How one couple learned to set healthy boundaries within their marriage.
By Vic LeBouthillier
In our previous blog, you were introduced to Jim and Judy, a couple struggling to get their personal needs met within their marriage. After realizing that healthy boundaries were never taught to them as children, they felt powerless about making positive changes that would lead to a healthy solution. So, Jim made an appointment for him and Judy to go see his EAP counselor. The counselor led them through the 4 steps on how to set a healthy boundary.
Jim Setting a Boundary
Jim: “Judy, is this a good time to check in with you?”
Jim: “I need to say something that will take less than 2 minutes. Can you hear me out without interruption?”
Jim: “I am finding that my work is extremely challenging these days and when I get home, I feel a strong need to veg out in front of the TV and power nap. After that, I feel rejuvenated and feel up to hanging out with you and the kids. But, I find that you get offended and express your feelings indirectly to me. That makes me feel guilty. What I need is for you to give me 30 minutes to get prepared for family life, which is something that I actually look forward to — but just once I get my energy back.”
Jim: “Judy, I just want to thank you for hearing me out on this important concern. The reason I am sharing it with you is that I value our marriage and don’t want things like this to negatively affect it.”
Judy Setting a Boundary
Judy: “Jim, is this a good time to check in with you?”
Judy: “I need to say something that will take less than 2 min. Can you hear me out without interruption?”
Judy: “After being at home with only the kids all day, I really need some adult contact. When you walk in the door, I just want to be acknowledged by you. Instead, I feel rejected when I see you, like you don’t have time for me. I also realize that you’re tired and need to get your energy back before you get into family mode. What I would like from you when you come home is to just spend a minute connecting with me. All I need is for you to quickly say ‘hi’ to me and the kids, and maybe give me a hug. Then you can take your 30-minute break. I feel this way, each of us can have our needs met.”
Judy: “Jim, thanks so much for hearing me. I so appreciate you understanding my needs. The reason that I am sharing this with you is that I value our marriage and hate it when things come between us.”