I had never heard of an individual constitution until one evening in our marriage group one of the husbands mention that he created a constitution for himself before he was married. I thought, “wow!! what a great idea.” He was being proactive instead of reactive. He was setting boundaries and priorities for himself. After that evening I started looking up individual constitutions to see if anyone else had the same idea. I found several bloggers who had created family constitutions. My husband and I had previously discussed doing a mission statement for our family or a list of rules that we don’t want in our home.
A family constitution is a formal document that sets out the values, responsibilities, and core beliefs of that family. It can even provide plans and structures to deal with situations that arise during conflict. It is a contract that your family agrees is the ideal way you want your household to run. The family constitution defines the leadership structure, for example, God – Parents – Children. It also provides tools for success, informs communication, and gives conflict resolution guidelines. Finally, it can clearly identify the family’s long-term goals.
What do you want your family to value? What are your family’s core beliefs and values? Here are several reasons you might consider making a family constitution.
It Will Lay The Groundwork For Tough Decisions
All of us make tough decisions in the heat of the moment.
It’s easy to make judgments based on emotion, which is why a predetermined family constitution can help during tough times. Through developing an effective constitution, your family will have already identified the core beliefs on which critical decisions will be made.
You Can Create Boundaries Based On The Gospel
Family constitutions can be bound by God. Businesses have a code of conduct so why not have a set of boundaries for your family to follow? Equally, your family constitution can lay out how you want your family to influence others outside your home. Your family can choose to follow Christ, not culture.
Build Peace And Harmony In The Home
Your family constitution is developed by the family as a whole, minus the little ones. Ideas are brainstormed and opinions are shared. When consensus is reached, it’s done so with unity. Members of the family learn together through a participative process. The resulting document is a representation of agreement and harmony.
Establish Rules Around Conflict
Conflict is a normal part of life, especially with children. However, long-term conflict that is not dealt with can have devastating consequences. You should have a plan in place to deal with conflict for your family. No family constitution can prevent conflict entirely, but it can provide a roadmap to successfully manage and resolve conflicts in a constructive way.
How We Constructed A Family Constitution
1. First, we started by taking a piece of paper and jotting down ideas and rules we want for the family. Our son helped with this part. If you have older kids they will enjoy this, especially if you have a rule follower.
2. After we spent a week randomly writing ideas on paper I started writing a draft on Canva.com a free design website. I showed my husband the first draft and asked him to add or take away what he wanted. He fixed some mistakes and added some new things. He didn’t like the color or the style. He suggested putting it on vintage paper to make it look more like the American Constitution.
3. Next I sent the final draft to a local print shop. They had a cool vintage-looking paper that they used and made is 16x20in.
4. I decided I wanted to make it more aged so I burned the edges and added some antique spray. Be careful when burning the edges. This paper burned faster then the plain printer paper.
5. My husband, our son, and I signed the constitution. The girls are too young to sign or understand so they can sign it when they get older.
6. I have a wax seal stamper from our wedding. It has an M for Marabella. We used it to seal our wedding invitations. I took rose gold hot glue and stamped the seal below our signatures.
7. The last step was framing the constitution. My husband suggested putting it in a cool antique frame, but the ones I found were more money than I wanted to spend. Instead, I bought a gold frame from Amazon and painted it to look antique. I could have left it as is but I didn’t like the yellow hues of this frame. I took some metallic rose gold acrylic paint and painted the whole frame. Then I took a metallic acrylic gold and painted the center. Lastly, I sprayed it with the antique finishing spray.