The proverb, “Good fences make good neighbours” has a great deal of wisdom.

The concept of having clearly defined boundaries helps us to develop healthy relationships. When people know the limits of what they can demand from a relationship, it allows all parties to enjoy it. Hidden agendas evaporate and positive feeling in the relationship flourishes.

Marriages also benefit from appropriate boundaries.

In this case, the boundaries need to form a protective perimeter around the marriage, rather than between the spouses. Infidelity expert, Shirley Glass, speaks of ‘windows and doors’ to explain what happens to a couple’s marriage when it is exposed to infidelity. The external boundaries around the marriage erode allowing the affair partner to penetrate the intimacy of the marriage. The straying spouse reveals more and more of the marriage as he or she complains about their spouse and seeks consolation from the affair partner.

Like curtains being opened on the windows of a house, the privacy and integrity of the marriage is compromised. At the same time, a barrier between the spouses forms as the secret liaison grows. The unfaithful spouse withdraws and often ceases to invest emotionally in the marriage. This isolates the spouses from each other as the doors are closed on more and more of the spouses’ lives.

To protect your marriage from trespassers of any kind be it infidelity, the internet, meddling in-laws or demanding friends, appropriate boundaries need to be established. Keep the doors inside your marriage wide open so that each of you has full access to all the intimacies of the other’s life. And draw the shades on the windows to prevent home invaders trespassing on your marital privacy.

 

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