Monday, October 12, 2015

House Rules: Leave Right

House Rules.

Twenty-seven years ago when Ted and I were just engaged, we attended a seminar at our college where the speaker was a psychologist who told stories about relationships and communication. Something pretty good for young adults planning on marriage to attend, right? 

I don’t remember what we thought it would help us with the most. I think we had pictured lecture style outlines about savvy points for conflict management, communication do’s and don’ts, and the like.

I don’t think I took notes. There were no outlines. Only stories.

And the one point we remember most was….leave right.

I don’t recall all the proper details, but the gist of the story was that this white bearded sage, trained in his profession, had had stiff words with his wife and sauntered off to bed, leaving her to stew in her easy chair. Upon waking the following morning, he at first thought she’d been quite angry to not have come to bed at all, when instead, she’d passed away in her sleep right where he’d left her. He went on to talk about making peace and parting well and its importance in relationships.

Leave right. Part well.

That story resonated with Ted and I. Our families had always pretty much hugged each other good-bye upon parting. But we were at the threshold of setting up our house rules. We were on the verge of starting our own traditions. And not being the quiet acquiescing type of personalities, we agreed that when disagreements arose, we’d never stomp off, leave, and part without some effort to say words of agreement to forgive. Though at times those words were only, “I love you dear, but I sure don’t like you right now.” We agreed to give each other space when upset, but not so much space that allowed for soured parting as much as it was up to us.

When we leave for trips, we gather in a circle, or reach back to link hands with the kids in the back seat and pray. Even our grown children offer each other a parting hug or kiss. I love that. 

Start well. Leave well.

And put the rest in His hands.


Do you have house rules in your family?
Please share!
How do your children take your "house rules" to heart?

Addendum: Forty-five minutes after I posted this last Monday, I received news of the premature death of a dear friend's thirty year old son. He died suddenly the day after he'd celebrated his 30th birthday with his friends and family, and then flew to Mexico with his expectant wife for a vacation. Please. Take every moment as a sacred possibility, and every parting as a promise to keep holding on well, even if you don't "feel it" in the moment. Please pray for my dear friend and beta-reader and her family during the days ahead.
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. Our two children are grown and married. I still tell them I love them when they leave to go to their homes. My husband grew up in a non-affectionate home. He still cannot tell our kids, especially our son, that he loves them. They know he does, but it would be nice for him to say it. I keep encouraging him to do so and maybe one day he will.

    1. Don't give up encouraging him Gail. Sometimes the language of love has to be learned. It may never feel natural to him. But that doesn't mean it's not necessary. I'm glad you keep on telling them. I hope he finds other ways to send his message to them.


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