Question For You

Do you think it’s wise to set up guidelines for your marriage or do you think it’s enough to trust your spouse and not expect that inappropriate things could ever happen?

Example: As a married person you would not go out to lunch alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. Discuss away, kiddos. I know y’all will have a lil somethin’ to say.

35 thoughts on “Question For You”

  1. I think boundaries should be made absolutely. But I think those will look different for everyone. In a perfect world, nothing would ever happen to hurt the other, but I realize that is not reality.

    I don’t think we should live in fear that something “might” happen though. Or even concern. Wisdom, yes.

    Love always hopes. Love always trusts.

  2. My husband and I didn’t set hard boundaries in the beginning, but as time has gone along, we have come across things that if left to their own devices, could get out of hand. For instance, I realized that I couldn’t be good friends with guys other than my husband. I told him this and while I haven’t ditched my guy friends that I had before we were married, we are definitely not close like we were before. I have given my husband the authority to tell me if he thinks I am getting to “close” to any other man.

    The one other boundary that we have in this area would be that I have a say over how he interacts with women. For instance, he unknowingly can smile at women, just being friendly, and they seem to flock to him. He is just goofy and fun to be around. There has been more than one instance that an emotionally needy women has started to get a little to needy with him. While he didn’t realize it, my being a woman sensed it in an instant. While he doesn’t always agree with my intuition, he takes caution.

    Our reason for these boundaries are due to an emotional affair that I had with a married man before I met my husband. The man and I worked together and became good friends. We had tons of chemistry and had a lot of fun together, but because we were both Christians, we didn’t think anything would happen. The sexual tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Eventually, his wife called us on it. It was painful, embarrassing, and just plain hard to deal with. I was in denial for a while-not understanding what had happened. When I realized how much of my emotions that I had unknowingly given to this married man, I was heartbroken.

    Needless to say, from this experience, I can see the start of this type of behavior from a mile away. I know how easily we could slip into an emotional connection that would easily tear a gap in our marriage.

  3. Maybe we’re naive about this, but my wife and I have never had to discuss whether or not it was okay to do “x, y, or z.” I think she would probably shoot me a strange look if I started trying to set boundaries. It would seem like either a. I don’t trust her, or b. I’m getting ready to do something stupid and wanted to “feel her out” about it.

    One time, several years ago, the kids director and I both needed to go to OKC from Tulsa for the same meeting. We weren’t wise to renting cars at the time, so she called her hubby and I called my wife to see if we could just ride together…my wife thought it strange that I would ask…obviously I’ve earned her trust. However, I DO think it was appropriate for me to call. I’ve been caught in awkward situations…everybody leaves but you and some weird girl…so I’ll excuse myself and call my wife.

    Other than those things, FOR US, it would be weird to now go back and set boundaries.

  4. I think boundaries are important. We have boundaries all over the place: white lines on the road, barbed wire fences between us and the cows, privacy fences. We think nothing of setting boundaries in physical life to keep us safe why would we think we don’t need to at least talk about safety in marriage?

  5. Guidelines are essential. Just the act of setting up some boundaries is a good exercise because that gets you talking about things, and communication is always good. As a matter of fact, my husband and I have set up the very guideline that you use as an example. I love and trust my husband, but the enemy is hard at work to destroy marriages and we know that he could set up a trap that might tempt us to do something that we never in a million years thought we would do. And even if we’re not tempted, there’s always the possibility of being in an awkward situation, which can be damaging as well. So we know what we expect of each other and everybody’s happy.

  6. I can’t imagine not setting boundaries. While a great deal of trust exists between my husband and I, I strongly believe that a lack of boundaries opens doors to unhealthy and potentially detrimental results. For example, simply walking into an adult club would not destroy my marriage. However, the doors it could open physically and spiritually just might. We guard our marriage like we guard our children. It is the most precious gift and we want to honor God with it.

  7. My 2 cents…

    Men and women see things so differently. I was 18 when I got married and had not set any boundaries (obviously too young!) I am happy to report we are still married to this day (nearly 18 years) but that has not come easily and certainly not without learning that discussing boundaries are an absolute must! It’s just like discussing where you will live, how many kids you want, etc. It’s good to know where each of you stand on the issues.

    Of course there are things you don’t think about so as situations arise you discuss them and make new boundaries from time to time.

    Can you tell I have learned as I go???

  8. Cindy,
    This is a a great question. The one thing that I love so much about my husband is that he holds my heart safely and I know that he is ever mindful of his role as a husband. He has always set boundaries for himself in this area. I never worry because I have seen those boundaries from the beginning of our relationship. I did not know how I would ever trust again after my first marriage. My husband proved to me and continues to do so over and over again his faithfulness to Christ and loving me as Christ loves the church. I have so much respect for him in this area and admire his integrity.

    He had a great example in this area from a wonderful pastor in Texas with whom he lived with for three years. Tommy Nelson of Denton Bible Church years ago had young men live in his family home and they were able to see how he treated his wife, children, handled finances, etc. My husband was one of the originial ‘young guns’ that Tommy discipled. They were the guinea pigs for his Song of Solomon series. They had strict rules to follow and the entire experience had a profound affect on my husband.

