I like to do gardening, but truthfully, I am an amateur. I often can’t tell a weed from a plant, especially in early spring. This is a problem because I don’t want to be growing weeds, or worse, pulling plants that I actually want.
Weeds grow fast. If we are not careful, they can overrun our garden before we realize it.
Just like how we protect our garden from weeds, we must also protect our marriage. But what do ‘weeds’ look like in a marriage?
I liken ‘weeds’ to ‘a lack of boundaries’. Boundaries are guidelines that we use to organize our daily lives. They help us manage our time, money, and responsibilities. Without boundaries, life can get really crazy. Then, one day, our marriage partnership becomes overrun with problems.
For example, one goal of our marriage is to be a part of our local community. We make it a priority to regularly invite people into our home or join them in what they are doing. With a family of six, scheduling isn’t easy and requires work. We have set boundaries so that we can spend time with people in our community, and also maintain a healthy family life.
We already discussed the importance of talking with one another in marriage. ‘Setting boundaries’ is one of the things we need to talk about in order to protect our marriage.
Let’s think about three areas: time, money and responsibilities.
Time. How will you manage time in your marriage partnership? Put another way, “for what purpose will you use your time?” Many of us feel like there is not enough time in the day to do all that we want to do. But no matter how hard we wish, the fact that there is only 24 hours in a day will never change. Rather than trying to add time, we need to use it well. As a couple, talk about how you should use your time to fulfill the values and goals of your marriage.
Money. The number of marriages that suffer because of arguments over money is too high. The amount of money isn’t the issue, it is the use of it. Every couple needs to talk through how they will use the money they have. Couples need to be in agreement. Don’t let money become a source of tension in your marriage. Instead, use it to bless your marriage. Talk about money.
For example, my wife and I decided to always give away 10% of our monthly salary to charity, and put another 10% in the bank for retirement. We do this without fail, and we live on the remaining 80%. Because we are in agreement and have fiscal boundaries, we have never fought about money.
Responsibilities. Most couples I know divide up responsibilities. One person will take care of the finances, another will help children with homework. One person washes the car, another washes the dishes. Sometimes, responsibilities are easy to decide based on natural talents or preferences. Other times, couples need to talk things out and come to an agreement. It is often when there is ‘disagreement’ over or assumptions about responsibilities that things get neglected and damage may be done. Let’s talk it out.
To be honest, books have been written about boundaries. I am not trying to make the topic sound overly simple, but rather only trying to introduce it.
The point is this, sometimes because of a lack of boundaries, we don’t manage our lives well. Things that should be a blessing, like time and money, become worries. They choke the life from our marriage partnership. Responsibilities become places of contention and hurt, and instead of coming together as a team, we end up playing alone.
So let’s talk together about how we will manage our marriage partnership. Start with the three areas I shared above, and then go on from there. Discover boundaries so that your marriage will be full of love and joy, resulting in a great harvest.
Next: How to fight well