What tools/tricks help make your relationship work?

Emily and I have been together now for almost 11 years. Over that time we’ve developed a motley assortment of “relationship tools.” That’s how I like to think of them, anyway. These tools help us communicate, resolve things, and stay organized. It sounds super campy and cheeseball but we’ve made up different tools like “Truth Serum” and “Lo Lists” and “Tug Boat/Cruise Ship” to name a handful. And they honestly are extremely useful. I’ll explain “Truth Serum” so that you get the idea.

So in the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic “True Lies,” at one point in the movie secret agent Arnold and his wife are captured and Arnold gets injected with a truth serum drug. The truth serum renders Arnold incapable of lying. The bad guys plan to interrogate him in this altered state. (But surprise! Arnold escapes and kills all the terrorists!)

The point is… In the movie, truth serum is potent, fast-acting, and irresistible (not even the Governator can fight off the effects.) So as a real-life relationship tool, truth serum works like this: “Em, would you mind if I didn’t come with you to that work thing next week? Truth serum!” Boom. Em’s been injected with truth serum and can ONLY tell the 100% truth. The response might be, “Truth serum? I kinda did want you to be there.” Or it could be, “Truth serum? It’s fine if you’d rather not come.”

The power of truth serum comes from two main places. 1) If you use it, it means that you actually do want the 100% truth. And there’s an unstated guarantee that you won’t be angry or go after the other person, no matter what the answer is. It’s a tool, not a weapon. You use it to get on the same page with your partner. You can’t truth serum someone and then be all “Ah! I knew it! You’re terrible!” Do that and it will never work again. 2) If you’re injected, you HAVE TO tell the full truth. If I’m asking about that work thing and Em says it’s fine for me not to come, I need to be able to trust that it really is fine. Em isn’t telling me it’s fine so that she can hold it against me later that I didn’t show. Getting “truth serum-ed” actually feels good because it’s an opportunity for you to make yourself fully heard. This is powerful even if your answer is “Truth serum? I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.” It’s powerful even if you don’t get “your way” in the end, too. Somehow just being heard makes a big difference.

That’s our quirky tool. But I know that other people have tools and tricks and strategies (even if they don’t name them) for making relationships work. I’m curious to know what’s helped you!

Source: WBQ Original

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