Agree on the Ground Rules

I’m a fun person and people tend to appreciate my sense of humor (at least I think they do…but now I’m afraid to ask :-)). But I am NOT a fan of practical jokes.

Photo By Lenore Edman via

On April 1st Sally and I were chatting about the fact that it was April Fool’s Day. I said, “I won’t be doing any April Fool’s Jokes today. I don’t do practical jokes because I don’t want to be on the receiving end.” She said, “I love that about you.”

The Ground Rules

One things that all couples need to consider is what are the ground rules? Throughout any marriage you will frequently encounter the same situations, or at least ones of a similar nature. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

With what family will we spend holidays?
How much money will we give, save and spend?
Where will we go to church? Will we go to church?
Do we tease each other? How far is too far in teasing?
How much time do we spend together? How much time do we spend alone?

That’s just the beginning.

Why is This Important?

Sometimes when couples have difficulty it’s often not one large issue. It’s a hundred little things that drive couples apart. It's a hundred little things that drive couples apart. Click To TweetThose hundred little things are the result of differences in expectations. When my wife expects one thing in my behavior and I do something else she experiences disappointment or emotional pain. If I pick on her to where I still think it’s funny but to her it is belittling then we have a disconnect. Why does this happen? Why do we have different expectations? Because in one or more areas we haven’t established ground rules.

Moving Towards a Happier Marriage

Sally has an expectation that I won’t play any practical jokes on her. I know that and I will meet that expectation. I follow the ground rules. Over the years some ground rules have been specifically defined (such as where we spend holidays), some are understood based on our knowledge of each other and many have adjusted. Ground rules may be tweaked as necessary but only as long as both of us are in agreement. A happy marriage includes adherence to the ground rules. A happy marriage includes adherence to the ground rules. Click To Tweet

When you find yourselves in conflict over an issue then it’s time to ask, “What are the ground rules?” If you don’t have them for this situation then it’s time to work them out.

Love you all!


  • David Mike

    We don’t practical joke each other. It’s not worth it.

    • Troy

      Amen my friend! I have known couples who don’t agree on the ground rules they are either divorced or one of them is miserable. Thanks for commenting!