Your most important relationship is changing all the time.
Even if it feels like it’s stagnant
or if it’s been around for decades.
A relationship never stays exactly the same because with every interaction and every conversation, the relationship becomes a tiny bit better or a tiny bit worse.
The problem is that sometimes because the changes happen in these tiny ways, you may not even notice it.
When I was a girl, one of my Dad’s favorite expressions was to remind my brother and me of the Golden Rule. You know: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
I am sure he believed that neither of us could possibly behave the way we did if we thought about that. (We could and did!)
I wish my Dad could have lived long enough to see the Platinum Rule come alive in our culture – he would have loved it. And no, I don’t mean the one from the “How I Met Your Mother” TV show!
The Platinum Rule makes the Golden Rule much more relationship friendly because it takes into account the other person’s desires. That makes it more empathic and more sensitive and much more likely to have big impact.
The Platinum Rule says:
Do Unto Others As They Would Like Done Unto Them.
While I still believe whole heartedly in the Golden Rule as a means of teaching empathy to children, the Platinum Rule is going to do you a world of good in your relationships.
Because not everyone wants to be treated a certain way. Your partner may NOT want to be treated the way you would want to be treated in a similar situation.
For example, when you have had a hard day at work, you may want sympathy and to talk it all out. Your partner may want time alone to process what happened internally.
If you treat your partner according to the Golden Rule instead of the Platinum one, you are setting yourself up for stress and a negative interaction.
Practicing the Platinum Rule requires deliberate effort to uncover the other person’s wants, needs and desires. It doesn’t work if you are guessing based on your own perspective.
You must look carefully at the other person in your relationship and observe non-judgmentally to find what makes them feel good. You might even ask them!
There is a series of popular books called The Five Love Languages and the premise of the books is that you must uncover the language by which the other person “speaks love” and communicate in that way. Exactly what I mean – treat that person the way he or she wants to be treated!
Here’s how shifting your behavior towards your partner in a way that reflects his or her desires can make a difference…
My clients Mike and Rebecca were struggling to get along. Both were busy working professionals, but Rebecca thought Mike wasn’t paying enough attention to her.
Poor Mike had a long list of what he was doing for Rebecca including cooking, errands, repairs and more in an effort to show her she mattered. He couldn’t understand why Rebecca felt neglected.
Once the two of them were able to listen to each other better, Mike discovered that Rebecca really just wanted some alone time with him and didn’t care that much about all the chores he was doing.
This new information turned their relationship around as both were happier very quickly.
By approaching the other person in your relationships with empathy and the intention of meeting their needs, you create interactions that each bring you a tiny bit closer to each other.
Over time, by attending to the Platinum Rule, you can change the course of the entire relationship.
All those tiny positive interactions between the two of you – ones that actually land and feel positive to your partner – will lead to a stronger and happier relationship.
Where can you use the Platinum Rule in your relationships? Leave your ideas for us in the comments