple feel about:

* Being in chat rooms or social networks where you go offline with member of the opposite sex.
* Working situations; frequent lunches, working late or business trips with one member of the
opposite sex.
* Social situations where you put yourself in the position of spending a lot of time alone with
someone on a committee or in a church group.
* Close friendship with member of the opposite sex that doesn’t involve your spouse.

By agreeing upon and setting up boundaries ahead of time, you take away any suspicion or wondering about your spouse. You are both clear on what is acceptable in your relationship. You are being pro active about protecting that which is special and unique.

Realistically you may have occasions where you have a business lunch or work on a project and you are alone with someone. The point is to be aware of your boundaries ahead of time so you can be wise about situations that you do have control over. You may also have to talk with a boss at some point about what your options are if it is happening beyond you and your spouse’s comfort zone, just as you would about any area where you feel concern.

It’s not about creating rules for rules sake…it’s about the spirit of the idea that can save you much heartache and misunderstanding in the future.

The cost for me to put up a fence on my bike path? Thousands.

The cost to clearly know boundaries and hedges around your marriage? Priceless.

What about you? Have you and your spouse had a talk about boundaries and hedges in your marriage? What are your thoughts on setting boundaries together?


4 comments:

Caroline said...

This is a great point. I'm glad you pointed it out. It's always nerve wrecking when your spouse goes out of town for a business meeting with a member of the different sex.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Thanks Caroline,
It's another way we can communicate and be on the same page with our spouse, even it it means some frustration and compromise along the way... you can come to an agreement. I hope it leads to a great conversation for you.
Keep blogging!

Jimmy and Marshell said...

The information you gave here is good info for ANY type of relationship.

I believe we all need to sit down with our friends and partners, children and associates and forge boundaries.Life begins and ends with rules...

Shell

thinkmarriage.org said...

Hello Shell,
Sounds like you have done some thinking about boundaries and rules! Our "inner child" may not like the idea, but they sure do make life run more smoothly when we take the time to have these conversations. Thanks for the thoughts. Keep blogging!