Problem with marriage boundaries? (008-Q2-Dennis)

Dennis says, “I was mainly curious about the first marital problem you had, and how you solved it. Could you share that?”

Answer (From Podcast Episode 008):

Dennis, why not? The first problem I recall is getting outside interference by our extended family. It seemed that family wanted to tell us or show us the best way to live our lives, but we wanted to do it our way. When we got a house, we wanted to improve it ourselves, without our parents help or advice. Yes, we should have listened. Yes, we should have relaxed about it. But the lesson I learned is about establishing boundaries.

So that you and your spouse don’t argue over outside interference, make sure to establish boundaries. This happens mostly by agreement between you and your wife. For example, you cannot tell her parents to stay away, nor can she tell your parents to butt out. (Well, you can, but that’s not going to fly very well.) Instead, agree with your wife on what the boundaries will or should be, then discuss a plan to enforce them.

After twenty years of marriage, and at my age, my thoughts on boundaries have changed. While I understand the need, I’ll also remind you to appreciate your extended family. They want to be part of your life. They love you. They have experience and wisdom. Cherish them. Someday, too soon, they will be gone. So while you establish boundaries, be wise about it. Don’t be too rigid. Don’t be too concerned about interference by extended family. They are just excited by your new, fresh, happy marriage. And they want to participate in it, not control it. Okay?

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