Boundaries in Marriage: An 8-Session Focus on Understanding the Boundaries That Make or Break Loving Relationships

Overview

Marriage. It Takes Two Individuals to Become One Flesh.

Only when you and your mate know and respect each other's needs, choices, and freedom can you give yourselves freely and lovingly to one another. Boundaries in Marriage gives you the tools you need. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, counselors and authors of the award-winning bestseller Boundaries, show you:

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Overview

Marriage. It Takes Two Individuals to Become One Flesh.

Only when you and your mate know and respect each other's needs, choices, and freedom can you give yourselves freely and lovingly to one another. Boundaries in Marriage gives you the tools you need. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, counselors and authors of the award-winning bestseller Boundaries, show you:

Why boundaries and the Ten Laws of Boundaries are vital for a thriving, productive marriage
How values form the structure and architecture of marriage
How to protect a marriage from intruders, whether other people, affairs, or personal idols
Why each partner needs to establish personal boundaries, and how to go about it
How to work with a spouse who understands and values boundaries—and how to work with one who doesn't

Boundaries in Marriage helps you understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in your marriage—and move beyond them to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you both long for.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
'We've been waiting for John and Henry to write this book for a long time -- and it has been well worth the wait! 'Boundaries in Marriage' holds the key to mutual respect and provides the tools for making your relationship everything you want it to be. You can't afford to miss this outstanding resource.' -- Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, Author, 'Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts'

'Drs. Cloud and Townsend have created another masterpiece! No one understands the issue of boundaries better than they do. Counselors and couples alike will greatly benefit from their articulate and in-depth exploration.' -- Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., Professor, Former Dean of the Graduate School of Psychology Fuller Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310270836
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California. SPANISH BIO: El Dr. Henry Cloud es un conferenciante de gran popularidad. Con el Dr. John Townsend es anfitrion del programa de radio New Life Live!, ademas de ambos ser fundadores de la Clinica Cloud-Townsend y de la organizacion Cloud-Townsend Resources. Es el autor de varios libros premiados con el reconocimiento Medalla de Oro, entre ellos 'Limites' y 'El poder transformador de los grupos pequenos'. El Dr. Cloud, su esposa y sus dos hijas radican en el Sur de California.

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, co-host of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of the Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He has written or co-written twenty-seven books, including the bestselling Boundaries, Safe People, and Hiding from Love. He and his wife, Barbi, live in southern California. They have two grown sons. SPANISH BIO: El Dr. John Townsend es un popular conferencista y un famosisimo autor de exito de ventas. Es graduado de psicologia clinica en Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology de Biola University. Ademas es coautor de numerosos libros incluyendo el ganador de la Medalla de Oro Limites. el es coanfitrion del programa radial emitido a nivel nacional New Life Live!

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Read an Excerpt

A Tale of Two Couples

Recently, I (Dr. Townsend) had two separate dinners with two married couples who are friends of mine. These two couples are in their later years, and each of the couples has been married for more than four decades. They are in what we call the "Golden Years," the period of marriage in which all the love and work over the years culminate, we hope, in a deep and satisfying connection. However, I was struck by the huge difference between the two couples.

With Harold and Sarah, I enjoyed a buffet dinner where you get a ticket for various parts of the meal and you have to leave the table with your ticket and go get your item. The dinner was winding down; we were ready for dessert. Harold reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his dessert ticket. Tossing it in front of Sarah, he said casually, "Sarah. Dessert." Not "Please, Sarah, will you get my dessert for me?" And certainly not "Can I get your dessert, honey?" Harold was assuming Sarah would obediently comply with his two-word command.

I didn't know what to say, so I sat there and watched. Sarah was clearly embarrassed by Harold's public display of control. She sat there for a couple of seconds, apparently deciding what to do. Then she seemed to gather up her courage and quietly but forcefully said, "Why don't you get your own dessert?"

Harold looked surprised. Evidently he wasn't used to her refusing to obey his commands. However, he recovered, made a weak joke about uppity women, and left the table to redeem his ticket. While he was gone, Sarah said to me, "Sorry, I just couldn't let it go this time, with my friends here." I felt so sad for Sarah, realizing that her reaction to her husband tonight was the exception rather than the rule. I also realized that, on a deeper level, while Harold and Sarah were legally connected, they were emotionally disconnected. Their hearts were not knit together.

