Be careful who you ask to define the Golden Rule. You might hear, “The person with the gold makes the rules!”. Any smart husband or wife would never define it as such, so let’s go with the more universal (and reasonable) definition of: “treat others how you want to be treated”. This is a good rule to live by no matter what age, grade, job, relationship, or season of life you find yourself in. The Golden Rule is a good baseline in developing empathy and selflessness.
Would it surprise you to hear there is a better rule to live by in your marriage?
Allow me to break down the Golden Rule and how it would relate to your relationship. There are obvious things like yelling, name calling, or buying a pet rat that you may not desire, therefore, you do not do those things to your partner. But, let’s take a more common situation like morning interactions.
Some people enjoy the morning and some not so much. If you enjoy lively conversation and meaningful touch in the morning you may be apt to this with your partner. Now, if your partner prefers silence and time to warm up in the mornings then they may not respond well to your engagement. I know this is a trivial example, so I’m sure you can come up with one that is a better fit for your relationship. You see, the Golden Rule only works when your partner wants to be treated the way you want to be treated. Otherwise, you could be missing the mark in loving them best.
Here’s where the Platinum Rule shines brighter.
The focus of the Golden Rule is about how you would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule, however, is focused on how your partner wants to be treated. First established by Dr. Tony Alessandra, the Platinum Rule means that loving your spouse is less about what you want to give and more about what they want to receive. The tough part is that it takes a deliberate effort to discover your partners needs and desires. No need to fret if this is a new concept for you. A great starting place is the book 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Once you know what your partner wants then you can proceed loving them best.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
This next level rule is only for those who have put the time and effort into getting to know every aspect about their partner – and who have the courage to take on such a task. This is called the Double Platinum Rule. Built upon the Platinum Rule, the Double Platinum Rule says you treat people the way they do not even know they want to be treated. I’m not suggesting you jump into this with your partner flippantly. This can be a high risk, high reward tactic, so tread lightly. In certain situations doing this may cause you to come off as presumptuous or selfish. However, anticipating and meeting a need before your partner realizes they need it can reap major brownie points.
Good luck! Do not be dismayed if you struggle with implementing this. If you need a little more help understanding and communicating with your partner, Amy Wine Counseling is here to help! Call us at 832-421-8714 or email us to book an appointment.