Sunday, August 19, 2012

Healing a Hurting Marriage: Part 4. Playing by the Rules

(If you missed last Sunday's post, Healing a Hurting Marriage: Part 1.The Backstory or the following posts Healing a Hurting Marriage: Part 2. Her Story and Healing a Hurting Marriage: Part 3. His Story, please read those entries first to get the context of this post.)

I have been totally smitten by this new "Family Rules" craze...signs like this
and this

Amazing, right? So, when we started counseling and opening up lines of communication that had been fairly well rusted through, I knew immediately a set of Family Rules was one thing we had to do. We came up with some family rules I wanted to share, because they've already helped us. I would say that they are definitely a work in progress. We're still working on finalizing them (I want less rules, Dusk wants to add "We do not bite anyone" (I'll give you guess who that rule is for!) and "We eat all of our dinner without complaining"; I want them to be rules we can grow with, etc., etc.). Once we have them finalized, we're going to have them put into a plaque like the ones above, and put it up in our house. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

In the meantime, here are our family rules...

Bennett House Rules
1. We speak in love.
2. We do not shout.
3. We do not lie.
4. We choose happiness.
5. We forgive.
6. We do not go to bed angry.
7. We pick up after ourselves.
8. We ALL chip in.
9. We do not whine.
10.    We respect one another.
11.    We speak kindly of others.
12.    We play nice and we play fair
13.    We are not overscheduled.
14.    We seek God constantly.
15.    We accept responsibility.

All because of JESUS.

We go over the rules with the kids on a regular basis (and Bodie can list off the first 2 rules from memory if you ask him, the little smarty-pants).

If you have not yet established family rules, I strongly encourage you to do so. There are clearly some rules more targeted to some members of our family (ahem, I'm the shouter and chronic overscheduler, Dusk is the one who doesn't always choose happiness, the kiddos whine, refuse to pick up after themselves, don't play nice and definitely don't play fair!), but there are many we all need to be held accountable for and I love that. 

I love that, when making a family decision about committing ourselves to yet one more activity we don't have time for, Dusk can look at me and say "wait, what about our family rule? Wouldn't this overcommit us?" and it seriously plays a role in our decision making. It's an explicit acknowledgment that I have a tendency to overschedule, but I don't handle the effects well, and the whole family gets stressed. Not good for our family.

I love that my children can call me out on it when I'm stressed and I start yelling. Like last week, when I came home from a 5:30am Bikram yoga lesson (all peacefully blissed out), to find that Bodie had gone poop on his little potty and tried to dump it into the big potty, but kinda missed and smeared poop all over their bathroom floor, and Sierra had pulled the super duper heavy drawer out from under the kids bunkbed and taken all the neatly organized blankets out, thrown them on the floor and put her dollies in "to have a campout" and her brother (whose underwearless bottom had not yet been wiped) was sitting in the middle of the drawer. And no one thought to ask Daddy (who was sleeping in the next room) for help. Oh wait, maybe I would have appreciated a free pass at yelling on that day...haha...

Anyway, it's a learning curve for sure for us and we're not perfect. But establishing family rules is such a great way to bond a family together and really work toward becoming a more cohesive unit. And setting the rules with your spouse is a great way to make sure you're openly communicating and on the same page about things. Here's to more accountability in all of our families!



  1. Tomorrow I am so sitting down w/ my husband and coming up family rules. What a fantastic idea! And my jaw dropped while reading the poop story.. Haha! My kids (well, the one that can talk) never asks for help when I'm not home. I walk in and there's a rush of "Can I do this, can I have that"!

  2. I love your family rules and I think it is a wonderful idea that all families should have. Thanks so much for sharing Amy!

  3. We have rules, but we've never put them in writing. I think we should! It's a great idea to help us all remember them. I have a tendency to yell, too. You totally deserved a pass to yell that morning! Oh, my gosh! :)

  4. Just a few weeks ago I submitted a testimony that was shared with other standers explaining that my husband told me he loved me, was in love with me, always had been, and always would be. The timing of his message was amazing...just 3 days after i contacted for him to please bring my husband back...that I was struggling in my marriage and needed it back. Now I am beyond thankful and thrilled to share that my husband and I are together and we are stronger in our marriage because of Priest Andrew's help.