    Thanks again for a wonderful thought-provoking post.

  9. Boundaries? Absolutely! SO important. If for no other reason, than at least to be aware of ways in which you or your spouse COULD be tempted by the enemy…sometimes others see our weaknesses more easily than we can.

  10. I think boundaries are essential in all aspects of our lives…especially our marriages.

  11. It is very important to sit down as an individual and write out boundaries for yourself. Then you should let your spouse read it and add to it if he/she sees fit.

  12. i trust my husband.
    my husband trusts me.

    but i don’t trust the devil.
    and i don’t trust other women.
    and i don’t trust other men.

    yes to “boundaries” – erected as fences to keep others OUT of our marriage, not as jail cells to lock us IN our marriage.

  13. Boundaries are set in our marriage to limit the possibility of temptations. NO, My husband is not allowed to ride in a car with another female by himself. It is not because I don’t like it. It’s not because I don’t trust my husband. It’s because if it becomes a habit, temptation may one day arise.
    We need to protect our marriage, and treat it as sacred. That does not mean we don’t trust each other. I trust my husband’s loyalty to me- no question, and I would hope he says the same about me. We cannot be naive and put our marriage at risk to failure.
    It’s the same reason we cover the outlets on our walls for our 18 month old son. Has he put a key in the socket yet? No. However, we cover the outlets to protect him, just incase. Is it harmful to put boundaries/limits in your marriage if nothing has happened yet? No. Could it be harmful NOT to put limits/boundaries in a marriage? yes.

  14. i’m always interested when we think we can choose to not become emotionally vested when we have chosen not to remove ourselves from situations where that is what is happening.

    sex is the culmination of many hours of prep time that we’ve allowed ourselves to partake in, and to think the faucet can be turned off is foolish.

    my counsel to men is that given we like to be respected, which looks like appreciation, which looks like availability…don’t pursue the availability of a woman if you or she is married.

    through that pursuit, a man will get her to laugh and engage, and then become emotionally vested. it’s a formula, it happens and it’s successful…especially for the enemy.

    the plain truth is men and women desire different things from friendship…it is very easy to start transferring qualities of one person to another, and then you realize it’s attraction.

  15. Hmm,

    Feel like I’m getting skewered here! Let me clarify a bit. My wife and I dated for 2.5 years before we married. We were both virgins when we married. We’ve had a lot of discussion about our weaknesses. However, the VERY BEST thing that came out of us holding off on sex until we were married was an amazing trust between both of us. We pray together daily, pray for our kiddo together daily. We are so connected on so many levels that when and if some kind of outside connection with someone else arose…there’s no way either of us wouldn’t know about it.

    Boundaries are one of the things that are essential. But to continually discuss something that we’ve demonstrated and know without having to discuss it seems weird. Almost as if there isn’t any trust and we’re trying so hard to control it. Why should we discuss whether or not it’s okay to do “this” or “that” with another person besides our spouse. I say the real way to protect your marriage is to be so connected that you KNOW when something’s up!

    The first clue when you’ve crossed a boundary is when you feel a connection with someone. ie. you can’t wait to get to work so you can hang out, you love certain meetings with that person…whatever it is….how do you set a boundary for that? Those are feelings that you’ve got to have accountability for and be really connected with your spouse so they clue in to those things.

    Okay…sorry for the really long reply. Fire away.

  16. I think communication of what is happening is as good as boundaries. My wife and I have never set any but we just know when a situation has reached a point and we either call each other on it or we see it ourselves and communicate it with the other. The boundaries are there but have just never had to have been set in stone

  17. My opinion is probably one that might be different than most. First of all, Andy and I do have boundaries in our marriage especially because doing what we do, we would be idiots not to in certain areas. I think we should have our guards up in every area of our lives be it children, marriage, work, ministry, thought life etc. However, when it comes to boundaries in my marriage I have had to learn to be very careful about what my intentions have been in the process. I would say about half of the time when we have discussed this, my motives were right, yet the other half of the time it was out of fear. I could tell my husband all day long the things that I think are appropriate or not, however am I telling him that to protect my marriage or to protect myself? I do feel that communication when things come our way is a huge cornerstone in the foundation of our marriage especially when sometimes that’s all we have, but I also think that a lot of times people use the excuse of “I just want to keep the devil out of my marriage” as a cover up for the fact that there may be a deeper issue within themselves. I have and sometimes still do. Sometimes I think we give the enemy a little too much credit. Just being honest…

  18. I think boundaries are important. There are some things that B and I just decided were not OK. We may not always have to vocalize them, but they are there. We never sat down and made out a list or anything, but we are very aware of what the other might think or feel about certain situations. We have seen couple after couple be naive enough to assume that affairs would not happen in their marriage, then they did. There are just too many areas where things could get out of hand even if you never planned on it happening that way. We are one of those couples that think it wouldn’t happen to us- but we still set those boundaries. We are all human.

  19. Boundaries are Important.

    I trust my husband…
    but I don’t the devil and his tendacies.
    Its also important if you have never set them to start.
    Little ones to medium to large that way its not a chore but something that is natural and from God.

