Rules for Marriages

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Very often my couples clients ask, “Why do we have to have rules for our marriage? If we love each other that should be enough to assure our having a successful marriage”. Unfortunately this is a commonly held myth that might accomplish the exact opposite result. Discussing and agreeing on a type of “Ten Commandment” set of rules allows each spouse the opportunity to share their needs, beliefs, and dreams for their future together in a fair and balanced way. A marriage needs to be built the way one might build a business. Knowing what is expected and having some guidelines for behavior can spare couples a lot of heartache and problems throughout the years. As a marriage counselor I recommend that every couple take the time to formulate a set of rules that are unique to the two people in the relationship. This applies to the recently committed as well as those who have been unhappily together for a long time.

Ideas to get you started:

  • No violence, physical or verbal.
  • Tell the truth with kindness.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Both partners are responsible for everything.
  • Strive for fairness. Avoid power struggles.

Helpful hints: Keep the rules general not specific (ie, no wet towels on the floor). Put more effort into listening not speaking.