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January 22, 2013
by Gloria Day

An Uncomfortable and Necessary Journey: “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend- Book Review Chapter 8

January 22, 2013 11:09 by Gloria Day

Well, the Christmas season is through and time to get back to the grind of life and for me; my commitment to you that we WILL get through this book.

As I read on I so clearly get how boundaries are key to so many issues in our lives. Recently, I have realized that I want to foster more generosity, patience, and trust. As I read this chapter about Friendship and Boundaries I have realized how boundaries can help or hinder all of these fruits being in my life.

I am currently dating, well okay so I am online and trying to find Mr. Right- traditional dating for the sake of dating is not really on my agenda. I am ready and willing to get married so this is serious business.

As I read through the chapter on friendship I was struck with an interesting point about attachment that I will choose to focus on.

The chapter starts with a definition of what a friendship is. “A non-romantic relationship that is attachment-based rather than function based” (pg 143). In other words, we are talking about relationships we choose to be in outside of functions like ministry, work or frequent trips to the same corner store.

When I first read this it went right over my head…BUT…


You see I have a very clear view on marriage. Considering my parents are divorced and many people I know are; I am clear(or should I say determined!) that I will NEVER get divorced. To me one of the most important parts of a marriage is commitment and up until I read this chapter I realized this was actually at the expense of attachment.

You see I also know many people who have been married 10 plus years and hear about the struggles that they have. But they are committed and THAT commitment keeps them together…or does it?

The book posed the question that since there is nothing like an external institution ie commitment like a job, marriage, or church holding a friendship together are they not more easily able to be broken up and lost?

Basically, an argument can be made that a friendship does not matter as much as these other relationships which have some kind of inherent commitment attached to them. This would further complicate the setting of boundaries because what if I made a friend angry if I told her I was feeling judged by her and wanted our communication to be different.

Fundamentally, I have believed that the commitment in a marriage is all a marriage needs. I mean attachment would be nice but this is a marriage and we want it to last… so it needs to be about commitment (I think my broken-non-trusting heart is starting to warm up a bit…) and the book goes on to expound on the “attachment” that they used in their definition of a friendship. “Again the bible teaches that all commitment is based on a loving relationship. Being loved leads to commitment and willful decision making- not the reverse” (Pg 151)

So here is the main point I think we need to look at…

Are your relationships attachment-based?

Do you have friendships that are based on performance, guilt, or obligation?

Can you communicate in a friendship and not risk it ending?

I feel like we have opened a can of worms too big for this forum…I do hope we can reflect more into how we connect with others AND if our connections are secure enough (attachment-based enough) that would even allow for healthy boundary setting?

“…as we enter more and more in to an attachment-based life, we learn to trust love. We learn that the bonds of a true friendship are not easily broken. And we learn that, in a good relationship, we can set limits that will strengthen, not injure, the connection.”(Pg 152).


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

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