10 Necessary boundaries couples need with family and in-laws
The lines of communication get crossed, as do expectations. Sometimes people need to learn what is appropriate and what isn't, because when a partner has a history with their family that is not necessarily the case.
Typically, it takes two to tango. But when one person’s dancing with their family and the other is sitting on the sidelines, resentment may build.
This is why it’s necessary for both partners to take time out of their day to think about what they need in order to stay healthy and happy, such as 10 boundaries couples need with family and in-laws (No. 5 might surprise you!).
These boundaries will make all the difference in terms of how you treat your partner.
A personal relationship can be difficult enough on its own; adding children or parents into the relationship only compounds the difficulty exponentially, and can cause resentment if not handled well.
While it’s impossible to have perfect boundaries, here are 10 boundaries couples need with family and in-laws that will make all the difference in maintaining your bond as a couple.
1. Hold each other accountable
Everyone thinks they know their spouse better than anyone else, but only from first-hand experience. People don’t always understand what it means to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes, so it’s important for people to be clear on what is acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior. If you can’t say something nice even if it is true don’t say it at all.
2. Keep the communication open
A big part of having healthy boundaries is communicating your feelings. In the heat of the moment, when negative feelings are often stronger, it’s easy to just hit “send” on an email or text message without really thinking about what you’re saying.
Then you regret it later and things don’t go back to the way they were before. It helps if you try to keep communication open with your spouse in a positive manner so that when there are negative feelings, you can express them with your partner instead of an uncle or auntie who doesn’t understand how you feel.
3. Decide what you need
We all have different needs. So if you have a specific need in your relationship, you should communicate that to your spouse. For example, say it makes you feel uncomfortable when someone criticizes you to your spouse in front of other people. Take time out of the day just to talk about what you need and what is right for the both of you.
4. Be patient and forgiving
Having healthy boundaries means being patient and forgiving with the people that mean the most to us on a daily basis family members or friends as well as with our partner. Relationships may not always be easy, but they can still be healthy if we take the time to focus on what is healthy and right rather than everything we don’t want to see.
5. Don’t flaunt your family
People have different relationships with benefits or situations that extend outside of the relationship or marriage.
These are things that you don’t typically share with others, but you may think that a particular person your partner, for example wouldn’t find these things as problematic as others in your family might find them.
Remember that unhealthy boundaries occur when you flaunt an aspect of your life to others and then resent them for how they respond.
6. The “Okay” list
Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the things you don’t want to see happen than it is to bring up the things that you do want.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do like with your spouse, because chances are there are going to be things that he or she does that make you happy.
If this is difficult for you, start a list of the things your spouse does well in a notebook so you can have something tangible and easy to reference.
7. Don’t pitch battles
When a fight does happen, don’t push for it. Many couples have allowed their disagreements to turn into full-blown battles, which are exhausting and can cause you to lose sight of what really matters.
Set boundaries that say that you will never allow this type of behavior or argument to happen again, and your husband or wife will respect the boundaries and leave it at that, which is the most healthy choice in terms of maintaining a long-term relationship.
8. Stay away from the past
One of the biggest mistakes couples make when it comes to boundaries is getting stuck in the past when looking ahead. The only way you can move forward is if you let go of old grudges and let them remain in the past. If you feel yourself slipping back into old behavior, take a moment to evaluate why this is happening and think about whether or not this really matters any more.
9. Don’t alienate your family
People have different relationships with family members, and often there are some members of the family that are difficult. In general, it’s not healthy to alienate your in-laws or choose not to socialize with them for no good reason. If you can’t be around your family because of how they treat you, then this is a good time to break up with that person.
10. Express gratitude
Last but not least, the best way to get what you want is to be appreciative of the things that you already have in your life.
The act of expressing gratitude can make it possible for your spouse to fulfill your desires and makes it easier for him or her to be responsive to you when you need him or her most.
This also helps you appreciate what you have before wanting what others have. When you’re in a long-term relationship, appreciating what you have is one of the best ways that can make it last longer into the future.
Boundaries go a long way in helping to create healthy, happy relationships. With the right information and guidance, you can have the loving relationship with your partner that you deserve.