A struggle with healthy boundaries within a marriage.
By Vic LeBouthillier
This is the story of Jim and Judy, a married couple who seem to be struggling with getting their personal needs met within their relationship.
Check out how Jim and Judy are just beginning their journey towards succeeding at establishing healthy boundaries:
- Judy: When my husband comes home from work at night, I look forward to connecting with him, but he’s always so grumpy and disappears in front of the TV until I call him for dinner. This makes me feel rejected and abandoned. I have told him over and over again how important this is to me. I’ve spent the day by myself with just the kids. I need that connection with him. I don’t think he hears what I’m saying, and I’m starting to think he’s just not into me.
- Jim: After work, I feel hungry and tired. I just want to go home and relax, but my wife, who’s been alone with the kids all day, wants to connect the minute I walk in the door. I’m starting to dread going home. So when I get there, I isolate myself and withdraw from her. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with her–I just need 20 or 30 minutes to myself to chill out from a demanding day at work. Why can’t she understand how important this small thing is to me?
Although Jim and Judy are intelligent, high-functioning adults, when it came to establishing healthy boundaries in their relationship, they would get discouraged. It was unclear as to why it was so hard to learn how to set them. But, as Jim and Judy began to do their setting boundaries assessments, they both became aware that healthy boundaries were not taught to them as children. In fact, Jim’s parents would try to get their needs met by arguing, while Judy’s parents gave each other the silent treatment. It was an eye opener that these unhealthy patterns were being repeated within their own relationship. This awareness made them feel powerless about making positive changes that would lead to a healthy solution. As with most people, achieving this first level of awareness was a difficult stage for both Jim and Judy.