I have heard their is a need to establish boundaries in a Mormon mixed faith marriage. This may be true and this may not be true. Here we are going to talk about when a boundary is a good idea and how to set one and when we are really just trying to punish or control another person or reacting to our pain and hurt. 

A boundary only needs to be set if you have a boundary violation. A boundary violation occurs when someone invades  your physical, mental or emotional space. This is very rare. 

When a boundary violation occurs you can choose how YOU are going to respond. The purpose is not to change the other person to but be clear on what you are going to do about the violation. 

here is an example from a MFM of things that are not boundaries:

-We have to all go to the same church together. 

-You can’t read scriptures to the kids. 

These are not a boundaries, these are threats. 

These are designed to get the other person to act in a certain way. 

We cannot control other people. Period. That is why these do not work and only cause more frustration. 

We often say things like this because we are scared, frustrated and hurt. 

In fact in this situation a boundary is not even needed because there has not been an encroachment across a boundary. 

A request may be more acceptable. 

You can make these requests, such as:

-I would prefer if we all went to the same church together, but understand you get to choose how you spend your time on Sunday

-I would ask you don’t (or do) read scriptures with the kids, but I cannot stop you. I only ask we discuss it further so we can at least understand where we both stand. 

When a boundary really needs to be set to protect yourself physically, mentally or emotionally then here are my recommendations:

  1. Start from love – set a boundary from love not fear, frustration or hurt. 

  2. State what you are gong to do and do not expect them to change at all.

It may look like this:

-This marriage is so important to me that if you are going to yell at me, I am going to leave the room. 

The most important things with an effective boundary is to come from love (not control or frustration) and make sure you follow through with what you are going to do (in this case leave the room).

Common mistake:

I see many people say they don’t want others to talk to them about church (whether for or against)  and they need to set a boundary – meaning tell the other person to stop and desist. Unfortunately, this is not an effective boundary. In this situation say you have an in law who wants to talk to you about your faith transition or your spouse’s faith transition and you are not comfortable with that here are a few things to consider:

-You can request they do not discuss church.  

-You cannot control what they talk about, but you can let them know you are not interested in having this conversation and if they persist you will leave the room. 

-Act from love for them and for the relationship and love for yourself. 

Boundaries done right are some of the most loving things we can do for others and for ourself. It shows our respect and that we really do care about this relationship. The relationship matters enough that we are willing to be uncomfortable to make it better and remove the resentment that happens when we don’t set boundaries. 


A boundary is not about getting the other person to change or modify there behavior. The purpose is to be clear about your response to the violation. 

Set a boundary from love not fear or pain. 

Boundaries set from love not fear  are often just a form of manipulation or punishment. 

Do you need help figuring out boundaries and requests. Do you need help figuring out how to keep the resentment out of a relationship? Let’s talk  


Talk to you soon,

Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach