boundaries, pt 2.

by Liz on 02.21

I was pretty bummed that I was out all day when this first post aired. I came home to some amazingly smart comments, and it made me wish I had been around for the discussion.

Before I even ran that post, however, I knew it would need a Part 2.

When describing the internet boundaries we established for our marriage, I knew it sounded like nothing that happens between me and Josh is ever shared outside of the four walls of my teeny apartment. This is totally untrue.

Most of what happens between us isn’t fit for the internet. That’s not just because of the overabundance of dirty jokes. It’s because marriage is a personal thing- physically, emotionally, spiritually- personal. To put it on public display is to remove some of the intimacy, sure, but also to take away from the importance of it all.

However, a large part of marital boundaries is not just knowing what to keep out of the public eye, but also what can NOT be kept personal. Josh and I don’t publish everything for public consumption. But, protecting our marriage doesn’t mean keeping everything in- it also means a healthy dose must be shared.

Awhile back I was in a discussion with someone who said she would never share marital arguments with ANYONE outside of their marriage. She felt that their arguments were private and that anything within the bounds of marriage was sacred. I remember several people nodding in agreement with her, and all the while, I’m thinking, “NOOO, honey. NO.”

Being inside of a relationship removes a level of objectivity. In a sense, that’s what makes marriage awesome. No one on the outside understands. No one gets your inside jokes, your quirks in bed, your joke-fights and petnames that sound crude or insulting. It’s a wonderfully separate secret place that no other person could fathom.

But that very aspect of an intimate relationship is what makes it so dangerous.  You assume, “No one else understands him,” and “No one knows him like I do,” enough and that line of thinking can put you at risk.

 

Josh and I have an understanding that we’re able to share anything at all with a few select friends. We can tell them about the fights, the sex- anything. Part of that is trusting one another not to just use that avenue without discretion. Part is knowing that these people are wise and will offer valuable opinions. Part is also seeing that they know each of us well enough to offer a loving and objective opinion. They knew us and loved us before we were married. They heard us say our vows. And they’re there to remind us of those vows when we need it. They’re there to tell us if something sounds off or unhealthy, to offer advice on how to fix things, to call us out when we’re being dummies, to encourage us when we want to give up on each other.

I can’t imagine how we’d cope without these friends.

I’ve been in and around enough unhealthy relationships to know that a key piece to perpetuating unhealthy cycles is to keep everything private.

 

Marriage is a tricky thing. Life itself is tricky, and trying to navigate the snags and obstacles of life with another person without any sort of guidance just seems silly. In my own stubborn independence, I’ve learned that things I try to do on my own, without the advice and help of friends, often end up being dismal failures. Why would I risk the same of my marriage?

 

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