40 day path to peace
Table of contents
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set up, orientation & attitude
Get google docs on your phone for your "Issues List", "Particulars", and our shared coaching notes and other documents.
Determine that when you hit a bump you will get back on the horse. It is common to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Don't panic. Just keep going. Victory isn't necessarily for the strongest, or the smartest, or the best looking. It's for those that do not quit.
Embrace a "Wax on / Wax off" approach to couples success. Read more in Basics.
Decide (individually) how much time and presence you will give toward improving your marriage
Every day of the 40 day path and actions is crucial. You may also feel inspired to do more reading, watch related videos, do extra steps etc. Even 5 or 10 extra minutes of attention a day can make a world of difference. Is she worth it? Is he worth it? Are your children worth it?
A Few things you can expect from your coach
a) You will want to talk about issues. I will be point the conversation more to your “story”- the distrust, panic and war surrounding the issue. We will solve issues, but the real issues aren’t your issues- The real issues are your stories of distrust, upset and let down surrounding the issues. This is part of the 75/25 approach. If we spend 75% of our energy rebuilding your relationship and reconnecting your hearts, then the 25% we spend on issues will be 100% more effective.
b) You will be wanting to talk about 2 or more issues at once. I will be faithful in making sure we stay with one issue until it's complete and then go on to the next, which is one of the major keys to our success.
c) You will be wondering if it's possible to save your relationship. I will be telling you, based on years of experience, that it's not about whether your relationship can be saved. There's not even a question about that. It's about whether you're willing to keep the agreements you make, of your own free will, in our meetings.
Preface to 40 days
The 40 day rescue is based on this premise- 75% of your energy is toward rebuilding your emotional bank account with each other and getting to know each other. This is the eternal formula trust, intimacy, safety and love. It is the biggest part. The other 25% goes to managing issues. Here’s what’s wonderful: when the 75 is strong, then as Covey puts it, the trust is high, the misunderstandings decrease, the creativity is flowing and the issues are much more naturally solved. As Mort Fertel puts it, by putting love first, everything seems to naturally fall in place.
This is a program of discipline but not overwhelm
If you’re overweight you don’t go to the gym for 40 hours in the first week. That would be overwhelming. But you do go 3 or 4 times a week (That would be discipline).
Fix the roof when the sun is shining
This will absolutely work for you. It does for everyone. That’s because love is based on living correct principles vs. marrying the “correct” person. But never forget, once you start, this goes the rest of your life, or you will be right back where you started from and unfortunately will often go backward even further- passing a point of no return. What am I saying? Once things are good, 40 days later, 40 years later, keep working on the roof (on the protection that marriage really is), especially when the sun is shining.
There’s no grade
If you miss a day, just pick up from the day you left off. If there’s any doubt on where you left off, go back a couple of days for good measure.
40 days and/or a la cart
The activities and assignments on this page are initially for the 40 day path to peace. After this 40 days, or at the advise of your coach, you can also pick from these, a la cart. The Index is also helpful for an a la cart approach.
a) Start a 21 day Relationship Cleanse. (This won’t make complete sense until you get to Day 2). Don’t worry about the other links in the Relationship Cleanse page (i.e. Breakthrough or Issues List etc.) We’ll cover those in the next few days.
b) Study the rules and guidelines of Write & Share. (Independently or together, just as long as there’s no conversation leading up to the Write & Share. Just carefully go through the rules and guidelines so that your understanding is complete.)
c) Now that you know how to do Write & Share…
Choose #1 for your first subject - “How a Relationship Cleanse could bless me.”
d) Text or write all operational requests to spouse.
More on this at Relationship Cleanse. There’s a reason for step, which we will cover later. For now, please trust the system and where these agreements and training are headed. Remember the Karate Kid? there was a reason he was waxing cars.
e) Watch the clip below from the original Karate Kid to understand the beginning phase of Couples GPS. Some of what you’ll be asked to do doesn’t seem core to your challenges. Same with waxing cars- didn’t seem related to Karate for Danielson.
f) This first day is the most critical! Please text John at 801 613 8354 when you’re complete with the above i.e. “Completed Day 1 “
Part a) Read Basics (privately) including the Divorce Worksheet.
Do not share your perspective on this material with your spouse. The emphasis of the first part of this program is regaining your day to day balance and beginning a journey of personal healing.
Part b) Issues List.
Create and begin using an Issues List (the perfect parking spot for your issues). After discussing please record your couple agreements in another list called "couples agreements." Please review these every Sunday.
Part c) Write & Share #___ Issues List as the subject line.
Part d) Text John
Beginning to day, please text 801 ____ “Completed Day ___ and I’m on the program “ meaning, “I’ve done everything up to this day and I am giving this my best effort” or “Fell off the wagon. I’m back on the program.”
Your Daily CGPS Routine, by now, should be….
Return to Table of Contents / Return to 40 days / Return to Index
Part a) Watch classic comedy with each other for at least 1 hour. Share with each other your favorite parts and why. Do not make each other wrong for your differences in tastes for humor. Just share. Click here for good choices. Do not watch a romantic comedy. (Try The 3 Stooges, Gaffigan, Brian Reagan, Studio C) If the choices provided here aren’t funny to either of you, share something you do find funny. Do not belittle your partner for not thinking something is funny that you do. This day is simply the first level of re-discovering each other- not re-discovering your relationship, but re-discovering the person you’re in a relationship with. We will be address your relationship later.
Part b) Privately (individually) read through Couple Care. (Remember, whatever you read is about you, not your spouse).
Part c) Being a 30 days of listening to The Power of 'I Am (in your car, on a walk or run etc.). This will be the best $21 you ever spent. (Note: Joel is a Christian Televangelist. If you don’t have a taste for this, try Tony Robbins for 30 days instead).
Your Daily CGPS Routine, by now, should be….
Return to Table of Contents / Return to 40 days / Return to Index
Day 4) Read Managing Incoming, down to ________. Please stop at this point. We’ll cover the rest later (i.e. "Skin in the Game.") Note: CGPS beginners, “Skin in the Game” is set up during a coaching meeting, not at home.
a) Read Managing "Outgoing" - Additionally, spend 5 to 10 minutes in “Write and Share” with this document as the subject.
b) Pray (and/or meditate) together at least once a day.
7) War Room - Watch, Write & Share.
The enemy is not across from you. He is between you.
8) Read and start Nightly Check in & Chit Chat but with zero issues or personal requests the first 5 to 7 days.
Your daily Couple reoutine by now should be
Day 9) Read Ecclesiastes Summary and watch Video “It doesn’t matter
Couples gps MAINTENANCE - ongoing actions
Post 40 day maintenance
Important note on overwhelm - Please decide how this program looks for you (below) based on what stage you are at in your relationship repair, your intuition and consensus with each other. Don't stress about any of the above or below. Do what you're both willing to do. Anything even close to what we're prescribing is wonderful!
Daily / Nightly
Nightly Check In - at least 5 nights a week, 5 to 20 minutes a night (whatever feels good to you both). Included in Nightly Check-In can be Couple Care (scroll down) which can includes reading with each other, back or foot rubs.
Couple Prayer (or if you don't believe in God, a Couple Meditation) - For even greater impact, include a short scripture reading, even if it's just one verse, or if you're agnostic, some sort of inspirational reading from any source you'd like. (More on Couple Prayer below).
Weekly / Monthly
Date Night, once a week.
Your Wish is My Command (below), once a week (Sunday evening is good)
Weekly Inventory - Reviewing agreements, finances, planning, new agreements. Avoid bigger issues during the first month of coaching.
At least one, 1-day couple retreat per month, including 30 minutes of Write & Share or Face to Face. Ideally this would be an overnighter, but even an all day date is great.
Perhaps most importantly, decide how you will serve together this week, month, or year.
Consider the 1 Minute Rule - Wait 60 seconds. Ask yourself:
"Is this time sensitive?" or
"Would this be a wee bit less loaded and therefore more effective, at Nightly Check-In?" or
"Am I being inspired right now by God, or by my story or disappointment?" or
"Would this serve our relationship more to make this request right now, or later?"
Note that only you can answer these questions. Sometimes it makes more sense to make the request right now. Sometimes not. Be inspired. Be loving. Be committed to your spouse’s happiness. Operational requests, for instance (and/or requests given as if it it was the first time) i.e. "Jim would you mind keeping the door to the garage closed?" are often best as they come up vs. Nightly Check-In. The problem arises when your communication is riddled with these kinds of petty requests and comments. John Gottman suggests that 4 out of 5 comments should be positive in order to create a strong emotional bank account with each other.
Requests for Restitution are made during Nightly Check-In. (If you are offended or “ambushed” during the day, asking for restitution on the spot is received as a counter ambush.)
1 Request per Nightly Check-In (ideally)
Weekly Inventory (which include bigger issues where you might do a Peace Talk or Love seat.) These are issues that are going to take some time to work out vs. just going for a quick "U.S.A Request" at a Nightly Check-In. Sundays are often best for these meetings.
Notes and explanations
Nightly Check In & Chit Chat at least 5 nights a week.
Write and Share (either 10 minutes a week or while on your monthly couple retreat).
For many, this will be a fairly advanced step. If you're willing to go for it though, this is a huge step toward rebuilding intimacy).
Date night, once a week with zero conversation about your relationship, upsets, let downs, expectations or disappointments. Every date night includes a relationship cleanse. (zero issues)
Date night examples:
a) a long walk,
b) a double date with good friends.
c) dinner and movie (Please avoid romantic comedies for now).
d) miniature golfing (please do not use the golf clubs or balls as weapons).
f) tennis or golf.
g) joke telling contest (to see who can tell the worst joke)
h) service activity (serving food at a shelter, picking up trash etc.)
Combination of any of the above.
If you're having a hard time fitting in a date night , If you can even do an hour, that's awesome! (day or night). 2 to 3 hours would supernatural!
5 to 30 minutes reading together every day or night i.e. Couples GPS and/or Mastery homework and/or recommended reading i.e. "Hold Me Tight", “Bonds that Make Us Free” etc. IMPORTANT NOTE: Apply whatever you read together only to yourself, never to your partner.
Your Wish is My Command (Background)
Your Wish is My Command and making U.S.A. requests at Nightly Inventory are a powerful combination in consistently guiding each other toward fulfilling each other's needs.
We tend to attract into our lives the person who is least likely to play the part we most need played. What do you need the very most from your spouse? (probably things that he or she has been struggling to give).
According to Harville Hendrix, there are two reasons we do this:
1) We marry someone who reminds us of a caregiver that has let us down in significant ways. In Hendrix’s “Imago” theory, our attraction to this person is based on the possibility that he or she may come through in ways that our caregiver didn’t.
2) The 2nd reason we choose “hard” (as Anita Towner puts it) is a spiritual instinct toward whatever it takes to grow and refine. Scott Peck, in his book “The Road Less Traveled” says that there are 2 reasons we marry 1) to Procreate and 2) Friction.
Certainly, the perfect mismatch we tend to choose provides all the friction necessary for the growth we have unconsciously orchestrated. The problem is that even though we are drawn to each other in order to heal and grow, as poor choices are made and the heat and hurt gets turned up, we end up breaking each other’s hearts, not healing them.
This heart breaking tendency takes the place in “double binds” i.e. wife needs husband to validate her feelings. Husband needs wife to be more affectionate. The less validating husband is, the less affectionate wife is. There are lots of double binds, but this is how they all look. The fire says, give me more wood. The wood says, give me more fire, and there the fire sits, going out And there the wood sits, missing it’s purpose.
The heart of the solution is to identify what your loved one most needs from you- that one thing you would like him or her to really focus on this week. In focusing on what your spouse has asked you to focus on and in getting closer and closer to mastering his or her request, you will, day by day, heal each other’s hearts. But more importantly, according to Hendrix, you will have discovered the missing and lost piece of your own soul, which is, the very thing he or she is requesting from you.
Here's the formula and the miracle
As I give you what you need, I grow.
As you give me what I need, I heal.
Set up for “Your Wish is My Command”
1) Some quiet evening, or Sunday morning, start with a prayer and/or meditation and then, each of you, write down your top 3 greatest needs from each other. Be inspired on how you phrase your wishes so as not to offend your partner. Be encouraging. Speak tentatively. Make it about you and what you need, not about his or her’s weakness. Acknowledge all that he or she has already done in this area and that you’re simply request a bit more.
2) Each of your share needs with each other with this preface “What I share with you now is not about you or your shortcomings. It is my commitment to you to show you even more clearly the way to my heart. Thank you so much for your willingness to listen to my needs.”
Identifying your 3 most important needs, or behaviors from your spouse is providing him or her an amazing opportunity to heal lifelong doubts and wounds. It is the set-up for your weekly “Your Wish is My Command” and/or “Nightly Check In & Chit Chat” including making the same request from time to time as part of an ongoing commitment to lovingly guide each other. Remember John Gray's rule: Ask like it's the first time - like you've never made this request before.
Your Wish is My Command (ritual)
I suggest holding your spouse’s hands, with your hands under hers. If this is just too big of a deal for you right now, do it while you’re brushing your teeth or getting into bed or whatever. But the best way is holding her hands. If only one wants to hold hands, don’t hold hands.
Husband asks anything similar to this, or this, word for word: “What do you need from me this week, more than anything?”
Wife answers (which answer may or maynot be one of her 3 greatest needs, above) including, if inspired, a short description of how it might look i.e. “I’d love it if you would do your very best to be a little bit more present during dinner. How that could look is that you leave your phone in the bedroom.”
Husband answers with any of the following: “Your wish is my command” (which is my favorite because it brings to heart the majesty of one’s spouse), or, if you’re not comfortable with that: “I’ll try my best” or “Yes, I choose this” or “You’re wish is my choice.” or “I’ll do it.” etc.
Switch directions and go again.
Note: Please do not follow up with each other on your respective wishes. This would be counterproductive. Each of you attends to his or her respective promises, not what your spouse agreed to do.
Thomas Monson once gave a newly married couple a piece of life time advice (as relayed by Kevin Pearson): "Do you want to love each other forever?" he asked the couple. "Yes, of course" came the eager response. "Then each night, on your knees, you pull your sweetheart close to you, and pray together. And as you pray, make sure you mention how much you love your spouse."
He went on to say, "If you're not feeling like praying, or even worse, if you're tempted not to pray, then you're going to want to stay up all night if you need to, until you can pray together and thank the Lord for the love you have for him or her."
A tip. You could try apologizing first. You'll feel it then.
Note: This is only one way of letting your spouse know you love her in a meaningful way. I believe it’s a great option. There are other opportunities to express love and gratitude, i.e. a special text, or a note, or just grabbing him or her and saying "I love you." (See “Turn up the positive energy” (below) for more ideas.)
But what I love about this advice is that if you have missed every other opportunity throughout the day, you have this- a wonderful opportunity to draw closer in love and appreciation.
And perhaps even better, it is also (if you're not feeling like doing it) the perfect indication that you've gone off the path.
What a perfect reckoning this can be- to mention how much you love your wife, your kids, your life together, your service together. Wow.
The catalyst of unconsciousness - (Turn on the flood lights)
Think of it like this: You're going to hit some bumps in the road, and life together will not feel very good. But the question isn’t as much what’s going on in your relationship, as much as it is, who have you inadvertently invited into your marriage.
In my mind, one of the most powerful movies of our time is a little “B” film called “War Room.” It is critical to acknowledge the dark catalyst of unconsciousness. He has a name: Satan. He and his people (all unseen) are like sharks, waiting for anything to be dropped into the water. When you drop a little bit of unconsciousness or control, blame or reactivity in the water, it’s a feeding frenzy.
So it’s not just your own insanity that you’re dealing with it’s his (Satan’s) the most insane person in the history of this universe. Humble, diligent, sincere couple prayer is like setting up flood lights that can dispel any darkness you may have inadvertently collected.
Pieces of Peace
Your wish is my command
Begin using, and forevermore use and issues list.
Weekend, Positivity Plunge
Personal Couples Retreat
Launch Stage 1 of Nightly Check In
Special, Write and Share, Training Topics
The Basics - Closing the Back Door
The Basics - Attachment
Articles of Peace
Your Wish is My Command
…or, just include Write and Share at the launch of every piece.
Watch “War Room”
Revisit every boundaryless moment
Breakthrough Training - Stage 1
Breakthrough Training - Stage 2
Couples GPS Video Page (with Markdowns) so I can get to them here.
Movies to watch on your Couples Retreats or Date Nights (along with other greats)
index for A la carte) - return to table of conTents
With your coaches guidance, choose different habits, actions, & study materials that would serve as effective rituals for your marriage:
The 9 Agreements - and "Right Questions"
Witnessed Walk-List (Please get training for this one)
Particulars (A Fact Sheet for Your Partner)
Your Wish is My Command (Weekly Ritual - Yola site)
Write and Share - For personal couples retreats
Face to Face - Also for personal couple retreats
Issues Management - Overview
Managing Incoming including playing "Restitution."
Issues List (An important part of avoiding ambushes)
Walk List - Text us for the password at 801 613 8354
Breakthrough - Text us for the password at 801 613 8354
Peace Talk and Articles of Peace
Love Seat (the ultimate operating room for occasional surgery)