Boundaries are designed to protect something, not to prohibit it… A ski boundary line, a railing on a bridge, a divider in a freeway, directions on the back of a medication, these boundaries are not set in place to hinder you, they are set in place to hedge against danger. Boundaries within marriage are no different. They should be set in place to protect your marriage from division, bitterness, animosity, and miscommunication. When boundaries are broken, someone usually ends up getting hurt.
Apparently, they are in a healthy committed relationship and guard it with some boundaries. This boundary might be the epitome of respect itself! Boundaries are a fundamental element of any relationship, business, or organization.
Today we live in a culture that worships the self. If anything were to infringe on the ability to do what you want, when you want, how you want, culture considers it oppressive and puts some silly label on it to make it sound offensive. However, love is the complete opposite of selfishness. That means you need to give up some things in order for it to work, we must make sacrifices for love to thrive. I know, scary word these days. Marriage is the definition of selflessness, it is the giving up of oneself for the benefit of the other.
Marriage is a space where extreme vulnerability, intimacy, and closeness are possible, but not without sacrifice. Marriage should be protected with some boundaries, even if that means making some sacrifices! Without total commitment and boundaries to protect your sacred union, you will never reach the potential of deep intimacy within your marriage.
Boundaries enable trust because you can rely on them during times of vulnerability. When God first created humanity what did he do? He gave us boundaries. Was it to oppress us? Was it to restrict us? Was it to trick us or make us feel inferior? Was it to be offenseive? No, not at all! It was actually for our GOOD. We can choose God therefore we can love Him. Likewise, we can choose our spouse, therefore we can love them. God gave us a choice to trust in Him and be confident that His boundaries are established in love and designed to help us prosper.
But what did we do? We were deceived and did not trust God because we let doubt dictate our choice. Put another way, this boundary set up by God was to protect perfect love. Very rarely does someone set out to have an affair… Perhaps no one ever does this. Every affair started with two people on their wedding day proclaiming their love to one another, but failing to protect that love with boundaries.
But a wish without a plan is exactly that, just a wish. You need a PLAN to successfully achieve almost anything, including a healthy marriage. And this plan needs some boundaries. Also, are we so naive to think that we are immune to the sin of lust? However, there are some things you can learn simply by observing. Boundaries keep you in the safe zone. Boundaries keep you from toying with the line, and instead, striving for holiness and selfless love in all circumstances. When boundaries are not established in the beginning of a marriage, or when they break down, marriages break down as well….
For this intimacy to develop and grow, there must be boundaries. Am I saying that I believe it is a pretty darn good idea? Bringing someone else along is not that difficult.
Go out of your way to air on the side of holiness, and abide by your set boundaries. That is all boundaries are for, protection. I encourage you to place some boundaries on your marriage. Maybe its no dinner dates with someone of the opposite sex. If you already have some boundaries, what are they?