Marriage Makeover – Day 7

Establishing Healthy Boundaries


Boundaries define where you end and another person begins. When you have healthy boundaries you are able to preserve your energy and sense of self. You know what energizes you and what drains you and you use clear communication, limits and consequences to protect your energy. In short, boundaries help you fill your cup and keep it full by protecting you from cup-draining experiences and interactions.

Unhealthy boundaries:

  • Going against what you want to please others.
  • Feeling you’re not complete without another person.
  • Relying on others for your happiness.
  • Letting others define you.
  • Expecting others to meet your needs and blaming them for your problems.
  • Not speaking up when you’re treated badly.
  • Feeling guilty for saying no.
  • Treating other people’s needs as more important than your own.
  • Falling apart so someone else can take care of you.

Healthy boundaries:

  • You know what you like and don’t like.
  • You know what energizes and what drains you.
  • You are confident.
  • You know you are responsible for your own happiness.
  • You meet your own emotional needs.
  • You have stability and control over your life.
  • You communicate openly and respectfully.
  • You don’t allow others’ low moods to affect your own mood.
  • You know your thoughts, feelings & emotions and choose to feel how you want to feel.

10 Steps to Strengthen Your Boundaries

Answer the following questions in your journal. Continue to refer back to these questions in the weeks and months ahead to document your progress over time.

  1. Get to know yourself by journaling about the following: a) Create a list of everything that drains you, including things you do, things you own, and your interactions with other people, b) Describe the kinds of boundaries you experienced or learned growing up, and c) Describe the health or strength of your own personal boundaries today.
  2. Using your answers to question #1, identify a few boundaries that you’d like to establish or strengthen.
  3. Name your limits for each of the boundaries you listed in question #2.
  4. Plan a clear and firm response for when people cross the limits you established in question #3.
  5. Communicate your limits to others clearly and respectfully.
  6. Whenever you’re asked to do something you’d rather not do, say NO. Remember, obligation blocks opportunity to do the things you really DO want to do.
  7. Built a support system of people who respect your boundaries.
  8. Spend some time each day getting “grounded” or in touch with your strong, authentic self. Imagine a “bubble” around you preserving your identity, energy and alignment.
  9. Practice excellent self care.
  10. Create a vivid image of what your ideal life and ideal interactions look like, including the new boundaries you’re working to establish.


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