The Four Rules
for a Successful Marriage

The Rule of Care | The Rule of Protection | The Rule of Honesty
The Rule of Time

Couples usually ask for my advice when they are just about ready to throw in the towel. Their Love Banks have been losing >love units so long that they are now deeply in the red. And their negative Love Bank accounts make them feel very uncomfortable just being in the same room with each other. They cannot imagine surviving marriage for another year, let alone ever being in love again.

But that is my goal for them -- to be in love again -- which means they must re-deposit all of the love units that were withdrawn. When that's accomplished, the love they feel for each other ends the threat of divorce. But in order to deposit enough love units to fall in love with each other, they must follow rules that they don't feel like following.

The feeling of love brings out the Giver in each of us, and the Giver's instincts make marriages great. We feel like meeting the emotional needs of the one we love; we feel like protecting that person from our Love Busters; we feel like giving our undivided attention, and we feel like being open and honest. But when we are not in love, and our Taker calls the shots, we don't feel like doing any of those things. In fact, we feel like doing the opposite. That's why so many marriages become so painful when love is lost. It's because all of the ways that they used to care for each other are a faint memory when there is no love to inspire them. The love and care once shown is replaced by neglect and thoughtlessness. Who would want to be married under those conditions?

The Giver's instincts deposit love units, but the Taker's instincts withdraw them. When you are in love, the Giver keeps a marriage passionate. But even under ideal conditions love can be lost momentarily, and when that happens the Taker can do things to ruin any hope of love returning.

So I have created four rules to override the destructive tendencies of the Taker. These rules, which are instinctive to the Giver, deposit the love units that marriages need so badly in order to survive, and prevent any further withdrawals. At first, when a husband and wife do not love each other, they are very difficult to follow, because the Taker resists them at every turn. But if they can be followed long enough for love to be restored, the Taker gives way to the Giver, and the rules become very easy to follow. In fact, when in love, spouses find them to be very logical and natural.

Almost all social rules and laws are made to help people consider the feelings of others. They are not needed when people feel like being considerate, they are needed when people are tempted to be thoughtless. A speed limit is a good example. For those who drive safely, the speed laws are not necessary. It's only for those who are tempted to travel at a speed that endangers the lives of others that we need to enforce a limit. My four rules are made to help couples care for each other when they don't feel like caring. That's when couples need them the most.

Keeping in mind the purpose of each of

More on the
Four Rules
these four rules, to deposit love units and avoid withdrawing them, they are designed to prime the pump, so to speak. They deposit love units even though a couple does not feel like depositing them, and they avoid their withdrawal even though a couple feels like withdrawing them. But after a couple deposits enough love units into the Love Bank by following the rules, the pump is primed, and it's easy for a couple to continue following them.

The first rule for a successful marriage:
The Rule of Care

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