Relationship Boundaries


“You complete me!” (Jerry Maguire)

What a loving, romantic statement, right? Heard it a few times in the movies. But this is not what God intended for healthy relationships, and especially not for marriages. “Completing” means making up for one’s immaturity as a person. Wow! So maybe that’s not what you actually meant. Perhaps what you are looking for is better stated as “You complement me.”

Boundaries in relationships are important. Complementing each other allows for differences, and being healthy individually first requires work. Both partners must be healthy and possess certain abilities that cannot be “borrowed” from each other.

Here are some healthy characteristics of people who do NOT need to be “completed” by relationship:

  • Can connect emotionally
  • Be vulnerable and share feelings
  • Have an appropriate sense of power and assertiveness
  • Say “no”
  • Have initiative and drive
  • Have at least a minimal amount of organization
  • Be real, but not perfect
  • Accept imperfections and offer grace and forgiveness
  • Grieve
  • Think for oneself and express one’s opinions
  • Learn and grow
  • Take risks
  • Grasp and use one’s talents
  • Be responsible and follow through
  • Be free and not controlled by external or internal factors
  • Be sexual
  • Be spiritual
  • Have moral sense
  • Have an intellectual life


(List adapted from Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud & Townsend)

In order to have a successful relationship, you need to be committed to developing these characteristics on your own… not dependent on someone else to express them for you.

So how do you go about developing these characteristics? By taking responsibility for your maturity, and owning up to your own growth. This will allow you to be a “complete” person as you enter into a relationship, and then the two of you can “become one” as God instructs and allows.


Boundaries in Marriage


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