I have been thinking about rules lately…We have rules…But they’re more like expectations.
On the up side, rules provide the comfort and security that comes with structure. They create a clear view of what is expected and what is not acceptable. Rules are about encouraging desired behaviors and discouraging unwanted ones. They exist for a purpose and there are definite consequences to breaking them, which is part of what contributes to the security they provide--the fact that someone is willing to enforce them makes all the difference in the world.
On the downside, rules give you something to push back against, something to challenge in order to find out exactly how firm the line is and what you can get away with.
Expectations on the other hand, give you something to live up to. For me, Alpha's disappointment is the worst punishment (lets ignore the existence of those evil little clamps...). Striving to meet expectations helps to avoid that disappointment.
Expectations don't give you something to challenge and push against--they give you the inspiration to do as expected, and the desire to please by living up to them.
I used to feel differently about rules. I thought that numerous and firm rules were important to our dynamic. And maybe at the time, they were. But now? For us, the rules and expectations seem to have blended into one and the same. Either way, the consequences are still there, even more reliably so. And isn't that one of the things that matters most about rules and expectations--that the person submitting strives to follow and meet them, and the person laying down the law enforces them when necessary and acknowledges success and failure, thereby further solidifying the relationship and it's dynamic?