Sometimes Values Matter More than Comfort in Boundary Setting

Sometimes Values Matter More than Comfort in Boundary Setting

Originally published July 15, 2021

Thanks to popular wellness rhetoric, many of us hold frameworks around consent and boundaries that are rigid and unsustainable for maintaining resilient long term relationships.

There is a vignette in the book Passionate Marriage that tells the story of a couple that hasn’t been intimate in a very long time, and this creates a huge source of conflict.

The wife, who doesn’t want sex has anxiety around intimacy, and the more time passes without having sex the more anxious she gets. She feels pressured when her husband tries to initiate.

The husband feels frustrated because he wants to be intimate with his wife.

On the face of it, with our current narrative around consent and boundaries- particularly sexual boundaries, the husband should just accept the no.

If he doesn’t he’s framed as toxic, selfish, or even abusive.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

If you make a choice that isn’t ultimately aligned with your integrity, the relationship is going to decay and the conflict will remain:

You’ll either be miserable together and things will stay the same or you’ll suffer in a different way ending the relationship, but with hope of better things and knowing you made the decision that was in your own best interest.

Eventually, faced with the sobering reality that they had hit a make or break point in the relationship, the wife had to decide if avoiding the anxiety of intimacy was more important than continuing the relationship.

Under popular narratives surrounding boundaries and consent, decisions are based in personal comfort over values and integrity.

But anxiety and discomfort can be soothed. The real challenge is to know what we value most, what our priorities are, and face the discomfort that arises when we choose the path that is more difficult, but ultimately in service of our growth and highest good.

Under popular narratives surrounding boundaries and consent, decisions are based in personal comfort over values and integrity.

Sometimes Values Matter More than Comfort in Boundary Setting

Originally published July 15, 2021

Thanks to popular wellness rhetoric, many of us hold frameworks around consent and boundaries that are rigid and unsustainable for maintaining resilient long term relationships.

There is a vignette in the book Passionate Marriage that tells the story of a couple that hasn’t been intimate in a very long time, and this creates a huge source of conflict.

The wife, who doesn’t want sex has anxiety around intimacy, and the more time passes without having sex the more anxious she gets. She feels pressured when her husband tries to initiate.

The husband feels frustrated because he wants to be intimate with his wife.

On the face of it, with our current narrative around consent and boundaries- particularly sexual boundaries, the husband should just accept the no.

If he doesn’t he’s framed as toxic, selfish, or even abusive.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

But their marriage also came with the expectation that they would maintain sexual intimacy, and that is a need for him in that relationship.

If you make a choice that isn’t ultimately aligned with your integrity, the relationship is going to decay and the conflict will remain:

You’ll either be miserable together and things will stay the same or you’ll suffer in a different way ending the relationship, but with hope of better things and knowing you made the decision that was in your own best interest.

Eventually, faced with the sobering reality that they had hit a make or break point in the relationship, the wife had to decide if avoiding the anxiety of intimacy was more important than continuing the relationship.

Under popular narratives surrounding boundaries and consent, decisions are based in personal comfort over values and integrity.

But anxiety and discomfort can be soothed. The real challenge is to know what we value most, what our priorities are, and face the discomfort that arises when we choose the path that is more difficult, but ultimately in service of our growth and highest good.

Under popular narratives surrounding boundaries and consent, decisions are based in personal comfort over values and integrity.

But anxiety and discomfort can be soothed. The real challenge is to know what we value most, what our priorities are, and face the discomfort that arises when we choose the path that is more difficult, but ultimately in service of our growth and highest good.

About the Author

You may also like these