Hot Buttons and Golden Keys: This Game Will Answer 3 Major Questions in Every Relationship

Hmm... What's a better word to use than fat.
Hmm... What's a better word to use than fat?
image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

There exist 3 major questions that people must inquire about in their relationships:
  • Do you truly know what your partner needs?
  • Does your spouse truly know what you need?
  • Does your partner believe you know what he/ she truly needs (this is critical in developing trust in your relationship)?

You can answer these critical questions with an exciting and fun relationship-building game.

The name of the game is ‘Hot Buttons and Golden Keys’.

Hot Buttons and Golden Keys

People have certain hot buttons that they absolutely never want anyone to press. Such hot buttons have the potential of sparking fury, anger, despair, disappointment, anguish and many other negative emotions. You absolutely need to know what these buttons are, to avoid raising hell in your relationship.

Then there are those golden keys that everybody loves. When used, these keys can transform that haggard look into a bright, smiling face; a sad countenance can easily light up; and an angry demeanor will melt into a loving and forgiving soul. You truly need these golden keys if you want to keep the fire burning in your relationship.

Now let’s start playing the game…

Preparation for the Game

This game will involve a bit of writing, therefore get yourselves some pieces of paper and pens. Now, both of you should list down particular scenarios that may arise in normal life.

For example:
  • You/ your spouse comes home after a hard day’s work.
  • Your partner/ you get fired from work.
  • A relative or close friend dies.
  • You/ your spouse fails an important exam.
You can list down as many scenarios as possible, and then you’re ready to start the game.

Part One: Do You Know Your Partner’s Needs?

Your spouse can start off by writing down what she/ he would expect you to do to put him/ her at ease during those scenarios (golden keys) and what you should avoid doing (hot buttons). You’re not allowed to see this list until later on in the game. After writing this down, the paper should be labeled, ‘what I need’ and covered up.

While your partner is writing his/ her list, you too should prepare a list labeled ‘what my partner needs’. You’ll be writing down what you think your spouse needs you to do for him/ her during those previously identified scenarios. Once you’re through with writing, cover up the paper without revealing this list to your spouse until later in the game (make sure that you don’t mix up the papers – keep your stack of papers separate from your partner’s).

Part Two: Does Your Partner Know Your Needs?

Now the game becomes even more exciting. This part will pose the question to your spouse whether he/ she believes that you know his/ her needs. You should not view what your partner writes until later in the game.

Your spouse should prepare a list labeled, ‘what my partner thinks I need’. Your spouse will be trying to assume what you would actually do for him/ her during those previously mentioned scenarios. In other words, your partner will be guessing what you had written in the paper labeled, ‘what my partner needs’.

Part Three: Does Your Partner Believe That You Know His/ Her Needs?

This part can get a little bit winded. You can actually decide not to include this part, but you’ll be missing out on great deal of fun. What’s the fun in playing a game that isn’t a little bit challenging?

You should prepare a list labeled, ‘what my partner thinks I will do for him/ her’. You are asking yourself whether your partner believes that you know his/ her needs. You’re trying to assume what your partner thinks you will do for him/ her during those previously mentioned scenarios. In other words, you’re assuming what your partner wrote in the paper labeled, ‘what my partner thinks I need’.


Once finished, you can both start revealing what you’ve written about each other. Make sure to start with the papers that were written on first and progress to the latter ones. Don’t worry if there are major discrepancies; it’s all a process of continually discovering one another.

Once this is done, you can change places and you would start off the writing process to get an equal perspective from both of you.

That’s awesome, right?


The Writer: 
Victor Nyorani Chezima 
freelance writer/ blogger
"I want your relationship to flourish"