Life as a wife and mother can be tricky. There is a lot going on and much of it is uncharted territory. There is no “on the job training”. You have to learn as you go. Sometimes the right answer to particular problem or circumstance seems elusive.
It can be easy to feel like you are in over your head or to second guess how you chose to handle certain situations. And, nobody gets through without making at least some mistakes. You can already tell this is going to be a pretty encouraging blog post, huh? 😉
Actually, it is. Because while the above is all true, I have discovered a “secret” that helps make life go much more smoothly, guides you when you don’t know what to do and prevents you from having regrets. (It isn’t that you won’t make mistakes, its that they won’t be too costly.) This “secret” is simple: “Rules to Live By”.
In our day there has been such an emphasis on grace and freedom that the word “rules” may sound dirty to some. If that is you, don’t worry. I’m not talking about rules that control and restrict you or your family. (After all, the absence of rules can be just as restricting and scary as an overabundance of them!) I’m talking about simple rules that will guide you when you have decisions to make, when life throws you a curve ball, and even in simply planning out your day.
They don’t have to be posted on your walls or even verbally spoken to your spouse or children. (Although, you may want to do those things too.) But, they should be consistently remembered and enforced. They should be what help to set the tone and structure of your home and the relationships in it.
What are these magical rules? I can’t tell you that. They are different for each home. After all, my marriage isn’t going to look like yours. My kids are not the same as yours. But, I can give you some examples of rules I live by:
- Say “I love you” a lot. Add “I like you to it” often too. I think that it is important for my husband and children to know that I love them. Always. Good days or bad days. Those words are spoken a lot around here. I like adding the “I like you” to it, because sometimes love can feel like an obligation in family, like you can love someone without really liking them. My family is made up of my favorite people in the world. Seriously. I want to make sure they know that.
- Be quick to apologize. The truth is, I am not perfect. (I know that comes as a shock to those of you that know me.) I am still growing in the character and likeness of Jesus. I don’t always act like Him. So, I make sure that as soon as I realize a mistake–no matter if it is an error in judgement or a “I thought this was the right thing to do and now realize it wasn’t” type of moment, I say sorry. This doesn’t always feel good, by the way. But the fruit of it in my home is unmistakable.
- Keep “Family Day” family day. Life is busy and it doesn’t seem to be headed in towards a slow down anytime soon. That is okay, though, because there are times built in to our life that help to keep the important things important. While we have things like family meals built into our days, we also have a weekly “family day” that is set aside to connect as a family. Usually we go and do something together–for example, yesterday we went to Minnehaha Falls and walked around on the trails, pausing to dip our toes into the ridiculously cold water–but sometimes we simply stay home and work on a project together. But, either way, the point is family connection. We guard these days and rarely allow anything to interfere with them and as a result, they have been a lifeline of connection and relational growth within our family.
Those are some examples of rules that I live by. They may have struck a chord in you, or they may not sound at all like they are something you need. That’s okay. The point isn’t in each marriage or home operating by the same rules. And, it certainly isn’t in having lists of rules you strive to live by each day. The point is simply to have some (often unspoken) “rules” that guide behavior and give a structure that helps maintain the value system and atmosphere that you desire in your home.
Rather than restrict, rules like this bring safety and allow life to flourish. I shared some of my rules. What rules do you live by?