  20. I think it is wise, very wise. That way you know the expectations of both parties and don’t just make assumptions. I think that the assumptions make it a bigger issue than the actual event. For example, how could you go out to lunch with someone of the opposite sex, you should know that hurts my feelings. If the fact that it never was communicated turns into a bigger issue than the actual event of the lunch. Men do not read minds, they are face value kind of people, and women, we assume A LOT! It is not fair to assume they know what hurts us and what doesn’t if we don’t communicate that to them. I think good communication needs to be at the core of every marriage!

  21. Cindy this is a good one. We have boundaries big time. But I think what is neat in our marriage is we tell eveyone what they are from Tim and Nicole and WHY. Then it makes people think. Also, with 803 students there is a lot of teenage girls that will fall in love with my HOTT husband (I was one of them) I think it is a neat way to minister to people to see how Tim and I live OUR marriage. Plus I dont need guy friends I have Jesus, Tim, and two boys! (thats a lot of boys) ha ha. Thanks Cindy for the post.

  22. How about a married person communicating via email with a person of the opposite sex – particularly without the knowledge of their spouse?

    Couldn’t that be the same thing that people here are talking about? An emotional connection – seeking some sort of intimacy, whether its sexual or not.

  23. I totally believe we should set boundaries. I would never go out to eat with someone else’s spouse or even the member of the opposite sex. We have gone so far as to take two cars (we are friends with our neighbors) when only the opposite sex is going to the same place even though we live two doors down from each other because it is totally inappropriate for us to be in that proximity without our spouse with us. We have also agreed not to “Help” with marriages without either both of us being there or only talking to the same sex. It is not helpful when it CAN be harmful.

  24. I absolutely think boundaries are necessary in a marriage. That also needs to be coupled with great communication. Boundaries are always changing. What may have been an absolute when first married changes as trust and understanding grows.

  25. I think that communication is important. Boundaries are good when they are agreed upon by both parties. I trust my husband and he trusts me. There are things that he may not like that I do and visa-versa. But it is hard to keep boundaries (rules) if you don’t know what they are.

    Aren’t you just stirring the pot this week. 🙂 Another make you think post–Tomorrow We get our AI reviews. I can’t wait since we missed out last week.

  26. For me, boundaries are very important. I tend to put up more boundaries on me and my husband than he does. I would be very uncomfortable going out for lunch with another man by myself, even though it wouldn’t bother my husband. He trusts me, but I still think it’s wrong. I had a close friend who wanted to do this and would ask me to go along so it wouldn’t look inappropriate. I thought I was just being weird that I was uncomfortable with it, but her divorce will be final in June. It’s scary to me how fast a marriage can end. I think couples should be on guard.

  27. I have to admit I didn’t read most of these comments for once. I just had to set a new boundary with my wife. I will never take her to Shepherd Mall again. Dementia is a funny beast to get a handle on. Most of the time she seems perfectly normal to me. What the dementia seems to do is exponentially exaggerate a character trait all out of proportion. Learning to expect that is difficult. My wife doesn’t think much of Wackenhut being one of the private security companies guarding our nuclear power plants. She got fixated on informing the mall security guards of this. This fixation is the part dementia plays. Because she was unable to let it go, I had to physically stand with my arms outstretched between her and the security guard she was yelling at to keep him from having an excuse to claim both trespassing and assault. With my back to him, he had to assault me or try to get around me to get in range of her. This happened less than an hour ago.
    I guess all I’m trying to say is all I’ve been trying to say all along. Love, trust, boundaries, “inappropriate things”. It’s all the same. You either do, or you don’t. In the case of marriage, the “you” is either plural or it’s not. You get through the rough spots together, no matter how rough they get or how long they last, or you don’t.
    It’s always about choice.

  28. I could seriously write books on this….

    Absolutely guidelines. Without a doubt. I don’t care who I offend or if I am thought a prude. Guidelines, conversation, accountability….everything. It is of the utmost importance.

  29. Well, I don’t have a spouse … YET! But I know as someone having been in relationships before that usually people get into them thinking the other is a mind reader. I think all kinds of things need to be discussed from banking to hanging toilet paper properly (of course you know there is a right way, don’t chya?).

  30. I think it’s important for husbands and wives to talk to each other… and pray… communicate, pray, communicate, pray, etc. My husband has told me when things have made him uncomfortable in the past and I’ve told him at times, as well. Does this happen often? No, b/c we typically respect each other enough to know what’s ok. We’re all human, though, and I think it’s a bit naive to assume that we’ll always just naturally please our spouses with our actions without communication. And what that “communication” is will look different from marriage to marriage.

  31. In answer to your question…my husband and I have never discussed those kind of boundaries. We are though, absolutely on the same page as far as those things go. Anything even remotely close to the example you gave is an absolute NO! I think it may be a good idea to discuss those kinds of things in marriage. We met when we were only 4 years old and grew up together being best friends (maybe this is why we never had to discuss this…we knew already)
    It’s a great question…I believe if there is a slight chance you may disagree on what is acceptable in the marriage relationship you do need to sit down and set up some limits! If the discussion has taken place then it leaves no room for error when these situations arise!

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