“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” -Lao Tzu
My client’s kids are grown, off building their own families, own careers, and own lives. She and her husband had made a decision that her oldest daughter didn’t appreciate. And her daughter let her know how unhappy she was with that decision.
Now the mother and daughter who used to speak every day haven’t talked in weeks.
My client – who adores her daughter – was trying to figure out how they could reconcile.
Her daughter didn’t seem interested.
In the meantime, her husband is having conversations every day with their daughter…talking about everything under the sun EXCEPT the disagreement between mom and daughter.
As you can imagine….my client feels like she’s not being treated fairly.
She and her husband made a decision together…
But she’s being punished for that decision by her grown daughter, but he is not.
What I’m going to say might ruffle some feathers because we give our kids (even when they’re no longer kids) a lot of access to us and our lives:
They’re part of your family…
But they should not be part of your marriage.
Your marriage is sacred. It’s a special agreement made between two people (not three people).
And whenever you allow people into that sacred space – between you and your spouse – it will cause problems.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your daughter, your Mother-in-Law, or your best friend. Problems will arise and they will become more complicated because of the triangulation effect.
The space between the two of you is yours…and yours alone.
Of course, my client’s daughter is out of line thinking she gets a vote in decisions that her parents choose to make for their lives and their marriage.
But there’s some reason why she thinks this is acceptable behavior…
That’s because in various ways – both she and her husband have allowed it. But not any longer….
She had a beautiful, open, honest, loving boundary-setting conversation with her daughter where she told her, “I love you, but you don’t get a vote inside our marriage.”
My client (because she’s a #badass) also had a conversation with her husband where she was able to share with him how what he was doing – also not setting healthy boundaries – was creating problems in their marriage and inviting their daughter into a space where she doesn’t belong.
Oftentimes, people assume that in our most intimate relationships with the people we love most on this planet – our spouse and our kids – that boundaries are unnecessary. That couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s actually where they’re MOST necessary in order to sustain happy, healthy, connected relationships.
If you know you need to know how to set better boundaries in your life or marriage but have no idea where to begin, let’s talk. Maybe I can help.