My actual words were, “This communication thing is not all it’s cracked up to be.” I really meant those words. Confrontation, even healthy confrontation, is not comfortable to me. More often than not, my temp must be at the boiling point before I express true thoughts and feelings when there might be friction. Are you a peacemaker or a peacekeeper? Matthew 5:9, NLT says, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Work for peace – action.
Marriage Monday in April has been taking a fresh look at the book written by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries In Marriage. Today we look at our last four “laws of boundaries”.
Law #7 The Law of Proactivity – Here’s where being a peacemaker versus a peacekeeper is needed. “Proactive people solve problems without having to blow up.” If you struggle as I do, (I say like me because I can still struggle with this. Grrrr) you keep silent until how you feel bubbles “over in an intense reaction.” In my quest to “keep” peace, I can wait until ain’t nobody having peace until I say my piece. Proactive people “disagree and confront issues all the time in marriage.” As I look at this in my own life, peacekeeping is really based on fear. The fears the Docs discuss in law five are a good place to start when deciding if this is the basis of your reactive boundaries. I discuss a few of those fears in last weeks post – Boundaries Bring Freedom.
Law #8 The Law of Envy – “Envy is devaluing what we have, thinking it’s not enough. Envy is miserable because we’re dissatisfied with our state, yet powerless to change it. You can’t set limits in marriage until you are looking at yourself as part of the problem and as a great deal of the solution.“
Sarai was barren. She envied the mothers who had babies on their hips. All she could focus on was her inability to have a child. She would not be satisfied until she had a baby in her arms, even if it wasn’t her biological child. In Sarai’s dissatisfaction, she made a move (Abram went right along with it) that brought great pain into her and Abram’s relationship. The promise was, “Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” (Gen. 15:4, NLT) “We will never get what we want if we focus outside our boundaries onto what others have.”
Law #9 The Law of Activity – “…we need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather that being passive. Taking initiative increases one’s chances to learn from mistakes. Active people make lots of mistakes, and wise ones grow from them. When both spouses are active in boundary setting, when they both speak the truth, solve problems, and set goals, they will both grow.” And there is this that I love, “Don’t wait for your spouse to take the first step. Assume the first move is always yours“.
Law #10 The Law of Exposure – “A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working.” So I might have all kind of boundaries – limits, feelings, thoughts but if I keep them hidden, it’s just as if I don’t have a boundary at all. Yep, right there is where you will find some of my boundaries.
Drs. Cloud and Townsend say this so well, “When we expose our boundaries to the light of relationship we can be fully connected to our spouses. We can resolve problems, and we can take a stand to actively love our spouses by risking conflict for the sake of the relationship. Exposure is the only way for healing and growth to take place.”
Every relationship benefits from healthy boundaries. Maintaining them can be hard but our relationships are at risk without them. We cant’ break them forever without consequences.
Do you struggle with setting and maintaining boundaries? Are you passive or active in your relationships? While mentoring over the years, I have said many times and I say it today, you become healthy. You work on you. Become the best, healthiest you possible. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to be all God wants you to be. Your relationships will benefit greatly.
Enjoy previous post in this series at these links: