Most relationships, over time, develop their own secret code words. A couple I know have combined three common two-word phrases, just six words in all, into a sure-fire way to dispel any potential angst between them.

When one or the other engages in a “touchy subject,” the partner almost immediately says, “Six pack,” and the moment is defused.

“Six pack” stands for “Yes dear, you’re right, I’m sorry.” It’s up to the listener to determine which parts of the six pack apply at any given time. This is particularly effective, especially when the speaker thinks a single two-word phrase might do. It’s always best to err on the side of caution!

Say the one driving is going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. The passenger says, “You’re speeding; slow down.” Instead of getting all defensive about it, the driver simply says, “Six pack,” and slows the car. What could have been the core of an argument becomes nothing more than an exchange of information.

Or perhaps one of them is watering the household plants. The second one says, “You’re overfilling those pots. Water is going to be running all over the table.” And lo and behold, water does start overflowing the trays. “Six pack!” says the waterer, and goes to get some paper towels to clean it up. Problem solved.

Relationships are a tricky balance, with compromise and respect paramount to their success. In my friends’ case, both people in the relationship have vowed to keep their senses of humor, and constantly strive to communicate effectively and maturely.

And when they slip up? “Six pack!” will save the day.