Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Chapter by chapter discussion of the book Boundaries.
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Leah
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby Leah » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:11 pm

King Charming wrote:I think the "why" is that I'm fighting between "giving in" to her and standing my ground. I'm doubting whether it's right to prolong a conflict rather than moving on. She's having some emotional distress about it and I've generally been one to respond and alleviate that.


Isn't the unwillingness to resolve conflict what is prolonging the conflict? If so, then is it really your issue? How can you resolve something by yourself? (Just going by what you say, here) aren't you the one who wants to resolve the issue in the light of objective truth?
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby King Charming » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:22 pm

Leah wrote:
King Charming wrote:I think the "why" is that I'm fighting between "giving in" to her and standing my ground. I'm doubting whether it's right to prolong a conflict rather than moving on. She's having some emotional distress about it and I've generally been one to respond and alleviate that.


Isn't the unwillingness to resolve conflict what is prolonging the conflict? If so, then is it really your issue? How can you resolve something by yourself? (Just going by what you say, here) aren't you the one who wants to resolve the issue in the light of objective truth?

Depends on your perspective. That's sure how it sounds from my side. From my wife's side of things, she has ended the conflict by decree (or maybe attrition) and I'm still stubbornly fighting the battle. She just gets tired of fighting. She gets backed into a corner and then her tune changes to "move on." To be fair, we're both pretty stubborn and I've surely been guilty in the past of dying on some hills that I should have just let go. I'm tough to argue with in the first place and I generally feel like I do hold the objective truth to boot whether I do or not. But... the outcomes are generally the same regardless of the worthiness of the issue. There have been many times that I've caught my wife and called her out on deflecting and nit-picking side issues rather than answering to the primary issue. More and more, I just let a lot of things go -- even things that might be "objectively" legitimate issues for discussion.
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby King Charming » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:26 pm

Seekryt wrote:The second is that in recovery, we talked about the rituals that occur in a relationship. Not all of them are bad. When I thought about it, though I could see how in some ways, when DH and I fight, we do it for the "hit". We escalate to a certain point, get our hit from the completion of the ritual and then eventually start the whole process all over again. Once we started to look at some of the destructive patterns and use boundaries to counteract those we started to see a lot more progress.

Does that make sense?

I think so. I call it "the dance." I advance, she deflects and retreats, I push further, she retreats further, I give up, etc.
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby mamame » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:12 am

I'm doubting whether it's right to prolong a conflict rather than moving on.

A conflict goes on until there is resolution. Moving on without resolving anything doesn't end the conflict - it just buries it. One person cannot resolve a conflict. It takes both.

She's having some emotional distress about it

umm..... good. If you always keep her from experiencing the consequences of her actions - why would she ever want to change?

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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby Leah » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:47 am

mamame: +1
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby King Charming » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:30 pm

So what's the difference between emotional distance as a consequence (sowing and reaping) and emotional distance as either a punishment or a primary dysfunction? I'm about halfway through Boundaries in Marriage and it seems to say that we should not punish our spouses with emotional distance, but at the same time that emotional disconnects may well be a natural consequence of boundary problems/solutions.
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby Leah » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:12 pm

King Charming wrote:So what's the difference between emotional distance as a consequence (sowing and reaping) and emotional distance as either a punishment or a primary dysfunction? I'm about halfway through Boundaries in Marriage and it seems to say that we should not punish our spouses with emotional distance, but at the same time that emotional disconnects may well be a natural consequence of boundary problems/solutions.


Your intent. Are you trying to punish your wife? Or are you tired of never being able to be on the same page? Clearly if your wife won't talk to you about conflicts, she is creating the emotional distance. You are just maintaining it.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby ukFred » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:13 am

Surely the whole idea of the "Boundaries" aaproach is to set the limits that I am happy with for me.

For example, I detest smoking. If DW smoked, then I might say something like,

"DW, you know that I detest smoking. I cannot bear to be near you when you smell of cigarette smoke. If you have been smoking and you want to get close, please ensure that you have had a shower and brushed your teeth before trying to get close. If you try to get close while smelling of cigarette smoke, I will withdraw from physical contact because I cannot bear the smell"

And when the inevitable attempt at physical contact with smell of cigarettes on her happens, I simply withdraw and tell DW why I have withdrawn.

Or, if I drink and we cannot afford to spend the money on alcohol, DW tells me, "We have a very limited budget. Set up a transfer of $XXX from your account into our household accound each week/month immediately after you have been paid to pay your share of the household bills, and the remainder is yours to get you to and from work and as pocket money for you to spend as you wish." Assuming that I transfer the money for the household bills, then there is no problem there. If I drink the money I need for fuel for the last week of the month, then I have to get the pedal cycle out to get to work that week, or walk. Her boundary is that she will not bail me out of my self-made misfortune.

