The Rotary Four-Way Test: It Affects Your Marriage And All Relationships

Recently we were visiting with Connie and Bernie. This couple have done the conscious and consistent work to transform their relationship whereby they now strive to work together to bring out each other’s wonderfulness.

They gave us a small medallion which they use to remind themselves to keep working together for the betterment of themselves, their relationship, and in the biggest sense, for humanity.

The medallion?

One side has the Rotary International logo and the words, Service Above Self.  The other side, has the Four-Way Test, which is exemplified in the way Rotarians strive to live their lives.  It says,

Of the things we think, say, and do:

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

As I read this four-way test, my mind was immediately filled with questions (as a coach, that’s what my mind does):

  • What results are probable for me when I apply this test consciously, consistently, and persistently?
  • What experiences are probable in our marriage when we work together to apply this test consciously, consistently, and persistently?
  • What can occur in our family, friends, and community relationships when we apply this test consciously, consistently, and persistently?
  • In what ways can this test affect our business?

The four-way test brings out the best!

Is it the TRUTH?

I recall times (and there have been many in the past) where I told little white lies, and I’ve also constructed big untrue stories to save face, or to be right, or to be not-wrong, or to cover mistakes I’d made. This was hard mental and emotional work, yet the more I did it, the more “real” my stories became – in my own mind.

But … it didn’t feel good at all.  It always had a negative impact on my relationships at home, my community, or in business – usually all of them.

Yet, when I think, speak and behave based on the truth, life is much easier.  There are no stories to remember and no defending to do. When I’ve made a mistake (I make lots of them), I apologize, forgive myself, and learn from it.  Life is joyful and fun.

The four-way test brings out the best!

 

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

According to the on-line dictionary, fair means “in accordance with the rules or standards; without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage.”

I recall times (and there have been many in the past) where I bent the rules in my favour, and justified it in my mind because I deserved it.

  • Because Carol did not keep an agreement (or what I assumed was an agreement), was it fair for me to withhold information, treat her disrespectfully, or torture her with the silent-treatment?
  • Because I was not receiving the support I wanted on a community project, was it fair for me to call others down, talk behind their back, or to quit?
  • Because I did not feel my contributions were being valued and appreciated, was it fair to add an extra hour or two to the time sheet?

But … it didn’t feel good at all.  It always had a negative impact on my relationships at home, my community, or in business – usually all of them.

Yet, when I think, speak and behave in the spirit of fairness, life is much easier.  There are no resentments or complicated justifications.  Life is joyful and fun.

The four-way test, brings out the best!

Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

Goodwill is a favourable attitude toward someone or something, which always enhances relationships.

I recall times (and there have been many in the past) where I made the choice to have a crappy attitude.  I blamed it on others, the economy, the weather, or any number of scapegoats. The fact is, I chose that crappy attitude.

A negative attitude can be one of the worst diseases around – it is contagious. When I make a habit of choosing a negative attitude, some people choose to get stuck in the ever-worsening quagmire with me.  It’s like the plaque.

But … it didn’t feel good at all.  It always had a negative impact on my relationships at home, my community, or in business – usually all of them.

I’ve learned that my attitude and feelings are two things I can control in every moment.  It’s the same for you.

Yet, when I think, speak and behave positively, looking for the best in myself and others, life is much easier, it fosters greater goodwill and friendships.  Life is joyful and fun.

The four-way test brings out the best!

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I recall times (and there have been many in the past) where I was so caught up in my own stuff that I didn’t notice the negative affects my thoughts, words, and actions had on others.

  • I didn’t show up for family events, because I had other things I was doing.
  • I didn’t participate in family meals or play games with Carol, Jamie, and Brad because I chose to keep working.
  • I planned meetings or projects to fit my schedule – and expected others to fit it in.

But … it didn’t feel good at all.  It always had a negative impact on my relationships at home, my community, or in business – usually all of them.

Yet, when I think about others and strive to work for the greater good for all, my choices become much easier.  Life is joyful and fun.

The four-way test brings out the best!

Rotarian or not, I believe this four-way test is priceless, in marriages and society.

Imagine.  Imagine what can happen when you and I apply this rule consciously, consistently, and persistently?  What can life be then?

I’m curious about you.  What’s your perspective?

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