Boundries and Faithfulness
To my ladies in relationships,
What are your boundaries with other men?
I have observed that some people don’t have too many (unknowingly, I was one of these people a number of years ago). It doesn’t help that society as a whole seems to support blurred lines, a lack of responsibility and a distorted understanding of sexual freedom..
Fortunately, as Catholics, we don’t make decisions based on what society deems acceptable. God is the One Who guides us and He tells us that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”(Matthew 5:28) This means that faithfulness to our partner starts in our hearts and in our minds.
Take a moment to reflect: Do you ever play into impure thoughts? Do you watch or purposely look at anything that is impure? Do you read anything that welcomes impure thoughts? The evil one will be sure to place thoughts into your mind, but you are the decision-maker, you don’t have to accept his proposals. You have the power of surrendering unproductive thoughts to God!
One would think that unfaithful actions are easier to see than unfaithful thoughts but it doesn’t seem to be the case. I believe that this is due partially to the fact that certain actions are neither inherently good nor inherently bad (i.e. talking).Nevertheless, we need to be very aware of the context of actions, including everyone that is involved.
For instance, from an objective standpoint, a conversation is simply an opportunity for two individuals to exchange some sort of information. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our actions, by looking back to conversations we’ve had with men. Would I want my significant other talking to other women in the same way that I talk to other men? Did I say anything that could be easily misinterpreted? Are my boundaries clear based on my behavior? Would I behave the same way if my partner was around?
I don’t believe that there is a “type” of person that is unfaithful. Firstly, God is the Creator and created us in His image, not in the image of the king of lies. Secondly, although we are created in the image of a Divine Being, we are human and that makes every one of us susceptible to temptation.
When we start thinking “we would never (insert action here)” without maintaining boundaries, we are in trouble. Things don’t happen out of the blue... people find themselves in certain ‘unwanted’ situations because of their first ‘yes’.
When we start pushing boundaries and going into riskier situations, we are relying too much on our own strength. Our actions tell our partners that we are willing to risk the relationship we have with them, for the sake of our pleasure. We are telling them that we don’t want to take responsibility for our actions. We are telling them that their hearts are not safe with us. We reject our partners.
On the other hand, when we chose to make and maintain appropriate boundaries we are telling our partners that we care too much for the relationship to put ourselves in questionable situations. Not only are we protecting our own hearts, we are telling our partners that their hearts are safe with us. We show our partners that we honor and respect them and the relationship we have with them. We say ‘yes’ to our partners.
Boundaries will vary from individual to individual, from couple to couple but they need to be present. Sticking to boundaries shows that we are aware of our human limitations and are taking responsibility for our actions.
Ladies, make your actions intentional. If you’re in a relationship, ensure that your actions are telling your partner that they are special and that you deeply cherish the connection that you two share.
Your partner doesn’t need to hear you tell him that would never do anything to put the relationship at risk. Your partner needs you to make decisions that don't put the relationship at risk.
Of course, we expect our partners to also remain faithful in thought and in action. Without faithfulness, love cannot grow.
Listen to the Voice in your heart, It will lead you to where you need to be and It will lead you away from where you shouldn’t be.