My husband and I created new rules for our relationship last month.
We’ve always had rules. When you tend towards high drama and using people to feel better about yourself, you need rules to have a healthy relationship. Or, at least, we do.
We came up with our first rule while sitting outside the house that Scott rented with his 3 med school roommates. We were 24 years old and had been dating a month. The rule was: We couldn’t break up.
Now, it wasn’t that we had to be TOGETHER FOREVER. It’s just that we couldn’t use I’m breaking up with you as a tool in our fights — to up the ante. This rule morphed into not using the word divorce as a way to plunge the knife a little deeper in our marriage fights.
We added a few other rules about yelling and name-calling and the like, and, for a long time, these rules paid off. They were fantastic. We fought fair. We loved hard. We respected the power of words.
Then we stopped. Well, I stopped. Or he stopped. We took turns stopping. And we kept reminding ourselves of the rules.
THE RULES! THE RULES!
Until we realized that we needed new rules. We’re now 32 years old and have been married 7.5 years. We have 2 kids, 2 jobs, 3 cats and 1 house with a yard that was once tended to by a master gardener (who cries every time she drives by her former house. probably.).
It’s hanging in our kitchen.
At first, I wanted to hide it somewhere. WHAT IF PEOPLE KNOW WE HAVE RULES? WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK OUR RULES ARE WEIRD?
Then I realized that a willingness to have rules is why I love our marriage.
And the people who don’t know we’re weird, don’t know us at all. And probably won’t like us much anyway.