Every game follows a set of rules. And chaos and indecision are the result without these set boundaries to play within. Clear rules of engagement give us the freedom and power to make meaningful decisions as we find our way forward throughout life.  

To be sure, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to play a game without some guidelines to direct the course of our actions. Even when they’re loose and evolving, rules put us all on the same page – knowing what to expect from each other and freeing us to enjoy our time together.

For instance, when kids make up a game together, they start by first setting the expectations and clearly defining what’s permissible and what’s not. These might be revised from time to time, but there’s no playtime together without first negotiating these rules of engagement.

And this remains true throughout our life and relationships.

For example, from our first date onward, we start defining the rules of engagement for our marriage. Some of these require explicit conversations, while many others are simply the unspoken patterns that come to define our dance together.

Friendship and parenting follow a similar suit. Whether conscious or not, there are instructions playing out in the background of how we treat each other.

Likewise, every community has its own rules of engagement as well. Some things are permitted while others are not, but there remains some collective agreement on our rubric for living 

Whatever it looks like, we need some shared understanding of how to conduct ourselves to enjoy a meaningful relationship with each other. We’re merely coexisting in the same space otherwise.

In the end, the game of life requires you to follow the rules. You can’t do whatever you want and still have a meaningful relationship with others. Seek to understand and obey the rules of engagement to enjoy your life and relationships to the full.  

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

Leave a Reply