Since when does Love have to abide by rules? Most of our romantic stories are about how potential lovers break the rules in order to couple. Sadly enough for anarchists, everything we do has rules, from how we eat to how we operate within society. And the best story is always about life on the edge, where someone takes on the rules and overcomes them. Rules can come from anywhere, but the two big sources are from nature and mankind.
What exactly is a rule? It’s a statement regarding our behavior, telling us what to do and sometimes even how to do it. It’s a statement that’s almost always true, such as not walking naked on city streets. Rules are necessary because it helps us know what others are going to do. It keeps us from getting unpleasant surprises.
In fact, it’s that ability to help us predict other people’s actions that makes rules necessary. We need them to create a social order that helps everyone else know what to expect. Does this mean we can’t be creative or fun? Of course not, in fact the fun comes about from working within those boundaries, and occasionally breaking the rules in non-threatening ways.
There are six rules of Love that rise ‘above’ all others. Since these rules are above the rest, I’m going to call them meta-rules. The first two meta-rules are about the rules themselves. These two meta-rules give us the forest view before we start venturing closer to look at individual trees.
Metarule 1: There are many many rules, but these six stay the same. Rules exist, and there’s a lot of them. Some of them belong to the world, some to our nation, some to our ethnic background, some to our community, some to our age group, our school, our gang, our workplace, and our family. Of all these rules, there are only these six meta-rules that are the same for all couples, everywhere, throughout all time. The second type of rule is what we can call ‘regular’ rules, and they will vary between people, time, location, and many other factors.
Metarule 2: Regular rules can change, frequently; and they vary between people, time, location, and other factors. Finding and learning about these regular rules is our great personal challenge. Regular rules include the do’s and don’ts of your spouse, your kids, your neighborhood, your tribe, and your nation. There is no way to talk about these without taking up many pages, so we won’t worry about them here. They are up to you to find. It’s what makes love fun and challenging. Some mesh, some don’t, and you must sort them out. It’s easier on you if your partner comes from a similar background, so that many rules are the same and there’s less chance for conflict. On the other hand, many times it’s the dynamic nature of learning new rules, creating your own, and being creative within those rules that gives couples joy.
The next two meta-rules are about the ideals and the goals we try to attain along the way. In order to properly differentiate them, an ideal is something that is always there to strive towards, but may never be reached. An ideal represents perfection. Since the only way for us to know if we really had Love is to be in love until death, reaching our ideal can only be confirmed once one of us dies. It’s a tough standard, but that’s why it’s a big deal. A goal on the other hand is something smaller, something that doesn’t require someone to die first. Goals can be big themselves, like starting a family, or being married for twenty years, but once you reach it another one can take its place. And for those who are more ambitious, there can be many goals at the same time.
Metarule 3: There is only one ideal, and it exists a lifetime away. Focus on this one ideal, and head for it. It takes courage to commit to a lifetime achievement. It’s a commitment that’s longer than buying a car or a house. A greater decision can’t be made, yet there are more books and advice on investing in a car or house than making this lifetime choice. It may be a testament to how many couplings fail, and part of the reason may be that we don’t take the decision seriously enough. It also requires the kind of person who is willing to commit their life – a giving sort of person. Are we a more selfish society that no longer wants to give our lifetime away? Perhaps, but it also means that we may sacrifice the knowledge that can only come from a lifetime of Love. Is it the same kind of person who is willing to die for the other, someone who will stand with you when your own back is against the wall? I’m not sure about that either, but it may be worth looking into.
Metarule 4: Many goals can be achieved along the way: happiness, fun, offspring, even wealth. All goals are secondary to the ideal, but can be wonderful benchmarks of Love in themselves. Goals can be great and natural, like having children; and they can be great and created, like sailing across the ocean together. Goals can be modest, such as tending a garden or painting a room. The goals themselves aren’t important. What’s critical is that the couple has goals, and accomplishes them together. A couple without goals can’t survive, because the relationship will have no reason to work, and like muscles that atrophy because they are never moved, the relationship will wither. Similarly, a couple that has goals yet doesn’t actually accomplish them together will also find themselves with an unhealthy relationship. Wealthy couples often become bored with each other because their ‘goals’ are accomplished for them by others. Their wealth may save them pain and time, but that is exactly what a healthy relationship needs to survive and grow.
The next two meta-rules are all about conflicts, situations where the two of you look at the world so differently that friction develops. Keep these in mind and it will help reduce that friction, and help to put you into an ‘agree to disagree’ frame of mind. Nothing will eliminate conflict or friction, but you can learn to deal with both of them in healthy ways.
Metarule 5: Nothing matters except the couple; you give up your ‘right’ to individualism once you agree to pursue Love. Wealth, children, even happiness are second. It is the ultimate foundation to the rest of your life. Lay the foundation correctly, and it’s very likely that all your goals can be achieved. We will discuss this in more detail in a future chapter regarding teamwork. It’s also important to remember that you and your child comprise a couple in Love, touched upon in Chapter 12.
Metarule 6: There is no reward for being right in matters of love. On the other hand, if the survival of the family depends on picking the right camping spot, then it’s a different matter entirely. It’s not love at stake, but survival. But if it’s something that may only impact your income stream, it’s not survival, but altering your perspectives on love.
In conclusion, it’s likely that you may ask why is there no ‘rule’ about fidelity, or many of the other things that we consider incredibly important to long term relationships. Rules like fidelity are regular rules, because it’s possible to still achieve Love even though one partners hurts the other. There is no doubt that such actions hurt the relationship, and that at some point enough pain causes the bonds of Love to break. Are there secret rules that somehow guarantee success? Absolutely not. Once the existence of rules is accepted, then you must commit to learning those rules and working within their boundaries.