From the Gary Smalley Relationship Center ... you can subscribe to their newsletter at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
"We argue over family rules … help! Every family operates by certain "rules." These rules make up "the way our family does things," and cover all kinds of topics—what we eat, what TV programs we watch, how we observe holidays (for example, do we open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?), and how we communicate. Many marital arguments have gone fifteen rounds to see whose family rule will win out in the new marriage.All families need rules or boundaries of some kind. But the challenge is: Who decides the rules? Families can adopt biblical rules, "principles of the Lord," like not letting the sun go down on anger and being kind to one another. These types of family guidelines can be safely passed through generations. But not all family rules are worth retaining. Some family rules—written or unwritten—can devastate a family.We decided early on to agree on some simple guidelines for our family … and the rules include mom and dad. One of our rules is that we honor God in every way we can. Instead of dictating the rules as our kids got older, we asked them to think of ways we can honor God, and then we wrote them down. We created a family contract so that the kids understood both the blessings and the consequences of our family rules. We involved them in deciding the consequences and adjusted those with their ages. The key was we loved them, blessed them, and guided the development of their hearts. Make a list with your spouse and pray about creating a family contract today!"