As we’ve talked about a few times this month, being in a relationship requires some vulnerability. You hand over a little piece of yourself and if it’s treated with care you can hand over another and another until a true bond is formed.
But what about those relationships where you don’t hand over your entire self? What are the rules for setting boundaries? To be perfectly honest, darned if I know for sure, but I think it’s important to talk about it.
In our professional relationships, the boundary may be around a lot of your personal life. Your colleagues do not need to know if your spouse turned you down in bed last night or if you have a pile of dishes a mile high because you’re just too tired to wash them. There are things you might hold back about your kids, your financial struggles, or anything else. As much as you can, just stick to business.
With our familial relationships, there are different boundaries. In our quest to protect our children from the ugliness of the world, we may try to do things like not share what’s bothering us or not cry in front of them. Depending on what your parents were like growing up, you may shield much of your life from them or relatively little. With your spouse, there may be seasons where you share a lot and others where you share relatively little.
All this musing is to say, setting boundaries is something that you should do to keep yourself safe. Despite all the trust in the world, if you feel (and continue to feel) uncomfortably vulnerable you’re not going to be the person in the relationship that enhances someone’s life. Those are the real boundaries you need to set – is the boundary life-enhancing or life-threatening?