“A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.” Proverbs 25:28, MSG
I can be over sensitive to Lary’s emotions. I read his body language like I am studying for a final. He told me once to stop reading something into every facial expression. I told him if he didn’t like me reading his body language then stop talking so loud. Now reading them might not be so unhealthy if I didn’t let his feelings and behaviors seriously impact my day. So, if Lary was in a bad mood and his day was aggravating, then so was mine. His mood decided my day and that’s a lot of power and responsibility I’m handing over to someone else.
I’m a fixer. Setting a boundary in a relationship is a wonderful idea. Just give me a piece of chalk so I can smudge the line a bit with my finger and scoot it over if things start getting uncomfortable. Have you ever noticed that most of us like to mark the boundaries in our relationships with those little red flags? We just pick them up and move them around. Once we start moving the markers and smudging the lines, who owns what gets confusing.
For the month of April on *Marriage Monday* we will be talking about the book Boundaries In Marriage written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. In particular we will look at the “Ten Laws of Boundaries in Marriage.” Today is a little overview of what boundaries are. Reading Cloud and Townsend’s book, Boundaries, changed how I thought about me in so many ways. Notice I said “thought about me”. It wasn’t about changing Lary. That’s God’s business. We can’t fix or change anything about someone else. It’s about self-control – a fruit of the Spirit.
“If I know where the boundaries are in our relationship, I know who ‘owns’ things such as feelings, attitudes, and behaviors as well. I know to whom they ‘belong’. And if there is a problem with one of those, I know to whom the problem belongs as well. A relationship like marriage requires each partner to have a sense of ownership of himself or herself.” Dr. Greg Smalley calls it the “power of one”.
In Boundaries In Marriage, the relationship the Docs focus on is marriage. It will be a great refresher for me because, um, I am a flag mover. And when I start moving those flags, I get frustrated and unhappy.
Boundaries help us figure out who is responsible for what. They bring freedom. As we take a look at this book, we begin to see that we are not victims to others feelings, thoughts and behaviors. “If we can see that the problem is our problem and that we are responsible for it, then we are in the driver’s seat of change. For the first time, we are empowered.”
The Docs have made a list of some boundaries that protect our relationships:
- Words – They tell another person who we are and what we want or believe.
- Truth – Get a hold of the boundaries of truth God has set in our lives and also be honest with our mates about how we feel and what’s going on. I sometimes struggle with this. Have you ever answered “fine” or “nothing” when your hubby asked are you OK or what’s wrong?
- Consequences – Remember the law or sowing and reaping? I like this from the book, “If we just use words, others sometimes do not ‘get the message’. In fact, people in denial are deaf to words of truth. They only respond to pain and loss. Consequences show where our boundary line is.” Wow. This is truth, biblical truth.
- The book offers four more.
We will be touching on some highlights of the book but the book as a whole is full of detailed explanations and guidance on living a life with healthy boundaries. It is a great addition to your library. If you are a online shopper, the book is available in several different formats. Many bookstores keep it on hand. It’s timeless. Here’s the Amazon link – Boundaries in Marriage I refer back to mine over and over because well, you know about me and boundaries…
Next week we talk about the first law – The Law of Sowing and Reaping. Come back and join us.