Author: Ann Schiebert
What are boundaries? Why do we need to have boundaries?
Knowing your mate’s boundaries will provide a path to Intimacy Filled Pastiming. Boundaries set the limits for what is OK and what is NOT OK. If something is NOT OK, and your partner doesn’t let you know, then it goes into the, OK CORRAL. This is a set up for unknowingly violating your loved one’s limits. What is OK also finds a home in the OK CORRAL. What takes up residence in the OK CORRAL is difficult to remove.
Boundary Guidelines for Couples:
1. Discuss what is OFF THE TABLE – for example, if you are a recovering alcoholic, having wine in your house might be, OFF THE TABLE. It you don’t relate this to your loved one, then having liquor in your abode goes into the OK CORRAL.
2. In the OK CORRAL – are all those behaviors, beliefs, practices that are acceptable to you and to your loved one. It is the responsibility of each half of a couple to let the other know what kinds of things are, OK.
For example, if a couple decides that their 16 year old boy is mature enough to drive, that goes into the OK CORRAL. Or, if a couple decides to pool their monthly pay checks and take $200.00 for a fabulous porterhouse dinner, that goes into the OK CORRAL.
3. The OK CORRAL TRAP: When some behavior is NOT OK, but nothing is done to correct it, that practice automatically enters the OK CORRAL and becomes a topic for arguments about how it got there, whose fault it is that it became grudgingly OK, and whose responsibility it is to deal with it. For example, if a couple’s 18 year old comes home drunk and the couple does nothing to address this behavior, it goes into the OK CORRAL. When she comes home drunk for a second time, it is tempting for partners to blame each other about how this happened a second time. The 18 year old can say, “Well you didn’t do anything about it before so it is no big deal!” And the 18 year old would be correct. That is the message that is conveyed because there was no consequence for this behavior so it bucked it’s way into the OK CORRAL.
Everyone has boundaries but often we don’t know what they are or how to put words to them. In the next post, we will explore types of boundaries.