Commitment means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some it’s “till death do us part,” for others more like, “till we really get tired of each other.” But this isn’t a post about who’s more committed, or which version of commitment is better than the other.
What most couples don’t realize is that all commitment comes with boundaries, and boundaries are like invisible lines in the sand. Some people call them non-negotiables. Cross the line, and the commitment is in jeopardy. Not because the person doesn’t value commitment, but because healthy relationships can never include one person sacrificing who they are for someone else.
And that’s the point of non-negotiable boundaries.
For example, personal safety is something most people value highly. If it’s violated then most people would agree that it’s grounds for ending a committed relationship, at least until the offender gets help for their aggression.
Tying your commitment to your boundaries prevents one person’s needs from becoming overly dominant in the relationship. It keeps the commitment from becoming a prison.
So how do you determine your line in the sand?
Here’s a hint – your boundaries are often rooted around your relationship needs. If you know your needs, you can more easily determine your boundaries. What’s really most important to you? Intimacy? Affection? Sexual fulfillment? Financial support? Domestic support? Shared family values?
Whatever your key needs and values are, tying your commitment to your boundaries will help keep the relationship balanced and equal between both people involved. And here’s one other very important piece:
It also serves as a guideline for your partner.
When you know your boundaries and can clearly communicate them to your partner, and they to you, then you create awareness, which helps you both become more intentional when making decisions (big or small) that will affect one another. It’s only fair that your spouse know where your line in the sand is, so that they can respect it before crossing it.
Remember, commitment without boundaries is intentional self-slavery.