4 Ways to Improve Any Relationship

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

The principle of SALT has changed my life and every relationship in it.

Years back, my husband and I had a life coach. Love her! Shandel gave practical advice and tools to open my eyes to things I didn't think were possible. I recall one session, she talked about SALT. Yes, and more than table spice.

This principle radically changed the way Jeff and I view each other and the way we communicate.

We have always had a great marriage. I mean, Jeff is my gladiator and so full of grace. There is freedom to say what needs to be said, grace to forgive and forget what needs to be forgiven + so much more. This new principle we learned, radically changed the way we viewed each other and the way we communicated. It's called SALT. An acronym for Solve, Advice, Listen + Talk.

We have led staff and volunteers for 30+ years. Inevitably, there are busy times and many styles of communication. Ultimately, we needed outward boundaries for our internal relationships.

Leading together allows us the wonderful opportunity to play, work, sleep, have fun + do about everything together. While we LOVE one another, we still have to respect each other's needs. Here's one example: when communicating, we learned to respect each other's communication style. Jeff loves bullet points and he really cares about his time. As a result, I would go into his office and say, "Babe, I need 10 minutes of your time (knowing I will not take more than 8) and I have a, b + c I need advice on." Although he loves to see me coming, I never want to create an atmosphere where he looks up at me and thinks, "Oh boy, this is gonna be awhile." (-:

Whether it's employees, children, spouse, someone who needs you; it's ok to ask exactly what they need from you. It shows you value them, their time and the ensuing conversation. Here's SALT and how we use it.

S - Solve

I need help solving something. I need a solution or an answer.

T - Talk

I need to talk something out with you. I don't need an answer or a solution. Let's just talk.

L - Listen

I need you to just listen to me. I know you love me and want to interject your feelings, support + wisdom but let me talk this out, myself. Sometimes I talk myself into the solution, just by hearing my voice and reasoning.

A - Advice

I need your advice. I don't need you to solve this. I just need to know what you would do. I need your wisdom.

Over the years, Jeff and I have stopped explaining which SALT we are wanting to use but always seem to find our way back, every now and then when we forget the boundaries. We laugh it off and say, "Oh, you didn't want me to chime in, rather, you wanted me just to listen." When new staff or volunteers come on board, I often review this principle and practice it with them.

Take a moment and explain SALT to those you spend time with. It has changed my life and my confidence level. I know what I want, I know what other's expect + it's helped grow my relational intelligence.


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