If you feel like the walls at home are getting smaller and smaller every day you are not alone. Think about it, when the worlds of work from home, remote school, and everyday life collide stress is going to increase. Establishing necessary boundaries empowers everyone to take control and achieve high levels of peace in every household regardless of the challenges around us.
So how do you go about creating boundaries in a way that can be meaningful and ultimately make an impact? Here are three steps to get started:
Tip #1- Define boundaries as a couple
The goal of a boundary is to strengthen communication and there is no better way to do that than to define boundaries together. You need to know what is important to your partner and by including them in the process. By doing this you are honoring them by valuing their input. What you may see as a safe boundary may be unacceptable in their mind.
When establishing FMG my wife and I sat down and had intentional discussions on when the best time would be to do coaching. We wanted to guard the mutually important items and discussing them together helped define the guidelines upfront. After that it was a team effort to establish acceptable boundaries. Every couple and situation will be different – kids schedules, sports teams, church events, family devotion, family meals, and the list goes on and on. Get ahead of potential conflict and tackle this as a team.
Tip #2– Communicate those boundaries to those it may impact
Once you get the boundaries in place, they need to be explained to anyone they may affect. It will likely be those in your direct household, but it could include others such as friends. A great way to start communicating these would be to create a family calendar that is displayed in a prominent area. By writing down what was agreed upon it keeps it top of mind for everyone. For families with smaller children, you can get creative with pictures on the calendar to help explain some of the things happening from month to month.
When friends or others make requests of your time it becomes easier to schedule activities when the boundaries are in place. Communicate to them what options you have based on the boundaries and never break an established guideline without discussing with your partner first. Remember the goal is to reduce stress and staying in a united team is priority number one.
Tip #3– Stick to the plan – you may need an accountability partner
Now that you have gone through the exercise of creating and communicating your boundaries here is where the rubber meets the road. STICK TO THE PLAN! Any team that wins does so by executing the plan they designed. You gain control of your life by following the boundaries and you honor your partner by following the plan you designed together.
Block boundary items on your calendar regularly. Find a means that works and be intentional about following the plays as you designed.
There is only one shot in life and you just may find that defining boundaries with your partner, communicating them with others, and sticking to the plan can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can experience. Life will always be crazy (who wants boring) but it doesn’t have to be chaotic. Take control and feel the freedom!