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Boundaries in Marriage Paperback – August 12, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 577 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Establishing and understanding boundaries are crucial to the success of a marriage, according to authors Cloud and Townsend, who cowrote the award-winning and biblically-based book Boundaries. For example, boundaries help us understand where one person ends and the other begins, the authors claim: "Once we know the boundaries, we know who should be owning the problem we are wrestling with," they write. "This issue of ownership is vital to any relationship, especially marriage." But more significantly, couples need to claim and take responsibility for the "treasures that lie within their individual borders," such as: "feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, values, talents, and love." Based on the book that elevated them to national prominence, Cloud and Townsend caution readers not to use this self-help manifesto as a means to change one's spouse. Rather, this is a book about taking responsibility for oneself in all aspects of life, but especially within the boundaries of marital commitment. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Two lives becoming one: That’s the marriage ideal. But maybe you’ve discovered that it’s easier said than done. How do you solve problems? How do you establish healthy communication? How do you work out conflict and deal with the struggle of differing needs? In the process of knitting two souls together, it’s easy to tear the fabric.

That’s why boundaries—the ways we define and maintain our sense of individuality, freedom, and personal integrity—are so important. And it’s why the principles described in Boundaries in Marriage are essential if you want your marriage to flourish.

Counselors and best-selling authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend, authors of the Gold Medallion Award-winning book, Boundaries, show how you and your mate can experience marriage at its best. You’ll learn how to deal with serious violations and betrayals and develop a haven of mutual love, care, appreciation, and growth. Boundaries in Marriage will show you: ? Why boundaries and the “Ten Laws of Boundaries” are vital for a thriving, productive marriage ? How values form the structure and architecture of marriage ? How to protect a marriage from intruders, whether parents, other people, affairs, or personal idols ? Why each partner needs to establish personal boundaries, and how to go about it ? How to work with a spouse who understands and values boundaries—and how to work with one who doesn’t

Whether you are just starting out as a couple, have been married for years, or are seriously contemplating marriage, Boundaries in Marriage will show you how to establish your own boundaries and respect those of your partner. Drawing on principles from the Bible, it can help you safeguard against relational fractures and mend existing cracks. It may even save your marriage. And it can help make even the best marriage better -- Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; unknown edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310243149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310243144
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (577 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was the first book by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend that I have read. Therefore, I can neither confirm nor deny another reviewer's statement that it is essentially a rehash of the original Boundaries book. Having not read any of the other Boundaries books yet, I found this one to be quite excellent.

Whether or not you are a believer in Christ, this book can still be incredibly helpful if you're willing to read it with an open mind. It may even be helpful if you have a closed mind and you don't even want it to be helpful. ;) The strength in it is that it is not a "How To" book. The authors realized that lists of surface actions to change don't change the heart. They focus on pointing out principles and revealing truth. They give plenty of examples and paint pictures of how certain actions make others feel. This helps you see beyond yourself, thus allowing you to interact with your spouse with greater grace and mercy. The changes in your actions are the result rather than the solution.

Another thing I really like about this book is that it explains what submission and sacrifice in marriage really look like in the Bible and not in what the world believes that to look like. It explains that submission is always to be done in love and with the perspective of EVERYTHING that God has taught us through His Word. This means that submission and sacrifice do not mean giving up all your desires and doing everything your spouse tells you to do; it means upholding your responsibility to love your spouse no matter what (ie. loving them enough to help support the end of unhealthy behaviors and actions).
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Format: Paperback
Literally it did. I had read dozens of books trying to find a way to salvage my marriage, including several advising doing anything to please your husband. You know the ones-"no matter what,stay sweet" kind of thing,but building a truly loving marriage isn't that simple. "Boundaries in Marriage" gives advice on how you (man or woman)can be loving but also stand firm- stand firm in the areas that define your freedom as an individual, your self respect and your dignity as a human being. This was the first book on relationships that made total sense to me and that made a truly positive difference in my life. I also recommend "Boundaries" by the same authors.
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Format: Paperback
This book saved me in more ways than one. I love my husband, but he has some major character flaws that are deeply rooted, anger being the chiefest among them. I'm a passive, quiet, peace-loving person who doesn't handle confrontation or high-stimulus very well. So when my husband started swearing and yelling quite soon after being married, I was shocked. We both come from a very religious background that encourages marriage and respect in relationships, but somehow he had missed that part. I didn't know what to do, quite honestly. Initially, I would cry. He accused me of trying top manipulate him somehow by crying! So I learned to not show any emotion. When I wasn't shocked and scared of him, I tried to talk things out. I never got as emotional as he did, because I didn't think every problem required such huge reactions when we could just go straight to the problem-solving and skip the "woe is me/us" part. So he thought I was apathetic if I didn't get as emotional or dramatic.

I won't get too specific, but to give you an idea of how irrational he gets when angry, he has threatened to leave our 3 year-old son at home while we go out because he didn't finish his dinner (don't worry, I was sane enough not to allow that!). He makes up the strangest punishments for our kids that just sound vengeful to me, childish, even, like something you would do to your kid-brother when you're 10, not something you would dish out to your child as their father. He yells at me when the house isn't perfectly clean, so I clean till it's shining, and he still yells! It makes no difference. He just overreacts when he's stressed out, regardless of how perfect I am or how hard I try to please him.

My husband is also very tender and sensitive to others' feelings.
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Format: Paperback
Two things right up front: I'm single and I'm an atheist. The reason I put those right up front is because this is a book intended at married Christians.

That said, it's a very very good book. I have no problem looking past the religious rhetoric and focusing instead at the heart of the message. This is very worthwhile reading for anyone. I have included some of my notes from this book so that you might get a feel for it, I highly recommend it (the only reason I gave it 4 stars was the fact that you have to look past so much dogma and rhetoric in order to see the beautiful underlying message).

When two people are free to disagree, they are free to love. When they are not free to disagree, they live in fear and their love dies.

Learning to be truthful and learning to receive the truth is part of the maturing process as an adult. It is the essence of intimacy in a relationship. Lacking this, we become slaves to one another's coercion and withholding of approval. Where there is no freedom to say no, there is slavery.

A relationship must create freedom in order to survive- to the degree it creates freedom for both parties- to that degree it will continue to grow and thrive. Vice versa, to the degree a relationship enslaves and imposes, to that degree it is doomed as tool of destruction as opposing the joy and happiness of the partners in the relationship.

Boundaries setting as a means of protecting each partner's freedom is a formula for success. Boundary setting as a means of restricting and censorship is a formula for slavery and dominance. Therefore, the key in learning proper boundaries lies in this: Boundaries can properly be defended, but they can never be asserted.
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