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February 22, 2013
by Gloria Day

An Uncomfortable and Necessary Journey: “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend- Book Review Chapter 9

February 22, 2013 09:35 by Gloria Day

Well here we are again, the busy month of January behind us, the holiday glow has dampened and life is back! I am not sure about you, but for me the holidays give a great opportunity to practice boundaries. There are so many opportunities for being pulled here and there. As well, with family involved who cannot need to be able to communicate clearly a confident set of boundaries?

Chapter 9 which deals with boundaries within a marriage is jammed full of useful tips on how one can conduct his/herself as well as what one can choose to tolerate and when to put your foot down.

One part that stuck out for me most is that of taking responsibility for what I can controlME and truthfully ONLY me. Page 164 gave a nice chart of some examples of how we can take control of our own actions versus being powerless in a situation. I will warn you for those who boundaries are not natural this will need some practice. I do believe over time with a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) we can begin to see ourselves as God does and thus we can demand in a loving way to be treated as the bible clearly lays out in Ephesians.

Examples of how to take control of what I can:

Before Boundaries

After Boundaries

1. “Stop yelling at me. You must be nicer.”

1. “You can continue to yell if you choose to. But I will choose not to be in your presence when you act that way.”

2. “You’ve just got to stop drinking. It’s ruining our family. Please listen. You’re wreaking our lives.”

2. You may choose to not deal with your drinking if you want. But I will not continue to expose myself and the children to this chaos. The next time you are drunk , we will go to the Wilsons’ for the night, and we will tell them why we are there. Your drinking is a choice. What I put up with is mine.”

3. “You’re a pervert to look at pornography. That’s so degrading. What kind of sic person are you anyways?”

3. I will not choose to share you sexually with naked women in magazines. It’s up to you. I will only sleep with someone who is interested in me. Make up your mind and choose.”

Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (1992) Boundaries: When to say Yes, When to say No; to take control of your life. (Pg 164) Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.


What is interesting when we look at these examples of how to communicate boundaries is that some women may be confused about how setting consequences is submissive or is respecting her husband. What needs to be understood is that both husbands and wives are to be submissive in a marriage. We need to remember as women that boundaries are not about being mean, or denying others. Boundaries are the personal property lines which define who we are, what we are responsible for, and where we have limits and limitations. Having clear boundaries is essential for a healthy, balanced lifestyle as well as for spiritual growth and for our ability to give and receive love.(Pg 31)


The Bible does speak clearly about boundaries in a marriage:


22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.


25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

Ephesians 5:24-28 The Message (MSG)


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