Rules for Marriages


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.