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From Fear to Freedom: Setting Boundaries with a Controlling Spouse

Mar 24, 2024
Fear is a common emotion in controlling and oppressive relationships.

If you are a woman who has experienced an unhealthy or abusive relationship, you have learned that punishment follows anything that does not come into agreement with the opinions, desires, and needs of your partner/husband. This can make setting healthy boundaries very intimidating and scary. (please note: if your partner/husband is more aggressive and harming you physically, the only boundary we recommend is for you to get to a safe place.) 

You might have fear of:
  • His anger and punishment
  • Being shamed and criticized
  • Being told you are selfish or unspiritual

Perhaps, you are struggling with self-doubt, hurting his feelings, and/or concerns about your children. This is normal and understandable. But it is important to know that boundaries are needed to remain true to yourself and true to who God made you to be.

Before you can begin to set boundaries, you will need to: 
  1. Set a good foundation: Learning more about domestic abuse and boundaries (this is a great book - Boundaries), joining a support group (like the Oasis Bible Study Groups).
  2. Determine your identity and values: Some degree of healing might need to take place for you to rediscover your identity before you have enough inner strength and confidence to draw a boundary.
  3. Determine where your responsibility begins and ends: When determining boundaries in an abusive relationship, it is important to sort out areas of responsibility and resist the urge to take on more than is yours to carry.
  4. Determine what you are willing to gain and lose: Any decision often involves gaining something and losing something. For instance, by not drawing boundaries you may gain staying in the relationship and reducing the anger of your husband...but you may lose yourself, your safety, and your sanity.
You can be successful with setting boundaries by:
  • Having a good support system 
  • Remembering that God and Jesus are example of drawing boundaries. (Luke 5:15-16)
  • Understanding your value and respect in God's eyes
Boundaries are a request NOT a demand.

Someone's response to your boundary reveals what is inside their heart towards you which can be hurtful. If they disrespect your boundaries then they are disrespecting you. This is where consequences come in. This is when a decision can be made about how long you will stay in that relationship, workplace, or family setting. Boundaries are never easy, and they take practice, but they will build up your self-worth, self-confidence, and reflect your authentic self.

Boundaries are hard and might be disrespected but this does not mean you should not set them or follow through on the consequences. Instead, it gives you even more reason make sure you are surrounded by those who truly love you and want what is best for you. 

The importance of healthy boundaries isn't talked about often in our churches - but they should be. 

When you are in a relationship with an unhealthy person in any type of relationship, healthy boundaries are important. They protect what you believe to be acceptable and unacceptable, right and wrong, biblical and unbiblical. Above all else, it is protects who God says you are - valuable, acceptable, chosen, forgiven, and unconditionally loved

Oasis Participant, Kati says, "I have always had a hard time drawing boundaries because I am a people pleaser. I have not been good at standing up for myself. Drawing boundaries has been like finding my voice and verbalizing what is good and healthy for me.

It has been scary, but it has also been empowering." 

If you are struggling to understand who God says you are and how to have healthy relationships - there is help waiting for you:

 Safe - Confidential - Online - Faith Based

There are 3 Oasis Bible Study books - each written with YOU and your healing journey in mind.

Join a class today! 

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