“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreat. This is why we sometimes attach who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice,” said Brene Brown
Hey! I want to help you save your time. Just before you start reading, be informed that this article is not for everyone but for someone who wants to build and maintain a relationship that will culminate in a true happiness and lasting success. It is for that someone who desires to stand up tall in the nearest future and say, “I had a great relationship with my partner and now this is the wonderful fruit it produced (a home where everyone is happy). This article is for someone who will not want to say, “Had I know, I would have not gone too far with him/her! Now, how do I cope with these regrets and guilt? If any of these sounds like you, then, this article is for you. You may continue reading. Otherwise, leave.
In today’s post, I shall be focusing on one of the vital ingredients which you need to build a happy, healthy and successful relationship that eventually leads to a great future; and that is knowing what boundaries to set in your relationship. It’s a painful thing for someone, having been in a relationship for years, suddenly realize that he/she has gone too far; a point where an attempt to turn back would be heartbreaking and full with guilt and sense of regrets.
There are many whose desire was to maintain and keep their precious gift of virginity until the wedding night. Some others made a vow to God never to fall into the sin of fornication as one of their token of love for their Creator; others wanted to prove to their partners that they could be trusted when it comes to matters of sexual purity. A great lot of persons strongly wanted to live chaste for one reason or the other, but before they realized it, they had already gone too far. All they suddenly realized was that, they had:
- broken their vow to God to abstain from fornication
- Lost their precious gift of virginity they desired to present to their life partner after the wedding
- Lost the trust of sexual purity they strongly desired to keep with their partner
- Aborted their dream of living a life void of premarital sex for reasons best known to them.
Would you want to experience this? Surely, you wouldn’t want to and I do not also want this to be your lot either. Hence, I write this for you; to show you how not to go too far in your relationship before knowing it, so you can achieve your dream of living without premarital sex until you’re married.
To begin with, how far is too far? I believe you may ask. Now, when the word ‘too’ is used, it shows excessiveness, extremity, beyond set boundaries. Yes, when you have crossed the boundaries in your relationship, then, you’ve already gone or going too far. And when this begins to happen, regret is already looming or lurking.
It’s not enough to verbally agree with your partner that there is no sex before you get married to each other. Of course, many have done so and a few days after they said so, they were already bedmate with their partners. While it is good to say, “There shall be no sex before we marry”, you’ve to take a step further than this if your words to maintain abstinence must remain. It’s the step of setting boundaries. According to Jennifer Twardowski, you have to become a master at setting boundaries as it is One of the most vital components to creating a happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Without boundaries, it’s difficult to stand by your verbal agreement.
What boundaries should you set? Before then, let’s see what boundaries are in a relationship.
As it sounds, a boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends.
Boundaries are border-lines that define the areas you can freely exercise your freedom. They are the limit you must not exceed or go beyond. Boundaries are standards that you must adhere to, no matter the degree of issues that arise as the relationship progresses. Furthermore, boundaries are the confines within which you must remain as dating or courting partners. In simple terms, boundaries are the don’ts and do’s in your relationship.
That being said, let’s now move on to the boundaries you need to set in your relationship. Although you need boundaries covering every area of life, (finance, health, communication, etc.), I will focus on the boundaries that pertain to keeping yourself from premarital sex. The limits you must not go beyond if you are to remain chaste until marriage. Here they are:
- There is no romance. Romance is a broad term in a love relationship. It goes beyond touching, kissing or caressing. But here, I’m restricting it to mean these three mentioned words. This is one of the major standard you have to set for yourselves as dating or courting partners. Touching, kissing and caressing are the forerunners of sex. Where they exist, you need no prophet to tell you that sex is already close by. In fact, when romance appears, sex is already at the door knocking. The more you romance, the harder and more unbearable the knocks at the door becomes. And because of impatience, the next time you hear the sounds of the disturbing knock, you will have no option than to open the door for sex to come into the house. See, can you hold a burning coal in hand and not be burnt? Except you’re a magician which I want to believe you’re not. Even if you’re, not when it comes to sexual matters. If angels who are celestial beings could not bear the force of sexual pressure, are we the one who can, if we deliberately subject ourselves to temptation? Sex hormones are like fire. Once you ignite them, they start burning and for sure, you must be burnt unless you flee with the speed of light. So, if you don’t want to be burnt by fire, don’t play with it in the first place. Avoid body contacts by way of romance so you don’t fall a fire victim.
