When There are No Rules

April 7, 2010

Chris is reading a great book called Becoming a Dad, and he’s been sharing a bit with me here and there. Mostly, we talk about the kind of parents we want to be, or how we’ll handle certain situations.

One thing he mentioned has stuck with me, though. He said that the book asks readers to think about the way they were raised and to see if they fit into one of four categories: Loved and got what they wanted, loved and didn’t get what they wanted, not loved and got what they wanted, not loved and didn’t get what they wanted.

Chris and I both fall in the “loved and didn’t get what they wanted” category, but in different ways. Chris didn’t get everything he wanted, but he feels that he also was also given a lot without having to work for it. I, on the other hand, feel that I didn’t get everything I wanted, and that everything I wanted, I had to work for. In a big family like mine, there simply wasn’t another option.

The authors of the Becoming a Dad argue that adults who are raised feeling loved and not getting everything they want tend to want to just figure out the “rules” of life, and then follow the rules. That is so true for me.

Lately, I wish more than ever that someone would just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it. But there don’t seem to be rules for where Chris and I are at in our lives or in our marriage. No one has told us how to handle the kinds of challenges that are coming our way. I’m honestly not sure how we could have prepared better than we did — other than choosing careers that are immune to economic ups and downs.

How do you navigate life when there aren’t rules to follow? Today, I was reminded to reach out, so that’s what I am doing here. Please feel free to share your story in the comments. And advice is always welcome. 🙂

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