Frank and Julia were different. I was traveling, and they were hosting me. We went to their home after dinner. After a while, it was time for me to return to my hotel, and I needed a ride. Julia, a counselor like me, was primarily responsible for my trip and had been chauffeuring me to various speaking engagements and meetings. So clearly she was the person to take me back.

However, Frank looked at his wife and said, "You look tired, honey. I'll take John back to his hotel." I could see the conflict in Julia's face between her duty to me and her need for rest. Finally, she said, "Okay, thanks." And Frank drove me to the hotel.

The next day, at the conference, I talked to Julia. I remarked on Frank's kindness in offering the ride and on her struggle with taking the offer. She said, "It wasn't always that way. In our twenties, he wouldn't have offered, and I wouldn't have taken the offer. But we worked on this issue a lot during those days. I had to put my foot down on some issues, and we almost divorced. It was a difficult period, but it has paid off. We can't imagine not being each other's soul mates." During my time with them, I had observed that Frank's and Julia's hearts were knit together, that they were emotionally connected.

Though both couples had many years of marriage experience, each couple's love and relationship had taken very different turns. Harold and Sarah were unable to love deeply and relate to each other, because Harold controlled Sarah and Sarah allowed him to control her. They had what are called major boundary conflicts, in which one person crosses the lines of responsibility and respect with another. When one person is in control of another, love cannot grow deeply and fully, as there is no freedom.

Frank and Julia could have very likely ended up the same way. From what I could tell, they started off similarly in their early married years. Frank dominated, and Julia complied. However, she confronted the problem, she set limits and established consequences, and their marriage grew. Clearly, both couples were reaping the results of how they had conducted themselves in the earlier seasons of marriage. The first couple harvested a sad result; the other, a joyous one.

Your Life Begins Today

If you are reading this book, most likely marriage is important to you. You may be happy in your marriage and want it to keep growing. You may be struggling and dealing with major or minor problems. You may be single and want to prepare for marriage. You may be divorced and want to prevent the pain you went through if you remarry.

Most of us have no greater desire and prayer than a lifetime of love and commitment to one person with whom we can share life. Marriage is one of God's greatest gifts to humanity. It is the mystery of living as one flesh with another human being (Ephesians 5: 31 - 32).

Marriage is first and foremost about love. It is bound together by the care, need, companionship, and values of two people, which can overcome hurt, immaturity, and selfishness to form something better than what each person alone can produce. Love is at the heart of marriage, as it is at the heart of God himself (1 John 4: 16).

Yet, love is not enough. The marriage relationship needs other ingredients to grow and thrive. Those ingredients are freedom and responsibility. When two people are free to disagree, they are free to love. When they are not free, they live in fear, and love dies: "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4: 18). And when two people together take responsibility to do what is best for the marriage, love can grow. When they do not, one takes on too much responsibility and resents it; the other does not take on enough and becomes self-centered or controlling. Freedom and responsibility problems in a marriage will cause love to struggle. Like a plant without good soil, the marriage relationship will struggle in an unfriendly environment.

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Table of Contents

Love Is Not Enough 7
Laying the Foundation
This Kit Contains 9
How This Leader's Guide Is Organized 9
A Note about Timing 11
Before the First Session 11
Tips for Leading Group Discussions 12
Session 1 What's a Boundary, Anyway? 13
Session 2 Applying the Ten Laws of Boundaries to Marriage 27
Session 3 Setting Boundaries with Yourself 53
Session 4 Values One and Two: Love of God and Love of Spouse 71
Session 5 Values Three and Four: Honesty and Faithfulness 89
Session 6 Values Five and Six: Compassion and Forgiveness, and Holiness 103
Session 7 Resolving Conflict in Marriage 117
Session 8 Some Warning Signs to Help Your Marriage 133
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First Chapter

