Anything of value deserves to be protected, and your marriage is definitely valuable. Even if you trust your spouse wholeheartedly, it’s still wise to keep your eyes open and to put some “guard rails” in place.
You may think that your marriage is fine as is, but like bowling bumpers or train tracks, setting boundaries can keep your relationship safe and headed in the right direction. While every marriage has different circumstances, challenges and limitations, when it comes to setting boundaries there are some big ones that can be universally applied.
Here are the top 10.
1. No Secrets
Whether it’s about money, plans or feelings, there’s never a good reason to keep a secret from your spouse. In order for a marriage to thrive there needs to be honesty between partners. To encourage honesty from your spouse it’s important that you don’t blow up anytime you hear something you dislike.
2. Agree on Work Boundaries
In today’s day and age, men and women work together. Simple as that. However, it is common for affairs to begin in a work environment. To prevent infidelity, it’s important for you and your spouse agree on some ground rules to protect you both from any slippery slopes. Knowing your spouse’s co-workers helps to not only limit opportunity, but it can also be a great way to find a healthy mindset. Being familiar with each other’s worlds will make it easy for you to spot trouble if it arrives.
3. Agree on Boundaries For the Kids
Disagreeing on parenting can be toxic to your marriage and disastrous for your kids.
Talk about what the rules and expectations for the children should be, and then support one another by sticking to your joint decision.
Your kids may try to play “good cop, bad cop” between you and your spouse, but if you’re on the same page then there shouldn’t be any issues.
4. Negotiate the Budget and Stick to It
Since money is one of the biggest deal breakers in marriage, the two of you should determine your financial goals and decide how your income will be used. Once you agree on guidelines, stick to them. Sure you might be able to get away with spending extra bits here and there, but the trouble with this is the lack of honesty. Instead, be transparent with your spending and if something unusual comes up, talk about it.
5. Beware of Time Consuming Hobbies
It’s fine to have individual interests (in fact, it’s necessary in a lasting love life), however, if your hobby or passion project causes you to spend more time with others than your spouse then problems may arise. To prevent this from happening limit the hours spent on separate endeavours each week, or find something to enjoy doing together.
6. Be Loyal
How many times have you heard your buddy or co-worker complain about their spouse to others? Probably lots. Your spouse needs to be able to count on you to speak positively about him or her, and defend their honour if necessary.
To help you get into the habit, consider how your spouse would react if they overheard what was being said. As their spouse you should be their biggest fan, so if anything negative is said about your spouse, speak up!
7. Don’t Assume, Ask
“When you assume things you make an ass-out-of-u-and-me.” It’s true! While there are some things you can probably guess your spouse’s reaction to, be careful not to assume too much. An easy way to avoid conflict is when in doubt, ask.
8. Practice Transparent Communication
The only reason to have a cell phone or online password that your spouse doesn’t know is if you have something to hide. Both partners in a marriage should be comfortable with having their spouse look at any social media accounts, text messages, or other forms of communication.
This isn’t to say that you should demand access to your spouse’s accounts, but rather that they shouldn’t have to worry about you seeing anything fishy.
9. Be Accountable
There’s nothing more powerful than the imagination, so rather than making your spouse’s mind run a mile a minute, be accountable. It’s not a sign of a lack of trust for married couples to check in with one another, but rather a sign of the times we live in.
If you’re going to be late, call and let your spouse know. If you’re going to lunch with a group from the office, shoot your spouse a quick text to say so. Finding out about these things later or from others can breed suspicion and resentment.
10. Consider Your Company
So often spouses are left worrying when their partner goes out – not because they don’t trust him or her, but because they don’t trust their company. If you or your spouse likes to get together with friends on occasion, then make sure they’re like-minded friends who won’t drag either of you into uncomfortable situations.
Friends are important, but family comes first.