Technique of the Week: The Dry Erase Board

It’s amazing the benefits something as simple as a Dry Erase Board can bring to a relationship. A very common complaint couples bring into therapy is how forgetful the other is when it comes to daily schedule, or necessities that need to be picked up, etc. These often serve as the catalyst for significant arguments and power struggles within the relationship. While keeping track of basic necessities is helpful, the Dry Erase Board can also serve other positive functions in a relationship.

Here are a few notables:

1) Basic Reminders. This can be a simple division of the Dry Erase Board into two columns, one for each partner. The appointments, chores, or errands that need to be done can be put into each column so there doesn’t have to be nagging going in either or both directions that can lead to friction. Word of caution: it’s best to make the initial chore and errand requests through conversation. Assigning errands and chores to each other by writing them into the columns without previous discussion is recipe for an argument of its own.

2) Compliments. The Dry Erase Board doesn’t have to be all business! Write compliments or little notes for your partner in the mornings to start the day off well. If you make a habit of this, your partner may even start to look forward to these notes, and it will build a positive sentiment into your daily relationship.

3) Shopping List. This is probably one of the original uses of the Dry Erase Board in the home — a place for the grocery and household item lists to grow until the trip to the store is made.

4) Requests. Some couples like to use the Dry Erase Board for making dinner or date (or other) requests. This is especially useful for couples who have trouble making decisions about what to eat for dinner on a daily basis, or where to go for date night. When an idea strikes, write down the request on the board for a specific meal or a date. It may help ease stress in your week to have some decisions made in advance. 

5) Games. This is another addition to the positive energy bin. Some couples enjoy playing trivia games via the Dry Erase Board…or there’s always Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, and others.

6) Relationship Code. This is one that couples tend to really enjoy — creating codes for things in your relationship. These can encompass pretty much anything you want. For example: A couple can agree that “4A” is code for asking for a bath for two that night; or “daffodil” is code for a romantic picnic dinner that night; or, “PBJ3” could refer to a designated sexual role play. I have worked with couples who have a full menu of sexual role plays with a code assigned to each. Codes have endless possibilities and can be used however you and your partner choose. Take turns using codes so it’s balanced between the two of you.

Dry Erase Boards must never be used for insults or to start or perpetuate arguments. The point of the board is both to prevent unnecessary arguing and to add positivity into your relationship. Therefore, it would defeat the purpose to carry out conflict here. Also try not to let the board replace giving verbal compliments and doing nice things for each other in reality. Though the board is meant to be fun, it’s meant as an addition to positive interactions, rather than a replacement for them. Feel free to be creative with it if you have ideas, and don’t forget to have fun!

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