Creating Boundaries to Protect your Marriage


Marriages need protection! Marriages have enemies that will undermine the fragile connection between husband and wife. You protect your home from unwanted intruders. Do you protect your marriage from harm or do you ignore dangers until the damage has been done?

Most of your activities...even your friends can be divided into those who are friendly to your marriage, neutral, or unfriendly to your marriage. An activity or friendship can be good for you but not good for your marriage.

"I need to have time with my buddies."

"I feel better when I spend time alone."

"I need time to decompress by watching my TV shows."

All activities that are good for you are not good for your marriage.

Take time to do this exercise: Make a list of the people with whom you spend the most time and the activities you do the most. Beside each person and activity place a plus sign, a zero or a negative sign for those activities that are marriage-friendly, neutral or unfriendly to your marriage.

For instance, a girlfriend that speaks poorly of her marriage and encourages "girl-time" versus couple activities may be considered marriage unfriendly. Golf could be neutral if your husband comes home energized and enthused to be with you or marriage unfriendly if he comes home and sleeps off the several beers he consumed during his outing.

Marriage friendly activities and friends are those which encourage you to maintain and improve your connection with your spouse.

After you complete this inventory, ask yourself whether you have allowed too many enemies of your marriage to enter your lifestyle. Or have you developed too few marriage-friendly activities and relationships? What activities could you add which would likely create a stronger bond in your relationship?

It is not always the big blows that bring down a marriage, often a marriage dies from "a thousand paper cuts." How many couples wake up to find that one or both have lost their emotional, physical and sexual connection only because they have failed to nurture their marriage?

Perhaps your relationship needs more marriage-friendly activities or fewer marriage-unfriendly activities. Take time to discuss your inventory with your partner and ask him or her to also complete the exercise. You will probably find out that you disagree on what activities are friendly and unfriendly to your relationship.

Instead of arguing about this, listen to your partner's complaints and take time to assess the cost to your marriage before you defend the activity or relationship. Make it clear to your partner that you want to protect your relationship!

For further inquiries:

Check out Lee Horton, Ph.D., Psychologist, at

Phone: (901) 818- 5450