My home is a safe place. That doesn’t come easily, but it can be done. My husband and I talked about what we wanted for our home and we have created “house rules” that help us make our home a place of safety and nurture. We also believe in simple, so we didn’t want too many rules and we wanted rules that are easy to understand and enforce (no we don’t quote our rules to people as they walk in the door, we model our rules and explain our rules if someone breaks them, kindly asking them to respect our house rules in our home (though rowdy kids might get an up front rendering)).
I suppose y’all want to know what those rules are. :) 1) be kind 2) be responsible 3) respect the privacy of the bedrooms. The first rule governs the heart. (It’s OK to disagree, even be angry, but you need to speak respectfully and kindly. How would you like to be spoken to? Generosity, thoughtfulness and all those good things are rolled into one rule.). The second rule governs what we do (If you make a mess, clean it up. If you don’t know how, ask. Take care of your chores. Let folks know where you’re going. That sort of thing.). The last rule is about privacy, boundaries and the fact that two out of three in my family are introverts. We knock and wait for a response before entering around here. It also gives everyone their own personal space and a bit of personal control (my son’s bedroom is always “unique,” but it is his space and he’s entitled to do as he likes there).
As far as enforcement of rules, we’ve rarely had much trouble. Most people are so glad to have a safe place to fall down in, I’ve rarely had to mention a rule more than once (and that usually with the younger set). We’ve got kids jumping up to help bring in the groceries and folks happy to take dinner dishes to the sink. A small word of reminder keeps disagreements from coming to blows (important with a room full of teen boys). Paul and I work hard to model our rules (emphasis on the kindness rule) and the perks so bless folks, they are happy to be a part of the system. People can relax in our home. It is truly a safe place where people feel loved and respected.
My thought behind this idea is that as couples we need to create a safe and nurturing place for ourselves as couples and for our families. It’s also nice to be on the same page as your spouse. Creating a few simple house rules is not a bad plan. Family rules don’t happen overnight. It’s takes time to understand and work within your family dynamics to create rules that work for you. Establishing them takes patience and grace. Little ones take more work because you have to walk them through behaviors again and again until they mature and learn the benefits. My encouragement is that you keep things simple and that you help family members sound out how the rules practically apply and work for your family. Also live up to the rules yourself and see that it benefits your spouse and family. It’s hard to get upset with rules that benefit you.
(My husband reminds me that he has additional rules ~ 1) don’t eat ants or slugs 2) no large animals 3) no small fires (can’t get a large fire without having a small fire first)
If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable. Louis D. Brandeis
Be generous! Lori <><