Mary says that Tom gets to visit his parents on independence day and her parents on thanksgiving and Christmas.
David controls the finances in the home and gives his wife Sandra a monthly budget.
John is allowed to play golf twice a month only on a sunday.
Elizabeth’s decisions on the kids are final and cannot be overruled by Michael.
Marriage rules. We all have them.
They are either explicit where you both talk about them directly and agree with these rules. Once a month we sit down and balance the checkbook and each of us get an allowance. We decide together as a couple this is the way we manage the finances.
Or the rules could be implicit. Erick has a drink after work with his friends every thursday. He never discusses it with Erika. Erika does not say a word and expects Erik to be home late every thursday.
Every couple has their own set of these marriage rules. Most times its implicit.
The challenge appears in the marriage when one of these rules are violated. Erick spends no intimate time with Erika but hangs out with his friends every thursday night. When he arrives home Erika smells perfume and beer on him. Erika confronts him to talk about how he is grown cold and distant and spends no time with her. Erik is upset.
According to his implicit rule he she has agreed to him spending one night a week with friends. Erika is angry that Erick made this rule but never really discussed this with her.
These unwritten rules by couples are also complicated by specific beliefs you have. If you believe his role is to provide security and love for you and he is always out of a job or work on a temporary basis, it creates conflict.
If he believes that men should control the finances and you earn more or rightfully want an equal opinion on how the money is spent, it creates conflict.
None of these rules or beliefs are right or wrong.
You can easily discuss what rules to follow.
The reason why marriages are in serious trouble is not because of what rules to follow or whether it is implicit or explicit.
The conflict happens is about WHO makes the rules in the situation.
Understanding your specific marriage rules and who is making them will give you both a clearer picture of how to resolve your marriage problems.