Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships

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Overview

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 how to apply the principles of boundaries to your marriage. This book helps you understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in your marriage -- and move beyond them to the mutual care, ...

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Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships

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Overview

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 how to apply the principles of boundaries to your marriage. This book 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
'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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310243144
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 7/12/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 58,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Contents
A Tale of Two Couples
Part 1: Understanding Boundaries
1. What’s a Boundary, Anyway?
2. Applying the Ten Laws of Boundaries to Marriage
3. Setting Boundaries with Yourself
Becoming More Lovable
Part 2: Building Boundaries in Marriage
4. It Takes Two to Make One
5. What You Value Is What You’ll Have
6. Value One
Love of God
7. Value Two
Love of Your Spouse
8. Value Three
Honesty
9. Value Four
Faithfulness
10. Value Five
Compassion and Forgiveness
11. Value Six
Holiness
Part 3: Resolving Conflict in Marriage
12. Three’s a Crowd
Protecting Your Marriage from Intruders
13. Six Kinds of Conflict
14. Resolving Conflict with a Boundary-Loving Spouse
15. Resolving Conflict with a Boundary-Resistant Spouse
Part 4: Misunderstanding Boundaries in Marriage
16. Avoiding the Misuse of Boundaries in Marriage
Conclusion
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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, 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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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    All three of us married into the same family and loved our spouses. The parents of these 'adult' children never gave our marriage a chance to work. They trampled our relationship boundaries. They demanded our time, required our constant devotion and attention, and used us to fulfill their miserable lives and compensate for their empty shell marriage. This book has given us the insights into understanding the wreckage of our relationships. We learned, as well, that marrying a weak child in the guise of an adult will bring you unceasing misery. Good riddance to the remnants of that Rockport, Texas clan. Buy this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    Changed lives

    As a licensed mental health therapist, I have had clients read this book and process it in session. The results have been changed lives, balanced marriages and persons finding their ownership of life in a way that also respects the other person.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2006

    I expected something totally different

    I bought this book after having yet another fight with my husband about the same things. I expected the book to lay out specific techniques I could do myself to help solidify my marriage. Instead, I found myself reading it from my husband's point of view and thinking of all the ways HE could change. The underlying message of the book was good...but the strategies were very vague and did not work for me. I got about halfway through it and decided that I needed to stop reading, because I was actually feeling WORSE after reading each chapter. This book made me look not only at the actual problems that existed in my marriage, but also at things that could happen. This made me obsess about the 'what if's' instead of focusing on changing the few things that actually were problems. My husband and I do not have huge marital troubles, just minor things to work through. After reading this book, I felt like everything was wrong in my marriage. I also found a lot of the authors' points to be contradictory. One minute they say set a boundary to protect yourself, then the next they say don't ever focus on your own happiness. Very confusing. Maybe it was just a bad match for me, but I wouldn't recommend this title. I will continue to look elsewhere for guidance.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2002

    A Different Approach

    The more I complained to my husband about my needs not being met, the more withdrawn he would become and ignore my requests. This book gave me a different approach. I learned that I could set boundaries and when I stuck with them, he soon realized that I wasn't complaining anymore. He began trying to meet my needs. It was amazing. This book made a 180 in our marriage.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Wish I'd had this book when I first got married!

    I love Cloud and Townsend's Boundaries books! I have been to a seminar by Dr Cloud and he is as enlightening in person as in the books. I bought this book for our daughter and future son-in-law. There are so many excellent things to think about pre-marital as well as once you've tied the knot. It's refreshing to have something written in plain English that applies to both parties. No blaming, no arguing, just learning how to work on having a healthy relationship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010

    Excellent

    This is an excedllent book. Most of us lack or have weak boundaries in one area of our lives or another and this book instructs and informs us how to strengthen these boundaries so that we can know ourselves better and have healtheir relationships. This book is also important because boundaries are learnt and if not learnt then we don't know what our boundaries are or other's as well.

    This is a must read!!! Excellent!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Excellent Advice

    Having been married for 18 years, this book addressed nearly every issue of problems we faced. The advice is not only reasonable, and realistic, it is the real basis for which one should approach such issues. I found that this book was something I wanted to hand every friend and family member, I know. It was that good. Watch out Dr. Phil!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    What a marriage saver!

    This book, in conjuction with counseling, made a tremendous difference in my marriage. My wife and I both had control issues that we were not even aware of. My wife told me I was controling, but could not explain why. This book showed me what she was trying to tell me. It also showed her that she had control issues too. Highly recomend to anyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2014

    Thought Provoking and Potentially Very Helpful

    This book made me think about things in a different way than I ever did before. I have read many self-help books, too. I think the ideas in this book could, potentially, be very helpful. It would be hard to sort out, though, what is a solid boundary and what is selfish. I might need further help with that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Helpful marriage growth tools

    Helpful addition to our home library for future reference and for daily application to an interdependent growth mode relationship.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Boundaries is awesome

    This book is amazing and so helpful. It is straight forward and gives pratical advice for both people in the relationship. I have read it over and over and continue to learn and re-learn new ideas and processes. I would recommend it to anyone in a relationship....good or bad.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Boundaries in Marriage Book

    Good book, haven't finished it. Thus far, I've enjoyed it and learned a lot - still have more to learn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    Will help with therapy

    After finding out my husband had cheated on me twice (one year physical affair and one two year fully involved affair) over an eight year period, we both started therapy right away, in hopes of salvaging our marriage. I have read several books, but feel this one is the most directive, easy to understand and apply, and reasonable. Some sections are "hard" to read, like I did have a small part in this. I didn't like reading that I had to take responsibility for my actions, but I have. We start couples counseling next week and our goal to have the marriage that we never had.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 22, 2010

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    Posted May 28, 2012

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    Posted July 25, 2010

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