Before marriage, everyone has all these exciting expectations that usually involve sunshine and rainbows. Even those who boast of happy marriages never tell the full story so a lot of people are actually shocked when it’s finally their turn. You hear stories of how they found the love of their lives, and how their partners complete them. But nobody ever warns you that getting married to someone means they will ALWAYS be there. As in, even in times when you just want to be left alone, this person will still be there. For a former single person who is used to having their own space and doing things in other ways, this may be very unsettling especially if you have a partner that refuses to honor your boundaries. In cases like this, if it is not addressed soon enough, then you begin to hear complaints like, “I hate that my wife doesn’t get that I need space” or “I resent my husband for not setting boundaries”. Some people don’t even have boundaries and that alone is a recipe for disaster. With marriage, boundaries are very necessary because a lifetime is too long to spend with someone you resent.
While having boundaries is very important, that alone is not sufficient. You need to let your partner know that any violation would result in consequences that you should be more than ready to follow up with. If you’re not sure about how to establish consequences for boundary violations, here are a few things you should know.
Make sure they are deliberate and not impulsive
If your consequences are going to have any effect at all, then you need to be deliberate about them. Do not wait until you’ve been violated to make that decision. That way, when it happens, you are not caught unawares and you don’t react emotionally as this could ruin the intended effect.
Make sure it is a related consequence
When establishing boundaries and consequences, make sure they are related. For example, if your husband goes through leaves his clothes lying around, get him to do the laundry for a week. That way, he sees that his actions affect you and you’re doing something about it.
It should be appropriate for the crime
When establishing consequences make sure that they are just as severe as the violation is. If the consequence is not as severe, your spouse begins to feel like he can do what he wants and just get a slap on the wrist. On the other hand, if it is too severe, it may begin to feel like you’re overreacting.
You should be able to enforce it
If you are going to establish a consequence, make sure it is something you know you can enforce. Don’t go creating consequences that you’ll never be able to follow through because that will only make you appear as more of a joke to them.
While you do all of this, make sure you are following up with your partner’s character. If you’ve noticed that all that you’ve tried is not working and you still do not get the respect that you desire, you may need to start seeking out more drastic solutions.