The Evolution of Rules

It’s interesting how some rules come and go and others stay and how some change over time while others remain basically the same. We’ve never had a long list of rules. Most things seem to fall under the general guidelines of disrespect, disobedience, dishonesty and dangerous. But sometimes there’s a specific behavior that one or both of us wishes to address and so a more specific rule is created. It may fall under one or more of the general guidelines or it may stand on its own.

One area that Michael has been helping me work on is health. And so, a couple of rules were put in place. One had to do with exercise and the other had to do with water consumption.

The exercise rule is still in place, though it continues to morph and change over time. He was very lenient with me at first because he didn’t want me to overdo it and end up hurting myself, which has happened in the past. But as time has gone on he’s required more of me because I’m capable of more.

The water rule is null and void. Well actually it’s not totally gone, but it has been shelved for now. I’d been doing quite well with the water rule, which was basically just that I had to drink a certain amount of water daily, until the week of my procedure. And that week I really slacked off, some days not drinking any water. Because of the circumstances Michael expressed his displeasure and told me that he expected me to get back on track, but he didn’t punish me. As of today it has been two weeks since I’ve had any soda. Wait, what does that have to do with my water rule? I was a soda junkie. I would cut back to one small can a day, but then invariably a day would come along that I really wanted another and so I’d have two that day and then two the next day and the day after that. And then along would come a day that I really wanted a third and so I’d have three that day and three the next day and the day after. And I think you can see how things would go. At some point I’d be drinking way too much soda every day and not much of anything else. Not good. But, now that I’ve completely cut soda out, I’m drinking healthier beverages, including a lot of water (more than my requirement). And so, the rule seemed a bit silly and unnecessary.  However, I am to let Michael know if my water consumption starts to slip again and then I imagine the rule will be taken out, dusted off and put back into place.

Then there’s the rule about my hair. The rule was that I wasn’t allowed to get it cut without Michael’s permission. My husband prefers my hair long and the rule was in place so that he wouldn’t come home to find that I’d had several inches cut off, something that had happened in the past. I never disobeyed this rule and he also never told me that I couldn’t get it cut, though he would specify how much I could get cut off. And then a couple of weeks ago, he decided to let me get it cut however I wanted. He knew I was feeling very anxious about the medical procedure I needed to have and he knew I’d been wanting to get my hair cut short and he wanted to give me something to look forward to, instead of just dreading the medical stuff. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but honestly, it was HUGE! You don’t even want to know what he told me the punishment would be for breaking the hair rule, so I know it was very important to him. And yet, here he was allowing me to get my hair cut short. I wasn’t breaking the rule, I had his permission. Where this rule stands now, I’m not sure actually. He seems to genuinely like how my hair is now. In his words “I wouldn’t pick it, but it’s really cute.” In other words, he’d still prefer it long, but he does think this shorter style is cute on me. And that makes me happy. I was afraid that he wouldn’t like it. Anyway, I suppose this rule is still in place, because he hasn’t said otherwise. But we haven’t really talked about it since I got my hair cut short either. I guess I’ll see what happens when I tell him that it needs a trim. I’d like to keep it short through the summer and into the fall and I think he’ll be fine with that. But come late fall/early winter I wonder if he’ll want me to start growing it out again. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now I’m just going to enjoy the shorter style and have fun playing with it and enjoy the breeze on my neck.

Some of our rules have remained the same over time. For instance, I’m not allowed to say that my husband doesn’t love me. That was one of our very first rules and one that hasn’t changed a bit and I don’t see changing in the future either.  It used to be a bad habit of mine, but rarely is a problem anymore.  If I say it now it likely means that we're a bit out of sync and I'm feeling it and expressing it.

One of the great things about ttwd is that we can customize it to fit us and our relationship and rules are a part of that.  As we grow and change some rules remain the same, giving a sense of stability, while others change to suit our current circumstances and concerns.

I’m curious, what has the evolution of rules looked like for you? Have you found that some of the rules have changed over time? Did some become unnecessary after awhile? Have new rules come in where old ones left off? Are there some that you’ve had awhile that you don't see changing anytime soon?

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