Setting boundaries in marriage can be somewhat of a dicey concept.
Why would two people who love each other and who are willing to back up their claims by committing to married life, choose to set boundaries? Aren’t you both supposed to be close, forever and always?
Maybe in a romance novel, but not in the real world.
Don’t get me wrong, there are moments for closeness and intimacy in the relationship, but there are also moments where distance and boundaries must be established.
And for us men, it can be challenging to draw those boundaries in marriage without creating a mortal enemy.
That being said, I believe that any husband is perfectly right to partake in Domestic Disobedience against his wife in certain instances. In these specific cases, he’ll be better of standing up for himself, than rolling over and playing “good little husband.”
So under what circumstances should a husband draw boundaries in marriage and tactfully disobey his wife’s explicit and implicit orders?
When, out of resentment, she endlessly criticizes you for things in the past.
It’s not fair of her to project the past into your present and future. If the mistakes you have made in the past are too much for her to bear and she can’t get over them, why is she still with you? Stand up for yourself.
When she demoralizes you in front of others. You should never have to put up with public humiliation in front of others – especially from your wife. If she’s gone out of her way to humiliate you, make it a point to let her know you aren’t going to put up with it. It’s best to do this in private. Talk to her calmly and try to find out why she said what she said.
When she doesn’t trust you and you’ve done nothing to warrant distrustful feelings. If your wife doesn’t have a reason not to trust you, but still distrusts you, it needs to be addressed. Perhaps this is something that comes from her deep rooted insecurities, which are being imposed onto your relationship. Unfortunately, her own insecurities can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in your marriage.
When she is set on trying to change who you are, without first understanding who you are. This is an issue that many men struggle with. (Or at least feel they struggle with.) They feel their wives are trying to change them. And it’s not far from the truth. Don’t put up with this, but don’t be a stubborn ass either.
If you doubt the fact that some women deliberately attempt to change their spouses, consider Michelle Wiener-Davis’s book titled “A Woman’s Guide To Changing Her Man: Without His Even Knowing It.”
When her jealousy of your healthy hobbies causes feeling of personal guilt and frustration. If your wife gets all pissy and possessive at the precise moment when you sit down to play a video game, or the guitar, or you start planning out your trip to Comic-Con, you have the right to disobedience – especially if you are starting to feel guilty and frustrated. If these things make you happy and you’re engaged with them in a healthy way, it’s only going to make you a healthier person.
These boundaries in marriage are fair. Of course you can’t expect your wife to respect them if you yourself aren’t respecting hers, so don’t be a hypocrite.
Don’t embarrass her in front of others.
Don’t project past mistakes of hers into the present moment.
Avoid trying to turn her into the woman you want her to be.
And when she wants to have a girls night out or head to the spa along with her mani and pedi, don’t bust her balls about it.
Yes, this whole “boundaries in marriage” thing is a two-way street.
And sometimes, on your part and for your own sanity, a strong dose of disobedience is called for. It’s required. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself.
Setting boundaries and letting your wife know when she has violated them provides the much-needed balance between independence and interdependence in the relationship.
Once you find that balance, you’ll both respect and love each other with a bit more honesty.
From one husband to another,
PS Last week I wrote an article titled A Trip To Rome With My Dictator Wife for a travel blog. Click here to read the article. And while you’re at it, take a look at some of the great travel stories this couple posts. They go all over the world. If you like traveling (as much as I do), you’ll love it.