Wednesday, January 4, 2012

August 2010: My commandments for a healthy relationship

I was looking through my journal tonight... August 8, 2010... I wrote this...
Just felt like sharing it today.

Spent the day at the LDS gift show. A whole bunch of products to promote the ideals of the church.
My "favorite" was a plaque:
"Commandments of a Happy Marriage"
1. Thou shalt always remember that thy marriage is a partnership between thee and thy spouse and the Lord. For in knowing this, thou wilt have the strength, courage, and determination to conquer all challenges that may come into thy marriage.
2. Thou shalt cleave unto thy spouse and let not thine eyes wander, nor do anything like unto it. For it is through fidelity and commitment that thou shalt find confidence and trust.
3. Thou shalt not be selfish with thy time, nor with thy money, nor with anything else that is thine. For in doing this thou shalt avoid resentment and find harmony.
4. Thou shalt remember that thy parents are good, but need to give thee space in thy marriage. For it is through relying upon each other that communication and unity is formed.
5. Thou shalt always remember to call thy spouse sweetheart, honey, or whatever else that makes them happy and to remember the little things. For it is through little acts of kindness that thou shalt find love and tenderness.
6. Thou shalt remember to always use kind words and cease to find fault with thy spouse. For in doing this thou shalt find peace.
7. Thou shalt enjoy each others company and remember to date often. For it is in spending time together that one truly gets to know their spouse and find intimacy.
8. Thou shalt add the words "I'm sorry" to thy vocabulary and use them often. For in doing this thou shalt melt down the barriers of anger and resentment and find mutual forgiveness.
9. Thou shalt recognize and acknowledge the desires, efforts and accomplishments of thy spouse. For in this thou shalt find appreciation and gratitude for one another.
10. Thou shalt live within thy means and learn the difference between wants and needs. For in doing this thou shalt avoid needless stress and find contentment.
I got angry. Angry enough that I finally wrote down what I want and my boundaries for my relationships. Not just marriage. ALL relationships. (This has been a therapy assignment for more than two years now... I just couldn't figure out what to write , or what to think, or how to think.)

My commandments for a HEALTHY relationship
I am free to come and go in this relationship as I feel the need. If the relationship is no longer healthy for me, I will leave. I am free. I am mine.
The relationship must be able to "stand on its own". I will not eliminate the things I love to make this relationship the "best" one. I will have many friends. I will have my own hobbies.
I will choose who my friends will be. (I will not be in a relationship where someone else tells me who my friends can and cannot be.)
I will talk about what I want, when I want, and to whom I want. (I will NOT keep secrets! I have the right to choose what and when I share with you also.)
I have the right to say no to any request, at any time for any reason... so do you.
I will take care of my needs. I expect you to take care of yours.
My body is mine. Period. I choose when and what I share with you. Every time.
I will be honest about my thoughts, feelings, and who I am. I expect the same from you.
When I'm feeling hurt, angry, or sad, I will talk to you.
When I'm feeling happy, grateful, or loving, I will talk to you.
I am not your honey, your sweetheart, your anything. Please call me by name.
I am me. I will always try to be the best me I can be. Defined by me.
You are you. I expect you to be the best you, you can be. Defined by you.
Trust is something that must be earned. I do not have to give it freely.
I know these go against everything I have ever been taught... They seem selfish and self-centered... But... THIS is how I plan to live. This is how I want the people I love to live.

Honesty is the most important part of this. Honest about the love I feel. The hurt I feel. Who I am. What I want. And the same kind of honesty from you. That is the only way.

Honesty and Freedom = Love


  1. I love this! I absolutely love it!

    It's incredibly important to set your boundaries and to make any person with whom you're in a relationship aware of what you expect from them up front.

    At the same time, I feel it's also important to firmly state your responsibilities toward one another, which is more what the first set were trying to get at (even if they weren't very good rules). Or do you think that isn't universal, that especially for someone like you with your history, it's more important for it to be solely about boundaries?

    As long as you both agree to it, do you see a problem with the concept of defining the relationship in terms of responsibilities toward one another in addition to boundaries each will respect, or would you say that for some people, that would still be harmful to their psyche?

  2. I see it less as stating responsibilities, and more... offering what you have to offer?? Letting people know what you will and won't give. Then also giving them the freedom to do the same.

    These boundaries are not one-sided. Anything that applies to me, applies to everyone I am in a relationship with... In my way of thinking if everyone has the freedom to be themselves and choose what they want, that seems like a pretty great relationship. (Admittedly, I have not tried to practice any of this in a marriage relationship, so I may completely change my boundaries in the future.)

    I also know, for myself, boundaries FIRST is essential. I have been so accustomed to having no boundaries, and taking far more responsibility for my partners needs than is healthy for either one of us... Also, I wrote this when I was upset. I was upset partially because of the meanings I had for many of the words used... One example: Selfish - in my world meant having needs or wants. (Oddly enough, selfish in my first husband's mind was ME having needs or wants... and/or not taking care of his needs and wants at all times. It was a recipe for disaster.)

    So, I guess to answer your question: Set boundaries first, and then you have the ABILITY to make choices about the responsibilities.