- Knowing one's boundaries is always a smart move.
I've been married for over a quarter of a century now. This doesn't necessarily qualify me as an expert in marriage, but I have learned a couple of things along the way. For example, the marriages that have endured over the years seem to be those based on situations where the couple have learned to compromise on a variety of things, such as food, music, sleep, driving, work, relaxation, conversation, family, religion; the list is actually quite extensive. In other words, there is a lot of give and take until the couple finds common ground in terms of their values and living habits. When this happens, the couple works more like teammates than as two individuals trapped in a relationship. If the couple can't find the fulcrum, it's just a matter of time before they are divorced.
As part of the compromise process, married couples unknowingly establish territories within the home. You won't find the boundaries written on any map, but they are there nonetheless. To illustrate, garages, basements and attics are typically the domain of the husband, whereby things are maintained and organized in accordance with his wishes. Of course, the wife is welcome to visit the territory, but if she tries to reorganize it, she is met with stubborn resistance from the husband. Conversely, if the man decides to reorganize the bedroom, living room or kitchen, it is highly likely he will be met by Attila the Hun.
Bathrooms tend to be neutral territories as they tend to be shared. If bathrooms are separated for him and her though, then all bets are off and you have to have a visa to be granted entrance. The same is true with closets. Hallway closets tend to be open to the public, but personal closets requires an armed escort.
As long as the couple understands their territory and respects the borders accordingly, harmony will prevail in the household. If not, all Hell will break lose. So, as important as compromise is in establishing a successful marriage, an inherent part of it is knowing the boundaries of your relationship. It is better to live with a partner who knows and respects the boundaries of the territories as opposed to an invader who crosses them.
Originally published: 10/28/2008
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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