Your Rights In a Marriage
1 – You have the right to be safe.
You are entitled to be physically unharmed in your marriage. This right extends to the protection of all dimensions of abuse, from emotional to financial. You have the right to an expectation that your spouse does not seek to harm you and that if they inadvertently do, that they do not blame you for the transgression.
You have the right to feel safe in your marriage. However, and this is an important clarification, it is not your spouses responsibility to ensure that you are never uncomfortable with a situation. There will be times where you feel threatened because you are triggered. There will be times when you are scared of the content and importance of a conversation.
2 – You have the right to be informed.
You have the right to have access to any and all information that impacts the marriage, the family or you, personally. You can expect to have this information within a reasonable time frame and without having to beg or search for it.
The content and/or method of delivery of the information is outside of your ability to enforce. Additionally, keep in mind that your partner can only communicate that of which they are aware. At times, there may be issues beneath the surface that they have not yet brought to consciousness.
3- You have the right to be heard.
You have the right to ask for change. You have the right to speak your needs. You have the right to your voice and your truth.
4 – You have the right to freedom of choice.
You are entitled to respond as you see fit to any information that you receive. This right extends to communicating requests, issuing boundaries and even terminating the relationship.
At any point, you have the right to have sovereignty over your realm. This right does not extend to making decisions for other adults.
Your Responsibilities In a Marriage
1 – You have the responsibility to speak the truth.
You have the duty to communicate any information to your partner that may impact them as soon as you have achieved an understanding of the particulars. The decision to withhold information, even with the intent to spare your partner the pain, is contrary to your responsibility. Not everything needs to shared, but if you’re afraid to speak, it’s a sign that the information needs to come out.
2 – You have the responsibility to refrain from assumptions.
It is your obligation to approach your partner with an open mind and to refrain from assigning guilt and intent before you have all of the information. It is not fair to put a spouse on perpetual trial, where they are always tasked with defending themselves. Ultimately, you have the responsibility to listen.
3 – You have the responsibility to keep your expectations in check.
It is not fair to place the burden of your happiness or life satisfaction at the feet of your partner. If your expectations are too high, you are setting your spouse up for failure. You have the responsibility for managing your own anticipation and supposition.
4 – You have the responsibility to address yourself first.
Before you assign blame, you have the obligation to first look inward and to address any issues you find first. Not only is it not fair or realistic to place all of the burden of change on your partner, it is also outside of your control.
5 – You have the responsibility of supporting the team.
When you enter a marriage, you are establishing a team. And you have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the team. Furthermore, you are obligated to ask for input and clarification about the goals and interests of the team, as needed.
6 – You have the responsibility of acting with kindness.
Because there’s no excuse not to.
Additional reading on the rights and responsibilities within a marriage: