Boundaries in Marriage – Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Why did I read it?: This book was recommended by the pre-marital counselor at my church in Charlotte, Warehouse 242.
What’s the main point?: “Two becoming one” does not preclude having boundaries with one another in marriage. These boundaries can be emotional, physical, and spiritual. They are essential to protecting a lifelong relationship. Marriage requires two complete people coming together, not two broken people trying to find completion in one another. We are each responsible for our own actions and growth. We must also accept the consequences of our actions to be successful in marriage. If we do not enforce our boundaries, we can harm ourselves, our relationships, or become resentful of one another over time. Allowing our partners to help us address some of our issues and communicating boundaries as a team will help marriage to thrive and promote personal growth.
Takeaways: Successful marriages don’t just happen. They require intentional communication and thought about what each partner needs to thrive. A lot of this requires selflessness, but it also requires trusting the other person to have your best needs in mind. Boundaries offers helpful tips and anecdotes for how to deal with a variety of conflicts faced by real couples. It pushes readers to constantly consider the motivation behind their feelings and actions towards a spouse.
Inspirational quote: “We must become more deeply concerned about our own issues than our spouse’s.”
Verdict: This was one of my favorite pre-marital reads because the information is very practical and put words to experiences and emotions I’ve had that I previously couldn’t identify. The stories from the authors’ decades of experience as marriage counselors and married men highlight common issues that even happy relationships face. I was motivated to do some inward examination on what my boundaries are, what my struggles are, and to start sharing those with Nick. We have had great discussions about how we can safeguard our marriage and our communication, partly thanks to this book.