Respect your spouse’s boundaries

In a healthy marriage, each spouse has sole authority and sole responsibility for speaking his or her own thoughts and feelings and for deciding his or her actions.

Trespassing into your spouse’s space feels invasive and is likely to trigger defensiveness and repulsion. And because you can’t really know what is going on for anyone else, it is usually in accurate.

Don’t violate that invisible –but very very real – boundary between you and your spouse. —
Examples of trespassing into your spouse’s space:

Speaking for your spouse
– “What s/he wants to do …”
– “What s/he was saying …”
Instead, let him/her say what they want to do or what they were saying. — Saying what you think your spouse is thinking or feeling
– “You think that …”
– “You feel ….”
Instead, just listen. Or ask “What are your thoughts?” — Telling the other what they should do (These often begin with the word “you”. ) This usually sounds controlling or condescending.
– “You should …”
– “You need to start paying more attention …”
– “What you need is …”
Instead, you might request. “I would so appreciate if you paid more attention.” Or invite him/her to consider doing something differently. “Have you ever considered doing it this way?” (Tone matters!)

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