I propose two simpler rules, the Iron Nickel Rules, so-called as the core of the planet is made from a blend of iron and nickel metals, and these two simple rules can be a core to every relationship.
#1 – The Iron Rule – Tell the truth.
Be strong like iron. Own up to your mistakes. Speak up when you’ve been wronged. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for “a better time” that will never actually come. Don’t hide beyond half truths and excuses. Your everyday truth can and should be the same as your sworn testimony.
That said, you don’t need to be radically honest. You don’t need to be unkind, e.g. telling a mother you think her baby is ugly. But neither should you lie and don’t hold back when telling the truth is the right thing to do.
#2 – The Nickel Rule – Make good decisions.
Think before you act. Think about the consequences of your actions to yourself and to others. Make the best decision you can make given the information you have, or seek more information before acting.
As a parent, this is what I expect of my children. I expect the same for my spouse and business partner(s). I trust they will either do the right thing when they know what that is, or ask for my opinion when they are unsure. And they all trust me to do the same, keeping their interests in mind when I’m making decisions that affect them.
Iron + Nickel
Put iron and nickel metal together and you get an alloy stronger than either alone. The Iron and Nickel Rules go together as there can’t be good decisions made when all the facts are not being shared. There won’t be learning unless you own up to decisions you thought were correct, but turned out to be wrong.
Seems simple. I like simple, don’t you?
Upon reflection this seems to be the two core principals I live by, but I don’t recall ever explicitly stating them before. Nor do I remember ever seeing, reading, or hearing anyone else boil down relationships to two simple rules: Truth + Good decisions.