The word “boundaries” took a quantum leap into our vocabularies in 1992 when Henry Cloud and John Townsend published a book by the same name. Before then, for most people, “boundaries” had much more to do with property lines than relationships.
Now, some twenty-six years later, we hear the word “boundaries” and we think along the lines of this definition from Wikipedia: “Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.”
There have always been boundaries in marriage. We just didn’t know how to define them. If one spouse wanted to change the other in the past, we often saw it as control. Today, we say that person is crossing a boundary. I think husbands and wives have almost always tried to change each other. Eve tried (successfully!) to change Adam from a non apple-eater to an apple-eater. I tried to change Nancy to fit the mold I had in my mind of the perfect wife. Instead of accepting her just like she was, I thought she needed to change. I thought my definition of her was better than hers. I crossed a boundary.
I see couples cross boundaries with their mates all the time. One spouse trying to be “helpful” works at changing their spouse. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the spouse does not want to be changed. Nancy did not. She wanted me to love and accept her right where she was. She was right. I was wrong. Besides there is only one person that I can change and that is me.
This is what I have learned from my boundary crossing experiences. Yes, I was crossing a boundary with Nancy, but in a much bigger sense I was crossing a boundary with God. God created Nancy. He has a plan for her life. His plan for her is perfect for her. It is His job to change her and mold her. It’s not mine. My plan for her would never come anywhere close to matching His plan for her. The bottom line was this, I was getting in His way! My role is to love her, encourage her, and come alongside her, at the same time letting God do His work in her. That’s a boundary I cannot cross again.
What about you? Are you crossing God’s boundaries with your spouse? If your answer is yes, why not back off and let God do His work. I promise that His plan is by far the best ever!