By Lavern Nissley
A woman asked this question to a marriage and family expert: "How do I love my spouse, but still express my own voice and needs?" (Barbara G.)
The underlying question actually has to do with boundaries, and whether they are healthy or unhealthy.
The marriage and family expert then proceeded to lay out a framework for evaluating the health of boundaries. You'll want to see this simple, sensible and visual distinction.
According to Alison Cook, posting the response on April 16, 2020, there are two general extremes that illustrate unhealthy boundaries:
Here's a visual representation of the two extremes.
I can't even count the numbers of times couples have approached us over the past 30 years with these two sets of unhealthy boundaries. Unhealthy boundaries = major dissatisfaction. Fortunately, there are many insights and skills for couples to extract themselves from these two extremes! Check out the newly updated RINGS Experience which combines relationship EDUCATION and COACHING toward a healthy and satisfying relationship.
Healthy boundaries, on the other hand, are somewhere in the middle and lead to satisfaction and fulfillment.
Here's the visual of this boundary.
Which of these three boundaries represent your current relationship? You may even want to subdivide your relationship into categories like parenting, vocation/work, spirituality, hobbies and leisure, money, and sex.
And if you need help sorting this out, we're here to help. We're a phone call or mouse click away. And we love to see "family trees forever changed."
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Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.