Coming back from a wonderful family vacation with my husband Jim, our children, and our grandkids, I am keenly aware of the need for honoring boundaries. Interacting with respect and mindfulness is a gift to all. Sometimes I stepped over the line, sometimes I consciously restrained myself, and mostly I simply relaxed and enjoyed myself.
I know we each live in our own personal bubble. Learning to refine my own integrity means I honor my pace, rhythm, needs, cycles, moods, and commitments. My bubble may contract when I am stressed, tired, or wanting to be alone, and it can expand when I want to include others, take in a larger perspective, learn something new, or connect spiritually. I am committed to attuning to honoring my own boundaries and being mindful of my partner's and others' personal space. Of course, this takes practice.
In our book Secrets of a Soulful Marriage on page 64, we discuss a variety of ways to make sure we are honoring other people's boundaries, such as ...
- giving privacy in the bathroom
- knocking on a closed door before entering
- avoiding yelling from room to room or intruding in conversations
- refraining from opening mail (including email or texts) not addressed to you
- standing a certain distance apart when conversing
- not touching erogenous zones without permission
- giving your mate space when she requests quiet personal time
I would now add:
- saying no without feeling guilty; allowing the other to say no without guilt or burden
- saying yes with enthusiasm and truth-telling
- obeying the STOP sign my partner or another person puts up when he or she doesn't want to discuss something
- asking kindly and respectfully, without judgment, how I can support the other, without diminishing his power or self-esteem
- moving consciously between uniting and being separate in a graceful and evolving dance
- your ideas?
What is true for you regarding your own boundaries and the ways you seek to honor your partner's boundaries, or those of others in your life?
How can you become more mindful of your own personal bubble? Practicing meditation and taking quiet time can enhance the clarity, beauty, and authenticity of your personal bubble; then you can be more available to share genuinely with your partner.
Sometimes an outside perspective can be helpful when we're learning how to be more mindful and conscious about our interactions. Working with a coach is a wonderful way for you and your beloved to explore what makes you feel safe and cared for (and what might make you feel a little crowded), so that you can create a life that allows you both to thrive. Let us know how we can support you in enhancing your personal bubble and honoring the boundaries of the other.
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
Coach for Soulful Couples
Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband of 47 years co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.