Five Words to a Better Prison Relationship

Five Words to a Better Prison Relationship

In August, on the Mrs. GE-6309 Time talk show, I spoke to Sheila Rule, Founder of Think Outside the Cell Foundation.

In this call, Sheila talked about an exercise she and her husband like to do to take the pulse of their relationship.

Each year, they write five words to describe the relationship. No long exhaustive letters, just five simple words.

The point of the exercise is to determine where a relationship needs works and if both parties see the relationship in the same way. Honesty is important. For instance, it does the relationship a disservice to describe it as the best thing since sliced bread when it has really been a difficult year.  Don’t focus on things you can’t change. Don’t make a list of prison words. Focus on the connection despite the location. This exercise will get you talking and if necessary, fix something before it goes off the rails.

Five words might be:

  1. Blissful
  2. Supportive
  3. Healthy
  4. Loving
  5. Surprising


  1. Quicksand
  2. Frustrated
  3. Tense
  4. Unhappy
  5. Difficult

These two examples are very different pulses of a relationship. Now, if the above example is by two people in the same relationship, you see they will have a lot to talk about.

Is your relationship ready for 2012? Let’s find out. Assignment: You and your partner write five words that accurately describe the state of your relationship. Discuss.

Find the love story of Joseph and Sheila in Love Lives Here, Too: Real Life Stories about Prison Relationships and read how five words strengthen their marriage.

Listen to my chat with Sheila.

  1. MoiraMoira12-28-2011

    i’m sending this to v…with my five words…

  2. Anita SmithsonAnita Smithson12-28-2011

    this is awesome. i think ANY relationship can use this tool, thank you for writting about this.
    * could i share this on my personal blog or have you be a guest blogger/writter of the articile

  3. Reesy Floyd-ThompsonReesy Floyd-Thompson12-28-2011

    Hi Anita. I’m glad you like it. Sure you may share. Enjoy!

  4. MichelleMichelle12-29-2011

    Thanks Reesy for reminding of this discussion!

  5. Nancy StullNancy Stull01-11-2012

    I like this one! I am going to have my husband send his five words on Friday and I will mail mine the same day-No cheating!! LOL!!!

  6. CharaChara01-11-2015

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about relationship.

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Living your life when your partner is locked up means knowing what you can and can not control and making the most of it.

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