6.1 The Skill

It helps to have your own personal version of Morse Code. When you are in a public setting, and things are going awry, it is handy to have agreed upon signals to cast across the room.
It could be a certain kind of sneeze, or a well worn joke, or a pet name. The message you want to covey can vary as well. You may want to be able to stop a wayward conversation in its tracks. Perhaps you honey is talking about something confidential, and does not realize it.
In any case, you can talk ahead of time about how to get the other person's attention in a subtle way without scarring anyone.
Another time for a secret code is when the two of you are alone, but spiraling out of bounds. For awhile we used the precise sound that Wiley Coyote made when he was falling over a cliff, and crashed at the bottom of the canyon. For us it was a reminder of a quote we love.
"In the presence of true married love, evil spirits cast themselves over the deep and perish."
When John and I get sucked into an argument with no positive outcome insight, one of us might remember and make that fall-and-crash sound. Then we can both smile and step out of the quicksand.
Talk together about what situation you feel needs a life raft, and a way to rescue your relationship when it happens.


6.2- The Quote

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 71



6.3 The Story 

Spelling is easier than it used to be. 

Not because the occurrences of obstreperous spellings have diminished, but because of the handy little red line that appears when we make a mistake. I appreciate that there is no penalty for trying, and even repeated failures. It is different with my ATM card, that yells at me when I mess up three times and snatches my card away. Probably the teller that gets minimum wage for screening hours of mundane interactions gets a good laugh and tells his friends about the lame lady who cannot remember her PIN. That happened to me in Paris. I cringe to think of them mocking me in French. 
But with computers you have a forgiving advocate hiding beneath the keys who nonchalantly brings small errors to your attention immediately, so you can actually redeem yourself before you click on send or worse yet, print. 
You are not an unprecedented jerk. You simply cannot figure out the minutiae of vowels and prefixes that take inordinate delight in fooling you. Hence the handiness of the spell checker. 
A couple we know came up with a similar scheme for routine interrelational faux paus. 
It does not even get a capital letter because it is supposed to be said surreptitiously, not announced. 
When one of you says something that causes the other discomfort, the appropriate response is "ouch." It does not heap shame and revenge on the speaker, it simply underlines the words, giving him or her a chance to amend them.  
I am grateful for the spell checker that redirected me approximately seventeen times in this short diatribe, perhaps convincing you that I can indeed spell proficiently. 
I am equally grateful to John, who quietly gives me another opportunity to speak kindly. 


6.4- Activity with Your Children

Children love codes, and secret messages. Play a game of whisper down the lane, or make a treasure hunt. Talk about how God is sending us on a treasure hunt to find happiness, and a good marriage. Practice talking in Pig Latin, or try a


6.5- The Prayer

Dear Lord,

In theory I believe that you are sending me messages every day... in the breaking of day on a dark landscape, in the songs of the birds outside my window, in the laughter of my children as they splash in the bathroom. Even the burned toast is a message if I let it be... to remember to be grateful that you provide bread every single day, and there is more in the package to try again. 

Help me to listen to your messages, and to send them to you when I feel lost, or grateful.



6.6- Ideas

Body language is the largest part of any message. Try talking to each other using only your faces, or bodies. Be playful and enjoy it. Or watch some videos with the sound turned off and talk about what they were about.