Does “Setting Boundaries” apply to marriages?


Good morning,

I read "Setting Boundaries" and noticed how it’s applied to children.

What if, and I say this will all do respect as I can as a wife, but what if I have a husband who acts like this? Do these principles still apply to a husband? This has to be the most difficult and discerning thing I’ve had to do spiritually.

I’m not saying this in pride but in complete humility, but I believe I am more spiritually mature than my husband. He was an atheist when I met him, and he converted to Christianity after continuous studies, etc. We had premarital counseling and post-marital counseling, and I’ve learned that he was never taught this way as the article says.

My question is: Do I apply these same principles?

This is extremely difficult for me to process because he is my husband. He is the head of the household, and I need to respect him, but how do I do that if I am to apply these principles?

For example, he wants to worship in a congregation that has instruments and a fellowship hall, but I tell him I refuse to worship that way because of what is taught in the scriptures. He refuses. He even takes the keys from me so I can’t attend. How do I respect him? Do I continue going to his congregation until he learns the truth or what? This is just an example of the numerous things I’m facing but I’d love more insight.


The relationship that a parent has with his child is not the same as the relationship between a husband and wife. A wife willingly follows her husband's lead but there are limits to her submission. "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:3). A husband doesn't have all authority. He only has the authority granted to him by Christ. When a husband demands things that are against Christ's law, then Christ must be followed.

Your husband doesn't know the Scriptures well and doesn't understand his need to submit to Christ. In your position as his wife, you cannot force his submission or demand it. You are limited to illustrating it. "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior" (I Peter 3:1-2).

Let's take the example of your husband childishly hiding the car keys to get his way. God's command is to attend worship (Hebrews 10:25) and worship doesn't include man-made innovations like instrumental music. Rather, the command is to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). You have a church that follows God's teachings, so you attend there. Make arrangements with some of the members there to pick you up when your husband is disobeying Christ. If you have your own car then get a spare key made and hidden for emergencies. No arguing, no fights, just do what is necessary to obey God, and in everything else that doesn't violate God's laws, you show yourself willing to follow your husband's lead.

This will likely go one of two ways: he will escalate matters in a vain attempt to force his way, or he will see that you are committed and stop pressing the issue. If he breaks laws, such as resorting to abuse or involuntary restraint, you may have to involve the police in the matter. Hopefully, it won't come to that point.

The basic rule is to keep in mind the order of authority. God always comes before man.

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