I have been thinking about boundaries a lot lately. Boundaries for myself, at work, with people in different areas of my life, and in my marriage. Coincidentally, most of these boundaries intertwine and overlap, or are set up to help me succeed in the other areas of my life. At the end of last summer, I sat down and made a list of all of the different roles I play in my life; employee, wife, daughter, friend, student, etc. and then I set at least five boundaries or rules in each of those areas that have helped me stay more sane, be more productive and find better balance in my every day activities. Recently it occurred to me that Joe and I could set boundaries together to make our relationship easier and prevent conflict.
Our boundaries are constantly changing, depending on what life looks like for us at any given moment. Because I'm a student, my schedule is usually measured in semesters and our routines coincide with those semester changes. They also depend on whether Joe is in the middle of mowing season or not. Right now, I am busy with school and work six days a week but Joe has a day off and it's not mowing season. He likes to clean on his day off, so I come home once a week to a very clean apartment. In a month or so, Joe will spend his days off mowing or aerating and running his business. I will still be taking night classes but will no longer be working Saturdays so I'll be the one with time to clean. We are aware of each other's limits and we work together to stay within those.
Most married couples have weekly date night and they both know, no matter what, they'll get time together one night each week without any interruptions. Making quality time a priority and not letting anything interfere has been a big goal of mine lately because our schedules are so hectic and all over the place. Never working past five, not having my work e-mail sync with my phone, and not doing hair from my home ensures that I have time to focus on my school work and spend more quality time with my husband. Last summer, Joe and I decided that while we love getting together with our families on a weekly basis, every was was getting to be a bit much for us. We were both working six days a week and the one day off that we had together included a lot of church meetings and time with both of our families, so we claimed one Sunday a month for ourselves. On that Sunday, I try to avoid extra meetings, and we spend the afternoon napping, watching movies, eating food, and just being lazy together. There have been rare occasions when we've made an exception for someone's birthday or a special family event, but we really try to stick to our plan.
As part of this weekend's date night, it might be fun sit down with your spouse and set some boundaries. Maybe one of you absolutely hates to take out the garbage, and it becomes an argument every time so you might decide that the other person will always take out the garbage, as long as they don't ever have to clean the toilet. Be sure to also set boundaries that will protect your marriage from outside conflicts. I admire people who have a no electronics in the bedroom rule, (tv, phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) and I think it's the perfect boundary to guarantee quality time together, better sleep and a happier couple.
Make a few goals of how you want your marriage to improve and set boundaries that will make those goals more achievable. Don't be afraid to revisit and change some of the boundaries you've made from time to time. If one isn't working, try something new. When life changes, adjust your boundaries accordingly. Take control of your life and your marriage, you'll be happier, I promise!
Do you have boundaries in your life and/or marriage already? What are they?
Are there boundaries you want to set? What are they?