These are the easy ones. The difficult ones are where one party or the other apologises but there has been damage done psychologically. For me, I suffered ED after my wife made something she had thought was a joke, but I took as an attack on my masculinity. ML was impossible for a time because I was unable to get an erection sufficient to penetrate. I initially withdrew emotionally from the relationship. Once I knew that this was a misunderstanding, but because I was feeling fragile, I was unable to do anything about my reaction. I did not hold back from ML, but I was unable to ML. But this was a boundaries issue too. The boundary was that until I felt sufficiently recovered, DW should not approach me to ML, with the implication that I would not simply ignore DW's need for an emotional connection.
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby Leah » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:35 am

ukFred wrote:These are the easy ones. The difficult ones are where one party or the other apologises but there has been damage done psychologically. For me, I suffered ED after my wife made something she had thought was a joke, but I took as an attack on my masculinity. ML was impossible for a time because I was unable to get an erection sufficient to penetrate. I initially withdrew emotionally from the relationship. Once I knew that this was a misunderstanding, but because I was feeling fragile, I was unable to do anything about my reaction. I did not hold back from ML, but I was unable to ML. But this was a boundaries issue too. The boundary was that until I felt sufficiently recovered, DW should not approach me to ML, with the implication that I would not simply ignore DW's need for an emotional connection.


Time for healing is necessary when boundaries have been encroached. I think the boundary was appropriate. Boundaries define us and keep us safe, but they do not undo the damage done by someone else.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby ukFred » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:47 am

Leah in Mid-South wrote:Time for healing is necessary when boundaries have been encroached. I think the boundary was appropriate. Boundaries define us and keep us safe, but they do not undo the damage done by someone else.


Leah, that is spot-on.

It was only after time and further talking had restored confidence, and some emotional intimacy, that I felt able to to ML again.

The main thing that I have discovered about the whole "Boundaries" series is that I should use boundaries to protect myself from being hurt, and that when someone else causes some hurt, I need to be explicit in setting both the boundary and the consequences of breach.

The example I gave, of a husband who was tempted to overspend in the first few days of the month and then have to get bailed out by his wife is a really good case in point. I was brought up in central Scotland where there was a major problem with alcohol abuse. On Fridays (payday) at the factory where my father worked, there would be several wives outside the gate, waiting for their husbands to get paid, and they take the housekeeping then give their husbands their 'pocket money' for the coming week. Some of those husbands did not have any money to go out with by Saturday night. But what I saw was a perfect example of boundaries in action. If the wife did not get her housekeeping, then the family might go without that week. Her boundary was, if you give me what I need to keep the family fed for the week, then I will let you do what you like with the rest. If you do not do that, then I will meet you publicly and take the money I need for housekeeping and let you have the rest. It was not done from a Christian perpsective, but it worked. It might have worked better if the husband had come home to the wife with the wage packet, but many of them could not be trusted to do that because of their addiction to alcohol.

KC, perhaps in your case you need to set a boundary about something that is really, really, important to you, and tell your DW both what the boundary is and what the consequences of her breaching that boundary is. And stick to it.
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Re: Boundaries in (my) Marriage

Postby Leah » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:38 am

ukFred, I think you are getting a very good grasp on boundaries.

On general principle for lurkers or whoever might read this later, I would like to point out that the "consequences" are there to protect myself as well as keep the relationship on the right track. We are not punitive in our boundaries because God is not punitive. We are objects of his grace. That's why we say, "I choose to live with a responsible person. If you choose to behave in an irresponsible way, then I will choose to limit the ways in which that irresponsibility harms me."

Another thing Boundaries does is distinguish between hurt and harm. Hurt might be what someone feels when I start living out my boundaries. An example would be a teen who stays up late, pushes the snooze alarm, and insists I move heaven and earth to get her somewhere on time. If I choose to let her be responsible for getting herself ready, I say so: "Honey, it will be up to you to be up and dressed and ready to go by 8:00am. I will be up and ready to go at that time. If you are not ready, then I will leave without you and you will have to arrange your own transportation or miss work." That would be hurt. It would be letting the teen live out the consequences of her own action.

Harm would be something that does not honor the boundaries of another. Harm can often be as a result of withholding hurt. If I choose not to hurt an intoxicated friend by taking away his keys, and he drives away, I have done harm.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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