Yesterday we took an opportunity to write about boundaries, and how implementing boundaries can actually help your marriage-friendship grow. Today we’d like to continue the focus on boundaries, but instead of writing about your friendship with your spouse, we’re going to focus on your relationship with God. And instead of focusing on what boundaries YOU think you may need to implement in order to grow your marriage-friendship, today we want to focus on you giving your SPOUSE permission to recommend boundaries to you in order to keep your relationship with God going strong.
We refer to this as the “Unity” aspect of marriage. Unity is living in such harmony with your spouse that they can help you become the person God made you to be. Sounds simple, right?
Not so fast.
What it means is that you give your spouse full permission to lovingly call you out. You give them permission to speak the truth in love. You give them permission to help you become the person that deep-down-inside you want to become, though you may cringe when you consider what you need to do to get there. Sound familiar?
Regarding the topic of boundaries, it means you give you spouse permission to recommend boundaries that will keep your relationship with God strong. It also means that you have an opportunity to do the same with them.
Before reading on, take five minutes to do a little bit of self-reflection. Write down 2-3 boundaries that you believe your spouse would recommend for you to implement that would improve your relationship with God. And yes, just limit it to 2-3.
Welcome back. Now, before running to your spouse to ask their input, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First, kindly ask your spouse for their input. Remember, the goal of this exercise is for them to help you become the person God made you to be. In other words, the goal is to give your spouse permission to help you become the best possible version of yourself. Be sincere in your request, and listen to what they have to say without getting too defensive.
Chances are, your spouse may have some thoughts. Maybe a lot of them! Listen carefully to what they have to say and then take time to discuss what boundaries you may need to put in place to best follow-through. Some of their suggestions may require a simple daily lifestyle change. Others may be a bit more dramatic. But if you both agree the changes are worth it, begin to take the steps necessary to grow.
You probably don’t want to give your spouse permission to list 7-8 things you can do. Instead, keep it to two, maybe three. But be very specific in what you’re looking for. For example, you may want to ask, “What is the one thing you think I can to improve my relationship with God, and what boundary (or boundaries) do you think I need to put in place to get there?” He or She may want to take a few days to think it over, but the more specific you are in your request, the more specific they’ll be in their response, and the more specific steps you can take.
Finally, after listening to the sincere advice of your spouse, be serious about taking steps towards growth. If you take this exercise seriously, your spouse will be much more open to listening to you make recommendations for them as well. And your marriage will continue moving forward as it should.
Feel free to leave or comment of answer the following question in the comments below:
1. What benefits would your marriage experience if you both gave one other permission to recommend boundaries to help you in your relationship with God and others?