This is an interview with Sandra Fischer, a professional writer and consultant with a diverse background specializing in communications, people development and optimizing organizational effectiveness. She has recently released Relationship Reveal, a new card activity that gets to the heart of what matters in happy, healthy relationships.
What inspired you to design Relationship Reveal?
I witnessed people struggling to communicate in their relationships. They held back so much because they were afraid to reveal something for fear of the consequences, or perhaps they didn’t have the language to articulate what they wanted to say, or even they felt they weren’t good enough or didn’t fit a norm. I wanted to use a tool I found effective in the business world, competencies, to help people understand what they needed to be able to do in a relationship and how to help them learn how to do it. I wanted it to be fun too.
What resources did you draw on to create the cards and guidebook?
My own experience was the starting point. I love people, and understanding human behavior has been a passion of mine. In my own life, there have been times when I felt I couldn’t be myself or was judged for being different, so I learned to understand myself and others and how to embrace and celebrate differences. I built on my life skills using the decades of amazing research done on relationships. To ensure I was doing something beneficial and worthwhile, I consulted experts—a marriage and family counselor with 20 years of real world experience and a neuro-linguistic programming master—to further refine my work. Relationship Reveal™ was product tested with a range of people, then put on the shelf.
Ideally, what would you like someone playing Relationship Reveal to take away from it?
If nothing else, I want people to learn to be confident and unafraid of what they want and who they are, and to be able to be kind to each other, even in the face of disappointment and pain. We all deserve dignity and respect. In a perfect world, I hope they learn what they want from their relationships and how they are empowered to contribute to making that happen. I want people to know they are OK and their partner is OK too, even though they are different. They are safe with each other to be themselves.
What do you find the most fun to discover about yourself when playing Relationship Reveal?
For me, it was the layer below the surface. When I looked at a card, then articulated how that Skill looked for me in the real world, it was shockingly different than someone else’s view of the same thing. It made me realize that although, for example, two people may love the Kissing card, their expression of that may be different enough that it causes tension and uncertainty in practice e.g. one person loves public kisses and the other only kisses in private. Rich learning comes from that level of discussion and it can diffuse conflict long before it arises allowing for humor and practical solutions to form.
How can a single man or woman use Relationship Reveal?
This is a great activity for anyone to do, even if they are not in an active romantic relationship. While the cards refer to a partner, the Skills apply to any relationship for the most part.
When using the cards on your own, you can define what is most important to you to help you attract that in your next partner; identify what Skills you are good at doing (the Know Your Value card), and understand where you may need to work on some Skills e.g. I want to be a better listener (the Listen card) or I want to detach from technology more so I can be more present for people in my life (the Be Present card). Most activities in the guide are appropriate to use on your own.
It is important to note that even for those in intimate partnerships, you don’t have to wait for your partner to do the activities with you. You can always take the initiative and do them on your own to gain clarity and work on your side of the equation.
What do you think the most important skills to develop as a single person looking for a partner are?
Without a doubt, Know Yourself, it is a card in the deck and in my mind one of the most important ones in the deck.
When you know yourself, you can better articulate what you want and need from your relationship, and can be comfortable and confident in differences. You want the best for yourself and your partner and are less likely to accept situations that are unhealthy.
Healthy confidence is very attractive and helps bring into your life that which is best for you.
Why do you think a game is a great way to develop relationship skills?
It has been the topic of some discussion about whether this is a game, an activity, or a tool. It really is all three and more depending on how people want to use it. I didn’t start out to make it a game, but a lot of people like to think of it that way because it acts like a neutral arbitrator and can be fun to do. There are games you can play with the cards, there are activities, or you can simply read about the Skills in the easy to digest Guidebook, or on the cards themselves.
Play is an excellent way to learn new things, and to bring us closer to each other. Play can help us get through the hard parts a little easier and that is my hope. Play has more vitality to it and is more inspirational so I hope people will think of it that way.
What’s the best way to play Relationship Reveal?
There is not a best way. It is what you are inspired to do with it. Personally, I have found each person who has used it has shaped it to be unique to their needs at the time. It is kind of magical that way. I have never heard of someone having a bad experience with it, and I have found for many, it has been a game changer in their lives and relationships. That makes me feel good.
What have you discovered in your own relationship experience that influenced Relationship Reveal?
Honesty. I had to be honest with myself and then with others. Without that, I could not ever truly be happy, nor could I find the depth of connection I was looking for in my relationships. The cards in Relationship Reveal™ helped me to understand what I was feeling and then to be comfortable with articulating those feelings in an honest and kind way.