All Wives

5 Boundaries Every Marriage Should Have

May 18, 2023

By Dawn R. Ward

Do you believe your marriage could benefit by implementing a few healthy boundaries?

Our marriages should be full of love and mutual respect. Sadly, in a society where almost anything goes, disrespect can creep into even the best of marriages. 

Boundaries in Marriage

I was married to my husband at the ripe old age of 18, having been raised in a dysfunctional family. Boundaries were not part of my vocabulary. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t need boundaries growing up in a family where they mostly all ignored each other. 

Once married, our two polar opposite worlds collided. Boundaries would have come in handy when I started yelling and he dished out the silent treatment. Had we established the rules of engagement for our marriage early on, we could have prevented many misunderstandings and hurt feelings. 

Now, much older and a little wiser, we appreciate the value of good boundaries for the well-being of our relationship. 

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16‬:‭6‬ (‭CSB‬)

Why We Need Boundaries 

Why do we need boundaries in our marriage? Boundaries are important for two reasons.

  1. They keep bad things out.
  2. They keep good things in.

When a couple does not set healthy boundaries for their marriage, they can fall into the habit of making assumptions. This can lead to misunderstandings, frustration and arguments, all easily preventable once a boundary plan is in place. 

As you prepare to set boundaries in your marriage, I encourage you to begin with prayer and searching the scriptures. The Bible has much to say about how we are to treat our spouses and honor the Lord in our marital relationship. 

5 Boundaries for a Better Marriage 

Here are five boundaries I have found to be helpful in my marriage. 

  1. Honor and respect each other. Do not take each other for granted. Speak kindly to each other privately and in public. Protect your marriage by not being alone with the opposite sex if at all possible. (See 1 Peter 3:1-7)
  1. Keep the marriage bed pure. It should go without saying that infidelity is a big “no-no” in marriage, but sadly, it bears reminding. This includes not viewing porn or flirting with other people. The Lord calls us to honor him by keeping our marriages sexually pure. (See Hebrews 13:4)
  1. Always be honest and transparent. Lying is unacceptable under any circumstances. So is keeping secrets. Agree to be honest with your husband. Be his safe place. It’s better to speak the truth in love even when it is hard than to pretend everything is okay and be dishonest. Just be sure to speak the truth lovingly with his best interest in mind. (See Colossians 3:9)
  1. Agree to disagree agreeably. It is normal to have a disagreement now and again. It’s how you handle the dispute that’s important. When setting boundaries around how you handle discord, it’s important to talk about the rules. For example, don’t use “always and never” statements. No hitting below the belt or name calling. Most importantly, do not threaten divorce. Divorce should never be discussed without first receiving biblical counseling and definitely not in the heat of an argument. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)
  1. No coarse joking or sarcastic humor. Joking at the expense of your husband is never okay, especially when it’s a put down or in public. Hurting him to get a laugh or make a point should be avoided at all costs. Agree to walk away from any conversations where people are being sarcastic or rude at the expense of another person. “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

These are only a few suggestions for healthy biblical boundaries within your marriage. I encourage you to sit down with your husband and establish a few of your own. You’ll be glad you did. 

Wife Step: Make a list of several boundaries you can implement immediately, and discuss them with your husband. 

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Dawn Ward is a speaker, writer and blogger. She is the founder of  The Faith to Flourish, a ministry that equips women who desire to grow in their faith, cultivate healthy relationships and thrive in all seasons of life. She also ministers to women with loved ones struggling with addiction, mental health issues and life-destructive behaviors. Dawn is the co-author of the book “Still Standing After All the Tears Workbook: Faith in the Battle Edition. She has been married to her husband, Steve, for over forty years and is mom to three adult children. It is her passion to help all women grow in their faith as they learn to better understand the Bible and how to apply it to their lives.

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