EducationPremarital Counseling Tip #6

Craig Toonder, MFT. Oakland Couples Counseling

Premarital Counseling Tip #6


Premarital Tip #6: The Platinum Rule


For the final tip in this Premarital Counseling series, I’d like to discourage the use of age old advise … The Golden Rule –


“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


While there is obviously wisdom in this, and I could still present arguments for its use in relationships, I want to point out a basic flaw in its philosophy. If you remember from Premarital Counseling Gift #4, couples need to build an owner’s manual of each other so that they know how to “operate” each other. Instead, I suggest couples follow the Platinum Rule –


“Do unto others as they would want you to do unto them.”


Now granted, you could argue that the Golden Rule can be applied to the Platinum Rule, but then you’d be arguing “details”. Arguing over details is a prime example of the type of deadly trap couples fall into all the time. (Bonus Tip Example: It doesn’t matter if someone was 15 minutes late or 8 minutes late for a date. What matters is how you two feel about each other when “lateness” shows up in the relationship.)


How to apply the Platinum Rule in your relationship:

One of the most enjoyable ways to implement the Platinum Rule is by figuring out what makes our partner feel the most loved or appreciated. Gary Chapman wrote a straight forward and enjoyable book on this topic called The Five Love Languages, How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. I have recommended this book to several couples to help them learn about each other. Its primary goal is to help them become more efficient in helping each other feel fulfilled and cherished in their relationship. In Chapman’s model he breaks down people’s preference for how they receive love into the following:


  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Touch


Talk to each other tonight. Find out if you two really know how to make each other feel special. See if you even know for your self and what you truly want from a relationship. Try to determine if you clearly communicate these needs to each other and, if so, how you can better communicate these needs. Couples in premarital counseling or couples therapy are often quite surprised to find that their “innocent” requests can come across as harsh criticisms to their partners.



  • Don’t assume your Other likes what you like. (See Premarital Gift Blog #3 on differentiation.)
  • Let your partner know she/he got it right by making them feel special for making you feel special. (Art of Appreciation: By consciously sharing appreciation back and forth and from the heart, positive feelings get amplified between two people.)
  • Don’t assume that what works in one situation will work in all situations. Continue to learn about and refine your understanding of each other.



I hoped you enjoyed the Premarital Counseling Series. Help spread the word. If you know someone who would benefit from this series, please forward this information along.