My husband and I have worked together since before we were a couple. A lot of people who meet us think, “Wow! I could never do that with my spouse. We’d kill each other!”
That’s OK. It’s good that they know that. And I would say they are in the majority.
In our case, our relationship suffers when we ARE NOT working together in our “professional lives” or on some cool project that may not be part of business. Truly, I love this about us.
Still, there are times, when we are having a conversation and maybe we’re tired, or maybe we’re stressed, or maybe one of us is just mentally not 100% present… but one of us will say a thing, (maybe it’s not WHAT we say, but the WAY we say it) that makes the other one think, “Why is s/he being a dick?”
This happened the other day. Jason said something that bothered me in this way. I paused the conversation and called him out. We put our “real topic” on hold for a few moments while we worked it out. It was very calm. And it only took a few minutes to communicate and understand each other’s points of view. As we were wrapping up, Jason asked me, “Is there some kind of ‘safe word’ that you can say or I can say when something like this happens? When one of us thinks the other one is acting like a dick?”
I thought for a moment. And then I said, “Let’s just say, ‘Dick.'”
We both cracked up.
To do it justice, we say it in a monotone, almost under-our-breath kind of way — gives it better delivery and makes it funnier.
OK, I will admit, these days, we are overusing this tool in cases where it’s not really needed because we think it’s so funny. But, in defense of that, using our new “safe word” before it’s really needed, brings humor and perspective early and often. That’s a good thing!