Cloud and Townsend (1999) define a boundary as the “simplest sense, is a property line. It denotes the beginning and end of something” (p. 17). In this book, Cloud and Townsend observed the mechanisms of marriages that go into” producing and maintaining love” (Cloud and Townsend, 1999, p. 17). The boundaries in marriage are important because “when boundaries are not established in the beginning of a marriage, or when they break down, marriages break down as well” (Cloud and Townsend, 1999, p. 17).
A break down then leads to tension for the couple and does not allow them to grow as a couple. Cloud and Townsend claim in order to establish these boundaries, important elements must fall into play. The elements include: responsibility, freedom, protection, and self-control. Responsibility is needed to help people figure out who is responsible for their actions, behaviors and their words (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). Freedom is referring to an individual’s freedom to respond and how we make choices (Cloud and Townsend, 1999).
Freedom in also being able to limit how behaviors affect individuals and their relationships with others (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). Protection serves as the purpose to let boundaries of love to grow. Being able to protect yourself from good and bad is crucial especially in marriage (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). Possessing self-control, which means taking control over your own emotions and behaviors is important when establishing boundaries (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). The authors state that, “Self-control serves love, not selfishness.
We hope that when you take control of yourself, you will love better and more purposefully and intentionally so that you and your spouse can have the intimacy you desire” (Cloud and Townsend, 1999, p. 29). In the book the authors also talk about the “Ten Laws of Boundaries in Marriage” (Cloud and Townsend, 1999, p. 37). They suggest that living in abeyance with these laws will enhance success while going against the laws will promote consequences. The ten laws are, “1) sowing and reaping, 2) responsibility, 3) power, 4) respect, 5) otivation, 6) evaluation, 7) proactivity, 8) envy, 9) activity, and 10) exposure” (Cloud & Townsend, 1999, pp. 37-58). When an individual abides by these ten laws of boundaries they will become more loveable because they are creating the marriage that God has always intended for them (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). Cloud and Townsend also touch on core values. They suggest that whatever you value in life is what you value in your relationship (Cloud and Townsend, 1999). The values that they emphasize include, “love of God, love of your spouse, honesty, faithfulness, compassion and forgiveness, and holiness” (Cloud & Townsend, 1999, p. 2).
This was a great book for me to read because I am not married and marriage is something that I definitely want in the future. So reading this will not only help me, but I will also now be able to help married clients with boundary issues, that way they can grow as a couple just how God has intended it to be. I liked the fact that this book took on a personal ownership of one’s problems, Cloud and Townsend say, “when you cease to blame your spouse and own the problem as yours, you are then empowered to make changes to solve your problem” (Cloud & Townsend, 1999, p. 1). This coincides with Dr. Wilson’s book, Hurt People Hurt People, she suggests that “we must each take responsibility for own choices” (Wilson, 2001, p. 99). Cloud and Townsend’s theory on boundaries in marriage is definitely something I will be incorporating into my personal counseling theory.
Cloud, H. , & Townsend, J. (1999). Boundaries in marriage. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Wilson, S. D. (2001). Hurt people hurt people: Hope and healing for yourself and your relationships. Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers.