How To Set Boundaries in a Relationship?

Making your boundaries visible will guide people on how to interact with you.

How To Set Boundaries

Every system is governed by laws, boundaries inclusive

It is difficult to live by the rules that govern boundaries, especially when you are not used to setting limits. Some of these laws will help you recognize and grow boundaries. Set boundaries.

The law of sowing and reaping is a basic law that governs all our activities. Galatians 6:7 emphasizes that whatever a man sows he reaps.

The law of responsibility entails loving others but taking responsibility for just you. Set limits to what it means to help your neighbor’s out.

The law of power lies within your ability to search for answers to your numerous questions and also turn from a negative way of life.

The law of respect is sometimes the reason why we lose our boundaries in the fear that others won’t respect them. Respect and love other people’s boundaries so they can do the same for you.

Another law is that of motivation, which helps you serve others with freedom. This creates room for health boundaries and encourages you to do even more.

The law of evaluation entails evaluating the benefits and losses accrued as a result of the boundaries that you have set.

Every action carries an opposite reaction and it is important to release pent up emotions. Adopt the law of proactivity by establishing connections and reacting to situations with love. Also, envy defines good as what a person does not have. Envy instead should encourage you to be better at what you do and not just yield to defeat.

On many occasions, we do not take action and so we lack boundaries. Push yourself to be more. Matthew 7:7 encourages you to ask, seek, and knock to find new paths.

“Making your boundaries visible will guide people on how to interact with you.”

These laws help to guide you in your journey to setting boundaries.

Many of the things you’ve heard about boundaries are false and will only stop you from trying

Some untrue sayings about boundaries have been passed down from one generation to another and need to be properly understood to be able to make sense of them.

Common myths are:

  • Setting boundaries means you are selfish: your boundaries make you a better person, especially when they are in accordance with God’s will.
  • Boundaries are a sign of disobedience: you are not a rebel for wanting a better life. Lack of boundaries is the real sign of disobedience because even God wants you to live right.
  • Boundaries can get you hurt: if you are scared of losing any friends because they will hurt you, they are probably not the right ones for you. Accept those who respect your boundaries.
  • Your boundaries can hurt others: your boundaries set you up to be a better person. It teaches others to be responsible too.
  • Boundaries mean anger: boundaries do not necessarily mean you are angry, they are just signs of something that’s not right.
  • Other people’s boundaries cause harm: it is never easy to accept boundaries but it is always a good thing for everyone involved. If you have a problem with a person’s boundaries, it means you should work on your own.
  • Boundaries cause feelings of guilt: you don’t have to do everything for everyone. That’s where the feelings of guilt come from. Share as much love as you can and leave what you can’t change.
  • Boundaries are permanent: you own your boundaries; they can always be changed or renegotiated. Nothing is set in stone. You can always change your boundaries.

When conflicts occur, it’s time to brace up and face the problem head on

Conflicts happen when you don’t fully come to terms with the boundaries that you have set for yourself. You may find red flags like playing second fiddle and financial overdependence.

“Conflict occurs when you don’t understand your boundaries.”

A lack of boundaries is reflected in a lot of the things we do unconsciously such as leaning too much for help on the immediate family, calling someone else to intervene in conflicts, and asking for too much from everyone around you. A good way to tackle this issue is to identify the symptom of the problem, identify the conflict, the needs that drive these conflicts, receive the good parts, turn from the bad, and establish boundaries while striving to be a part of God’s family.

“Always identify the problem first and keep working till you find a solution.”

We all need non-romantic relationships at different points of our lives, and since no two people are the same, there will be conflicts. Conflicts that may arise in a friendship are:

  • When two friends are compliant: these two friends do not know what they really want and hardly tell each other no. Each friend needs to take responsibility while telling each other the truth every time.
  • One compliant and one aggressive controller: the compliant feels intimidated and the aggressive friend feels irritated at being nagged. Both need to be open to each other and confront the situation.
  • One compliant and one manipulative controller: the compliant friend is resentful towards the controller’s last minute requests. Boundaries should be drawn by encouraging the manipulative friend to plan ahead.
  • A compliant and a non-responsive friend: some friends let the other person take responsibility for all the work involved in the friendship. This is wrong. Always tell the other person what they are doing wrong.

Relationships that grow as a result of choice and trust always benefit both parties. Prayerfully examine your relationships and save the ones that are worth your effort.

“Choose relationships with people you can trust.”

The success of your marriage depends on you and your spouse’s ability to respect each other’s boundaries

When two people decide to get married, they become one. And this can result in confusion because formerly single people now have to share a large part of their lives with each other. Problems arise when one party trespasses on another’s boundaries. Communication fixes these issues as partners learn to tell each other the things that bother them. A major way to resolve conflict is to take responsibility for your feelings and express your desire to end a conflict.

Setting boundaries in marriage maintains a balance such that each partner maintains their individuality while still presenting a united front for your children and agreeing on fundamental issues. If at any point, you feel an issue creeping in, determine the problem and its origin, practice new boundaries over and over, and forgive your partner.