A Tale of Two Couples Recently, I (Dr. Townsend) had two separate dinners with two married couples who are friends of mine. These two couples are in their later years, and each of the couples has been married for more than four decades. They are in what we call the “Golden Years,” the period of marriage in which all the love and work over the years culminate, we hope, in a deep and satisfying connection. However, I was struck by the huge difference between the two couples.
With Harold and Sarah, I enjoyed a buffet dinner where you get a ticket for various parts of the meal and you have to leave the table with your ticket and go get your item. The dinner was winding down; we were ready for dessert. Harold reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his dessert ticket. Tossing it in front of Sarah, he said casually, “Sarah. Dessert.” Not “Please, Sarah, will you get my dessert for me?” And certainly not “Can I get your dessert, honey?” Harold was assuming Sarah would obediently comply with his two-word command.
I didn’t know what to say, so I sat there and watched. Sarah was clearly embarrassed by Harold’s public display of control. She sat there for a couple of seconds, apparently deciding what to do. Then she seemed to gather up her courage and quietly but forcefully said, “Why don’t you get your own dessert?”
Harold looked surprised. Evidently he wasn’t used to her refusing to obey his commands. However, he recovered, made a weak joke about uppity women, and left the table to redeem his ticket. While he was gone, Sarah said to me, “Sorry, I just couldn’t let it go this time, withmy friends here.” I felt so sad for Sarah, realizing that her reaction to her husband tonight was the exception rather than the rule. I also realized that, on a deeper level, while Harold and Sarah were legally connected, they were emotionally disconnected. Their hearts were not knit together.
Frank and Julia were different. I was traveling, and they were hosting me. We went to their home after dinner. After a while, it was time for me to return to my hotel, and I needed a ride. Julia, a counselor like me, was primarily responsible for my trip and had been chauffeuring me to various speaking engagements and meetings. So clearly she was the person to take me back.
However, Frank looked at his wife and said, “You look tired, honey. I’ll take John back to his hotel.” I could see the conflict in Julia’s face between her duty to me and her need for rest. Finally, she said, “Okay, thanks.” And Frank drove me to the hotel.
The next day, at the conference, I talked to Julia. I remarked on Frank’s kindness in offering the ride and on her struggle with taking the offer. She said, “It wasn’t always that way. In our twenties, he wouldn’t have offered, and I wouldn’t have taken the offer. But we worked on this issue a lot during those days. I had to put my foot down on some issues, and we almost divorced. It was a difficult period, but it has paid off. We can’t imagine not being each other’s soul mates.” During my time with them, I had observed that Frank’s and Julia’s hearts were knit together, that they were emotionally connected.
Though both couples had many years of marriage experience, each couple’s love and relationship had taken very different turns. Harold and Sarah were unable to love deeply and relate to each other, because Harold controlled Sarah and Sarah allowed him to control her. They had what are called major boundary conflicts, in which one person crosses the lines of responsibility and respect with another. When one person is in control of another, love cannot grow deeply and fully, as there is no freedom.
Frank and Julia could have very likely ended up the same way. From what I could tell, they started off similarly in their early married years. Frank dominated, and Julia complied. However, she confronted the problem, she set limits and established consequences, and their marriage grew. Clearly, both couples were reaping the results of how they had conducted themselves in the earlier seasons of marriage. The first couple harvested a sad result; the other, a joyous one.
Your Life Begins Today If you are reading this book, most likely marriage is important to you. You may be happy in your marriage and want it to keep growing. You may be struggling and dealing with major or minor problems. You may be single and want to prepare for marriage. You may be divorced and want to prevent the pain you went through if you remarry.
Most of us have no greater desire and prayer than a lifetime of love and commitment to one person with whom we can share life. Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. It is the mystery of living as one flesh with another human being (Ephesians 5:31 – 32).
Marriage is first and foremost about love. It is bound together by the care, need, companionship, and values of two people, which can overcome hurt, immaturity, and selfishness to form something better than what each person alone can produce. Love is at the heart of marriage, as it is at the heart of God himself (1 John 4:16).
Yet, love is not enough. The marriage relationship needs other ingredients to grow and thrive. Those ingredients are freedom and responsibility. When two people are free to disagree, they are free to love. When they are not free, they live in fear, and love dies: “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). And when two people together take responsibility to do what is best for the marriage, love can grow. When they do not, one takes on too much responsibility and resents it; the other does not take on enough and becomes self-centered or controlling. Freedom and responsibility problems in a marriage will cause love to struggle. Like a plant without good soil, the marriage relationship will struggle in an unfriendly environment.
Read More Show Less

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