Relationship Rules

Our church had a plethora of problems moving into a more permanent space in Newington, CT. The Zoning and Planning office had giving us no end of grief with regulations—some I think contrived—and rules which cost us hours of labor and over $15,000 in architectural drawing fees.

When we finally moved into our current space, they refused to give us a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) because our bathroom sign was “too high.” I asked if I could move it and they said, “No,” but rather would have to schedule a follow-up inspection. (Great use of taxpayer $.)

I moved the sign down 6” or so and they came back. After they gave me the CO, I asked the inspector, “So, may I ask, respectfully, why did we need to lower that sign.” “Obviously,” he said, “so that a blind person in a wheelchair can read the braille.” “Hmmm,” I replied, “What about the ambulatory blind person who now can’t find the sign—let alone the braille—since it’s now down around his knees?” “I don’t make the rules,” he retorted, “I just enforce them.”

Wow…and we want the government to handle our healthcare?!

Ah, but lest I digress into a political diatribe, let’s ask, “What does this have to do with marriage and relationships?”


As couples, we have rules in our relationships. Some of them written or at least clearly stated–others, just “understood.” For example, there are normally “rules” about who mows the lawn or who does dinner dishes, who pays the bills, and who does the grocery shopping, etc.

These things are necessary. Without clarity on who’s responsible for what, there can be chaos. Still, like our government, some of us like to add rules on top of the necessary rules–creating a minefield of potential problems.

My advice to couples is that rules in a relationship are like budgets or bed sheets. They are important, but need to be changed from time to time. That’s why I suggest having an open, regular discussions about these things with a constant openness and flexibility toward adjustments.

For example, a job and travel schedule change might necessitate a change in responsibilities at home. The point is to be flexible and help each other through it! The question to ask is, “Does this rule need to be maintained or am I resistant to change due to a lack of personal comfort?” If it’s for personal comfort, maybe let it go… Rules are supposed to provide support, not hindrance to your marriage…as long as they’re functioning that way–you’re in good shape!

Having a balance of structure and freedom is the key…


To that end,

Pastor Joel

1 thought on “Relationship Rules”

  1. At the risk of sounding old (Too late)

    there was a time when? Boys actually had to have respect none of this funny business like we see going on in today’s society, Potential boyfriends met with the father, They had “The Talk” which
    included asking where they are going tonight? Then came the rules

    * show my daughter a good time

    * have her home by curfew

    * Keep your hands off

    Old fashioned? yep, But we’d have far fewer knuckleheads running around if we just followed the way our parents, grandparents, Great grandparents, Aunts/Uncles did it back in the day

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