Good self-care is not just knowing the best products for your skin or eating the best food for your gut. It isn’t just about having good exercise routines or having a well-organised schedule. Good self-care is knowing when and how to say “no”. It is about knowing your limits and your responsibilities, knowing what you can and what you can’t control.
Relationships are better when it isn’t just an endless cycle of breaking each other’s hearts, picking up the pieces, and starting all over again. Relationships are better when the people in it recognise each of their limits before they arrive at their breaking point.
This is what boundaries are for. In every area of life, it’s good for us to put a line between our responsibilities and other people’s responsibilities… knowing where our starting line and our finish line is, knowing what our limits are. But what does boundaries look like in a marriage? Does marriage blur our lines together with our partner’s lines?
Marriage unites — but it doesn’t blend two souls together into one big mixture. Being married does not mean losing one’s personality or identity. There’s an “us” in a marriage, but there’s also a “you” and a “me”. One spouse has their own identity and responsibilities, so does the other, and some responsibilities they share together.
Here’s one aspect in a marriage where boundaries can be useful: put boundaries around your feelings. This means that your feelings or emotions are your own responsibility. Feelings don’t come from your partner’s actions — they arise from within your own heart. When you are angry, there’s nothing that the other person can do to put that flame out. You — and you alone — are responsible for calming yourself down. If you wait for the other to satisfy your feelings… you might have to wait for a very, very long time. Or it might not even happen. It is your responsibility to do something about the things that you feel.
Boundaries are there not to restrain you. Like guardrails, they are there to keep you from falling, to keep you safe and far from harm. Know that by putting boundaries in your relationship, you are helping your loved ones to grow and become more responsible for their own feelings. Know that, by drawing the line, you are showing that you truly love and cherish them.