Most people would agree that boundaries are essential especially in a Mormon/LDS mixed faith marriage.
At the same time boundaries are often misused and/or misunderstood.
A boundary used correctly, creates room for respect, love and ultimately connection. A boundary created and enforced from love will make a relationship better in the long run as it can prevent so much resentment. A boundary set from love will pay off in the long run.
A boundary is 100% about WHAT YOU WILL DO. A boundary has nothing to do with CONTROLLING SOMEONE ELSE’S BEHAVIOR.
If you are trying to get someones else to do something or not do something – that is NOT a boundary that is control or manipulation.
A boundary is 100% about what you will do or not do in a particular situation. That is why, in order for a boundary to be effective you must follow through with it.
Here is an example of a boundary used correctly and effectively:
First you decide your boundary.
Perhaps you decide you will not participate in a conversation where the church or its leadership are disparaged. (My husband used this on me early in my faith transition – at first I was taken aback, but it was very effective and good for both of us in the long run).
Second, you make a request.
“I am no longer going to participate in conversations with you that disparage the church or its leadership. If you disparage them then I will end the conversation and leave the room.”
This is effective because, following thorough with the boundary is 100% in your control. Your partner can keep on disparaging, you will simply not participate. You are in no way controlling or limiting their choices, just your participation.
Third, you follow through on your boundary (i.e. you leave the room if the boundary is violated.)
Here is an example of a boundary used incorrectly:
You decide your boundary is that your spouse cannot attend family dinner as they will talk about you and your choices.
You tell him he cannot go and cannot talk about you behind your back with his family.
This is not a boundary. This is control.
Here is an EXERCISE to help you create and enforce effective boundaries:
What is the boundary violation (what is infringing on your physical, metal, or emotional space)?
What is the boundary you want to set?
WHY? (THIS IS IMPORTANT – DO NOT SKIP)
What is your request? If you…
What you will do if the boundary is crossed: Then I will…
Make a boundary from LOVE, not punishment or fear.
Be clear what a violation would look like.
Decide what YOU will do, not someone else. This is NOT about trying to get them to change.
Follow through on what you said you will do. Be in integrity with yourself.
Boundaries can be a bit uncomfortable in the short run, but they pay big dividends in the long run if set from love and a desire to help the relationship. They can avoid so much frustration, resentment and pain.
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If you found this helpful, there is more! I have a ton of resources to help you.
Go to BrookeBoothCoaching.com where I have a blog all about issues around being a Mormon or post Mormon in a mixed faith marriage caused by a faith transition.
If you are really ready to start working on your mixed faith marriage CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE call with me to talk about how coaching can help you mixed faith marriage. I will give you a full hour and we will really explore the issues you are facing and decide if coaching is a good fit for you. Your marriage is worth it!
Talk to you soon,
Brooke Booth, JD
Certified Life Coach