“Spouses in healthy relationships cherish each other’s space and are champions of each other’s causes” – Henry Cloud, Ph.D.

How you approach boundaries with respect to child rearing will have a great impact on your children. The earlier you teach them responsibility and limits, the better for everyone involved.

Boundary development in children involves teaching them to take responsibility for their actions while preparing them for adulthood.

“It is important to teach children early to take responsibility for their actions.”

Discipline is an important tool in doing this and it involves explaining things to them calmly or letting them suffer the consequences of their actions. These two types of discipline in regular doses will curb a lot of excesses. The boundaries children need involve their ability to protect themselves, take responsibility for their needs, respect the needs of others, and delay gratification when it is necessary.

Discipline is an amazing way to communicate the importance of values but must be age-appropriate and related to the seriousness of the problem so that it can provide some motivation for the child to do better.

Did you know? According to studies by a group of American Psychologists, 25% of divorces are results of domestic violence, while 73% are caused by lack of commitment.

Your reactions to the actions of other people sets the tone for all future interactions

Everyone has a vocation, something that we are called to do. But you need to groom your character to be able to thrive and fulfill God’s purpose for you.

“You need to continually work on improving yourself so you can succeed.”

Boundaries can help you resolve work related problems which may include:

  • Getting saddled with other people’s responsibilities: you need to take responsibility for your feelings and realize that you are only responsible for yourself. Refuse to do what is not your responsibility.
  • Working overtime: your job is not slavery. You deserve time to yourself and you can only do this when you take time to review your job description and set limits to the things you can do.
  • Difficult co-workers: you can’t change the difficult people in your life, you can only change your reaction to them. Check how you react to the things people do and work on that instead.

Coping with difficult situations such as proud bosses can be a pain, but learn not to internalize these negative feelings. Plug into a support system that encourages you to be more than you are. Take risks and establish your identity while asking for God’s help all the way. You can do even more with God’s help.

The only way to grow is to keep trying to be a better person

You are far from perfect, but as long as you keep working toward making yourself better, you are on your way to creating boundaries. Food, time, sexuality, alcohol, and even substance abuse can make you lose your self control and it becomes difficult to set boundaries but you need to first be honest with yourself, look for the root of the problem and the things you need to do to tackle the issue. Address them and allow yourself to fail.

It is important at this point that you have a support system that will help you through these moments of doubt and lack of confidence. Your support system is incomplete if you don’t have God’s support though. A good way to understand God and build your relationship with him is to read the bible and understand the things that He instructs everyone to do.

“As iron sharpens iron, we need confrontation and truth from others to grow. Admonition from a friend, while it can hurt, can also help.” – Henry Cloud, Ph.D

Always remember that God is not under any compulsion to do anything for you. He chooses when to intervene and expects you to respect that boundary. We find strength when we explore the depths of our relationship with God, and this helps us to be the best version of ourselves.

Boundaries are driven by work, discipline and desire.

If you want to do something, you are only motivated to do it because of the right reasons. Nothing is guaranteed because there will surely be losses but you should always be ready to strive to be better. Resistance may come into the picture, especially when you try to set boundaries. This resistance can be from you or others. When others fight against your boundaries by sending guilt messages aimed at making you feel guilty for setting boundaries, blame or even resist you physically, it is a sign of their own character problem and cannot affect you unless you allow it.

You can also be a resistance to yourself when you have unmet needs such as grief or loss of a loved one that prevents you from letting go. Own your boundaries, realize the resistance, and let go of it.

“Find what’s stopping you from creating your boundaries and let it go.”


For what it’s worth, you deserve the best from your relationships, job, family, and everything else you decide to do. But you have to consciously work toward making this happen by standing firmly by your values and taking responsibility for yourself. Know when to say no, and the commensurate time for a loud yes. Help others, however, not at the expense of your personal progress or productivity.

It is easy to get sucked into the problems of others while neglecting the important tasks that you have to do, but this will only leave you stressed. Since we are social beings, and mostly empathic, we naturally feel the pain of others; even without experiencing the causative factor. However, there should be a limit to how far a handshake goes on the arm span.

Final Take

Besides keeping from burning out, the boundaries will help people around you steer clear of narcissistic tendencies. Boundaries also help you win respect; surplus commodities are often undervalued. The few times you feel it necessary to help, do it wholeheartedly, and return to your precinct. It is usually a bad idea to throw wild cards around to every single individual that needs some help. Get your priorities right!

God wants you to live a life that is balanced as well as satisfying. He is ready to go with you on this journey to finding all your boundaries only if you let Him.

Try this

Identify the people who constantly demand a lot from you even when it is not convenient. Have a conversation with them on the possible ways to balance out the relationship.

I was born of a different breed, the crazy kind who embraces the idea that humans are limitless; the minority who loves to question the standards; the ones who dream the impossible.