Tag Archives: boundaries

Setting Boundaries

There was a bank robbery. Or, more accurately, there was an attempted bank robbery. The bank was a counter outlet with two tellers within a large grocery store.

Approaching the bank counter with a note, a man demands all of the money in the teller’s drawer. Amy, the teller, looks the man in the eye, demanding back, “Do you have a withdrawal slip?”

Knocked off course and flustered by the unexpected question, the man stammers, “No.”

“Well, at this bank in order to withdraw money, you need to have and complete a withdrawal slip. No slip. No money,” Amy concludes firmly.

Dazed and confused, the would-be robber turns to leave the store. The police arrive shortly.


Later, a short report of the incident appears in the local paper, cautioning readers never to behave as Amy did and, instead, hand over any funds that are available.

But, if you knew Amy—one of my favorite bank tellers ever—you, too, would understand why that man left empty handed.

Sacred Space & Intimacy

Sometimes, when I am preparing food in the kitchen, my husband comes in with a book and sits down to read to me.  If I am not being read to while preparing food, my husband might read to me over a hot breakfast or while we are riding together in the truck on a long road trip.  We usually have two or three books going, so there are subject options depending upon the place we find ourselves.

As it turns out, this tradition of reading together is a key component in building a sense of continuity and thematic commonality within the passage of our days and the context of our relationship.  Reading and being read to is a habit which developed early in our being together.  And, finding the appropriate parameters for receipt and extension  of such a gift took time.


One morning, very early in our relationship, my husband trotted innocently in to read to me while I was in the middle of a steaming bath.  Not very skilled at setting boundaries in this new relationship, I rudely sent him packing with his stack of books and several words of frustration.  It was a moment of learning. The first thing I learned was that my solo bath time is sacrosanct.  Ablutions are much more than a matter of physical cleanliness; ablutions are a gateway to  spiritual preparedness for an entire day.  Thus, bath-time needs to remain private and free from words.

Each of us possesses a space or an activity that is somehow sacrosanct—whether it is working in the wood shop on Sunday afternoon, a private yoga practice or a solo walk in the woods.  Individual, internal communion grants us the ability to become intimate—with ourselves.  And, it is only when we have achieved intimacy within that we are able to move forward in wholeness toward a relationship of  intimacy with someone else.