Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This, our latest book, is available in August, 2017 through Destiny Image Publishers or presently with House to House Publications.
Healthy relationships bring happiness to our lives. They add fun, reduce stress, and decrease anxiety as we give love to and receive love from the people around us. The opposite is true of unhealthy relationships. They increase stress and anxiety in our lives. They bring broken hearts and spirits.
For relationships to be healthy, they must have boundaries. What does this mean? Literally, boundaries are the physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual limits we place on a relationship. Unhealthy relationships do not respect these limits; they cross boundaries all the time (for example, abuse of any kind, from manipulation, demands, unrealistic expectations, or loss of freedom to even more severe abuses).
If we don’t maintain an awareness of our distinction from others (where one person ends and the other begins), we will be incapable of being who God has called us to be as a healthy individual. Instead, we will attempt to be who we think another desires us to become. If we do not set healthy boundaries for ourselves, we empower others to manipulate and control us to be who they selfishly want us to be (to meet their own personal needs) rather than who God has designed us to be. Oneness within a marriage relationship is never about control or manipulation but, rather, love that respects personal boundaries. Control and manipulation are about exercising power, while love is about freedom.
For more on boundary perceptions and the twelve values found in healthy marriage relationships, see chapter four of Staying Together.
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