- No sex talk/chat. This is another important boundary you must set in your relationship. Words breed feelings. What you discuss, you develop the urge to do. So, to avoid temptation, let it be a rule that, during discussions whether face-to-face, phone calls, or social media chatting, sex talk should not be a subject. Does this mean you should never discuss sex in your relationship or courtship until you finally get married? Not at all. That is not what I’m saying here. There is a difference between talking about sex on a healthy/meaningful platform and sex talk that is geared to arouse and satisfy your sexual orgies. I don’t need to explain this beyond this as I believe what I mean is clear to you.
- No night visitation. As a standard, agree together with your partner that all things being equal, there shall be no night visitation as along as the relationship lasts. Visiting at odd hours such as night, is simply a way of creating the room for the unexpected to happen.
- No meeting at odd places. As a rule that guides your actions in your relationship, do not schedule to meet at odd places such as hidden location where no one can see you both together. Meeting at isolated places makes it convenient to freely express and satisfy your sexual urge. When you’re together in an open place; where one, two or more eyes are watching, you would want to put your feeling under control no matter how strong it is as you would not want to appear as irresponsible individuals or animals who can’t control themselves.
- No provocative appearance. Another necessary boundary you should set and stick to is that, when meeting (visiting), no partner should be in wears that attract the opposite sex sexually. Whether you’re the one visiting or being visited, be modest in your appearance. If you’re the person visiting, especially the female, appear attractive without exposing your sensitive body parts. And if you’re the host, ensure you receive your partner (the visitor) with modest appearance also. Don’t wear bum-short, boxers, singlet, and the like to welcome your partner coming to pay you a visit in the house. I do not say don’t look attractive. While you try to look attractive to your partner, wears should never be provocative or seductive. Help each other to maintain your decision to remain chaste until your wedding night. When you dress provocatively on a date with your partner, you induce in him/her the urge of sex. And this is wrong as you will not be helping him/her.
When is the right time to set boundaries in a relationship?
Now, let me try to answer this by another question. When is the right time to start keeping a harmful substance from the reach of a creeping child who you have decided to be leaving to work every day? Should it be the first day you start leaving the home or after one, two or more day(s)? Did you say, the very first day? Beautiful! That is it. It is the very first day because when you delay, even to the second day, you may be surprise to see your dear child lying dead on the floor by the time you open your door to step into the house.
Similarly, the right time to discuss the matter of boundaries with your partner is from the very beginning of your relationship.
If my partner is not ready to keep to boundaries, what should I do?
Another great question. Again, here is another question for you that answers your question.
Let’s say you were Adam; the first man God created. Now, you have another chance of returning to the Garden of Eden with all its enjoyment but with the same warning that you should never taste the fruit of the tree of life and death, and that the day you did, you would die. Now, you’re fully aware of the consequence your failure to adhere to this boundary caused you before God had mercy on you.
Now, Eve, your partner comes to you again with the forbidden fruit which God instructed you to keep away from, asking you to eat it with her though God had told you not to cross the borderline to pluck it. Now, she is before you seriously begging you to break the standard; what would you do?
Would you still want to repeat your first mistake? I don’t think you would play along with Eve even if she threatens committing suicide. Right?
Just as you (assuming you were Adam) would never yield to Eve’s desire, you should never play along with a partner who is not ready to keep boundaries. Such a partner is an enemy. He/she wants to drive you from your life garden of Eden. You have your choice to make anyway. You may decide to feel for him/her and prove that you truly love him/her, and go ahead to live without boundaries. But be sure that you may end up seeing yourself naked before the public covered with shame, regrets and guilt; a point where it will be too late to return to the beautiful garden of your life.
To quote Steve Maraboli, “Relationship: If you put up with it, you’re going to end up with it. Set the standard you want and don’t settle for less.” Just as Steve said, don’t settle for less (anything below the standards you have set or will set) in your relationship. This is because, in the words of Israelmore Ayivor, “The desire for excellence becomes a reality when individual sets a standard, reach it and surpass it consistently.” If you truly want to become the person you said you desire at the beginning of this article; if you want your dream of building an excellent relationship that brings lasting success to become a reality, then, follow the way on how not to go too far which I have just shown to you; set the needed boundaries or limits in your relationship and do not only strive to reach them, surpass them consistently.
I hope you find this article helpful. Do share it on Facebook and other social media platforms. Pass it on to someone you think might also find it a useful tool in building a healthy relationship. Many thanks and God bless you.
What is that question or comment in your mind? Come on; don’t keep it to yourself. Share it in the comment section below.
Be a happy better you; live a happy better life.
Author: Oghovemu Okpu
I’m a writer and founder of Happy Better You (HBY); a personal development platform where I help you with the tips, resources and inspiration you need to become a happy better version of yourself so that you can live the happy better life you were created to fulfill.
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