September 1, 2014

Live with Boundaries: Newlyweds (2011)

Relationships are difficult and they certainly can be a lot of work at times. And, the more relationships you have, the more complicated your life can be, that is if you actually try to maintain them. Romantic relationships are particularly interesting and can be particularly challenging to juggle especially as you introduce your significant other to your family and friends. I rarely, if ever, see movies accurately portray the internal and external struggles that many of us face as we work to manage all the relationships in our lives, but Newlyweds seems to get it right. The key to managing all of the those relationships is setting up and maintaining boundaries. Let me explain.

From the beginning of the movie, the setup of the relationship between the main couple, Buzzy (Edward Burns) and Katie (Caitlin Fitzgerald), was depicted as easy-going and no drama. The funny thing about that was that both they and the audience could see the fallacy in that notion as the movie progressed. This was especially evident as Buzzy's sister, Linda (Kerry Bishe') and Katie's sister, Marsha (Marsha Dietlein) started to impose themselves into their lives. It was clear from the beginning that their lack of interaction, due to alternating schedules and a naive approach to their relationship, contributed to their lack of requisite boundaries needed for any successful relationship; whether with each other or with others.

Case in point: Linda comes to visit her half-brother Buzzy from Los Angeles, semi-unannounced,  and proceeds to invite herself to a lengthy stay, borrow Katie's coat without permission and sneak in a late night hook-up from a bar, all within the first 12 hours of coming to visit. Left in shock, initially Katie and Buzzy laugh off the imposition, but after a couple of days of his sister's antics, including her sleeping with Katie's ex-husband Dara (Dara Coleman), they then begin to bicker with each other. Just as that situation comes to a head, Katie's sister Marsha's marriage implodes after 18 years, no surprise there after watching her and husband bicker from the start of the movie, and she then enlists Katie to help her as she did for her when her first marriage ended. The only problem is, when Katie confronts her sister about being an imposition due to the timing of her forced stay, she aggressively refuses to leave, citing that her sister owed her. Katie retreats from the fallout with her sister, in defeat while her husband, Buzzy, placates his half-sister by giving her enough money for her to go back home to Los Angeles.

All throughout this movie, virtually every character has no sense of boundaries, which not only causes most of the drama throughout the movie, but also contributes to the breakdown of the relationships within the movie. It's not always easy, but it is imperative that we set boundaries in our relationships as both Buzzy and Katie learned the hard way. By the end of the movie, yes they did in fact leave their apartment to get away from Katie's rude and imposing sister, but they also went away to figure things out for the sake of their relationship and you can bet that creating boundaries definitely played a significant part of that conversations.


  1. So true, families can be toxic to a budding relationship, especially if there are no set boundaries. I gotta tell 'ya In-laws can be a trip, both yours and your significant others.

  2. Definitely, but I also think it's important to have contingency plans in place just in case someone decides to overstep your boundaries. Boundaries are no good if you don't enforce them.