Always take each other's words at face value.
No subtext, no need to try to interpret what the other person meant, just always take each other's words at face value.
So, for example, if my husband asks me a question "would you like to go to a movie tonight?" or "is it cool if I go out with my friends tonight?" or "are ya feelin frisky?!" then I could answer "yes!" or I could answer "[sigh] yeah, [sniff] sure" and the answer is the same. If I said yes, then he can take it as yes, and it doesn't matter how I said it. AND, if he wants to go out with his friends, and I say sure, then he can go out and not feel guilty. If I don't want him to go, I'd better actually say that I am tired and don't feel up to taking care of the kids alone tonight and could he go another night, or at least help with bedtime and then go later.
Alternately, if I don't say something, then he can't be expected to know what I was thinking. None of this silliness with dropping hints or expecting him to know what I want. I can make his favorite dinner and wear his favorite color and get the kids to bed early, but unless I actually say "hey baby, I'm feelin frisky tonight" then I can't take it personally if he settles in with his book. And I can comment about being tired and sore but unless I actually say "would you give me a backrub?" then he can't be expected to do so. Sure, he might offer, but I can't get upset if he doesn't, because I never asked.
The speaker in those original CDs told a story of a man who would sit at the dinner table and stare at the mashed potatoes, but never ask for them. He wanted someone to pass them, but he would not ask "because it means more if I don't have to ask." [Yes, take a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor...and then ask yourself when was the last time you expected your partner to know what you wanted without specifically saying so? Not so different is it?!]
Now I am inclined to be a pretty honest person anyway, so this has never been hard for me. I don't think it's really been hard for Hubby either. The thing is, because we have a formal agreement about it, neither one of us ever has to waste time trying to figure out what the other meant, or wondering if there was some subtext that we missed. There is no manipulation (and whether we mean to or not, a lot of us manipulate our family members to some degree). There is no guilt. Sometimes there is frustration when I realize that I really should have given him a different answer, BUT I don't get upset with him because he trusted what I said, and that is entirely fair. I just make a mental note to respond more accurately next time. ☺
Obviously for this to work you both have to agree to it, but I would hope that any married couple would be able to handle making a goal together. ☺ I honestly believe that this decision of ours is one of the things that is going to carry us through the hard times in the coming decades. ♥
Sure, we still joke around with each other, and we're sarcastic from time to time--but when we're actually trying to communicate with each other, we say what we mean without subtext or needing to interpret hidden meanings. It's very liberating. I highly recommend it.