Tough love, a pop psychology concept that originally referred to a parent’s stern treatment of an unruly child, has expanded to include any technique that involves assertively setting strong boundaries with people you care about to get them to behave differently. Tough love is primarily known as a technique for reforming unruly teens and confronting addicts. However, mental health professionals have found tough love applications beyond this. The tough love technique can be applied in any situation in which it is important to establish firm boundaries yet assume a kind demeanor. These types of behaviors include setting limits to unreasonable demands, couching criticism within praise and acting as a positive role model.

Salma-Basharat3Salma Basharat has completed her MSC in Behavioral Sciences from Fatima Jinnah Women University After completing BSC in Botany, Zoology and Psychology. She did her 6 weeks internship in psychiatric ward of Benazir Bhutto hospital. Her areas of interest are mainly relationship counseling and addiction counseling.She is working with indoor as well as outdoor patients simultaneously with the aim of making difference in someone`s life and committed to the well being and restoration of her clients.

Editor: Hameeda Batool

“Tough love” can refer to two distinct processes. One is the process of maintaining your personal boundaries and dignity in the context of a relationship in order to maintain your self-respect and ensure that your partner respects you. The other process is therapeutic, often coercive intervention in the life of a loved one caught in the grip of addictive or destructive behavior. Both can be applied to romantic relationships. If you want your husband or wife to make a change and you have already tried to say it in a nice way, tough love may necessary. Maintaining a healthy marriage takes time, dedication, energy, respect and love. It has the potential to be your most intimate relationship, and if you are open and loving you and your spouse will help each other to grow and learn throughout your lives.


Love is not always meek and mild. Sometimes love is firm and tough, but it is no less love. We all know children thrive on ‘boundaries’, but what about husbands? Refusing to indulge bad behavior is good for them, for us, and for our relationships.