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Agreement 4 - Give love vs. control

Highlights:  Living Agreement 4 means asking God, daily, even hourly, to turn our little fits and attempts to control others into our willingness to live in the centering questions and to give what we feel is best to give.

Click here for Agreement 4 Blog "Hoping For Nothing"

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1) Prayerfully meditate on the list below.  Give one or more of these "Favorite Things" to one or more people (spouse, family member, someone at work, one of your children etc.)  Let whoever you interviewed with this last week know how you did.  

  • Forgiveness either a) just personally and quietly, in your heart or b) in a conversation with this person's spirit or c) in a letter to or conversation with this person, letting him or her know that you hold zero ill fillings and that you are looking forward to moving forward together! (Note: Forgiveness often requires breakthrough work.)

  • Seek understanding (knowledge creates love, patience & solutions)

  • Validation (Sincerely validate your loved one’s position or feelings. Free your loved one from your rightness or judgement. Free yourself from the prison of your rightness and controlling tendencies. Here’s what it sounds like, “What I hear you saying is _____. Have I got it? Tell me more about how you feel. I really do want to understand." etc.)

  • Request for clarification, or “checking in” with someone e.g., “Mary, I wanted to ask you something. When we were having dinner last night and you answered your phone, was that an emergency of some sort? I’m guessing it was. I just wanted to make sure.”

  • Request to give clarification e.g, “Would you be willing to let me give you another perspective on this?” Note: This often turns out just to be a thinly disguised effort to defend your self. Only give this if you feel it will bless the other person.

  • Apology, a great way get the ball of peace and accountability rolling. It doesn't matter where it starts. And you'll be all the more blessed if it starts with you.

  • Service or gifts (clean garage, cruise to Bahamas etc.)

  • Patience

  • Encouragement (cheer-leading, watering the flowers)

  • Unloaded request (sometimes meaning making a request like it’s the first time)

  • Enrollment on consequence e.g., “What would you do if you were me?” or “What do you think would be an appropriate consequence?” or “What do you think I should do if ...”

  • Unloaded Natural or Logical Consequences ("Natural" i.e. "I'm willing for my son to experience being cold when he decides to not where a coat." "Logical" i.e. perhaps with a spouse, "I'm willing to

  • Invitation to get specific: “When could you do this?” (Note: This can often simply be you trying to get your way. On the other hand, in the right spirit, coming from love (door #1), this can be a gift you are giving to assist your loved on in coming through for you - something he or she may really want to do!

  • Request for restitution, or self restitution i.e. "Harold, thank you for your apology. I'm still feeling a little shaken up about this. I could probably use a foot rub to kind of get my trust and good feelings up and going again. Would you be willing to do that?" or, "Harold, this has been really hard for me to see you like this. One of the ways I'm going to recover is to go shopping with my girlfriends tonight. Thanks for understanding."

  • Offer to give restitution

  • Probation i.e. "Harold, I know your heart is in the right place. I apologize for this, but this has happened so much, I'm sort of out of trust. I think I'd feel more comfortable if we kind of scaled back how much we're seeing each other right now. I want to give you some time to really decide what you want."

  • Validation as a face of boundaries:
    End the war. Without internal peace- your attempt at living in boundaries will only be interpreted as war. There are no real boundaries without peace. Validating someone’s feelings creates peace. “Let me see if I understand what you are feeling? I want to make sure I really get this. So what you're saying is that you feel _______________ Have I got it? I totally understand. I really do (and you've got to really mean this). I don't know what else to do though. So I think we're still going to wait until your room is clean before you can go out with your friends. Thanks for understanding this."

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I will stand for you

Who in your life could you "stand for" even more? Who deserves the gift of your clarity, or your forgiveness, your encouragement or your seeking clarification etc.?

Remember "Hooked on Aerobics!" Choose your level of Homework,

Remember "Hooked on Aerobics!" Choose your level of Homework


Extra Homework Possibilities

1) With each interaction this entire week, ask yourself “Right now, am I giving, or am I trying to get?”

2) Give yourself a rating, from 1 to 10 on how controlling you are.  
Pick 3 other people to give you their rating (10 being the highest).  Give no definition- just get the number.

3) Keep a record of how many hours you can go just giving, or at least, not asking anyone for anything unless you know they are open to giving it.  How many hours can you stay in door 1. 

This includes no hinting, negative humor, trying offhandedly get a point across, or in someway trying to get your way in a situation where someone isn’t subscribing to your plan for their life.  In each situation where you find yourself trying to get your way (against someone else’s preference), a) start the clock over and b) determine, instead of your controlling behavior, what gifts you could give. 

4) Sing this song along with Bonnie and let go of control.  
Yes, it hurts (and there is that moment of feeling lost).  But by morning you will "feel the power."  For in closing the door to control, the door to true love opens.  Mourn with us for a moment then, in this song, but then lay down the weapons of your tendency to try to control others to get what you need.  Determine, rather, what kinds of gifts you can give (your "favorite things").  I Can't Make You Love Me

5) Do a “breakthrough” with the subject line being “My tendency to be controlling” or anything related to this.  See

6) Go to bed at least 2 nights this week listening to the Agreement 4 Affirmations (8 minutes).  Scroll to top of this page.

7) Extra Video, Just for singles
A "Relationship Talk" is defined as any conversation with an agenda attached.  These kinds of conversations don't usually go that well, as you'll see here: Relationship Talk

Effectively guiding someone requires your willingness to let him or her go. 

Without this willingness you will default to panic and control vs. inviting, being appropriately patient or any other “Favorite Things” gift.

You must be able and willing to completely love someone while at the same time give up on your need for his or love or approval.


I've included this video in Agreement 3 and 4:  *Agreement 3 is my willingness to stand for your life, for my life and for our relationship. *Agreement 4 is my loving exploration of the best way to guide you into something that works for both of us.

You will very rarely feel to turn over tables.  But if you do, from now on, it will not be because of your story or upset.  It will be because of your love and commitment.  It will be your gift.  


Suggested Reading & Recordings for Agreement 2, 3 and 4: 

Bonds that Make Us Free  and Crucial Conversations

Click here to purchase "Oh My Soul." 

Click here to purchase Bonnie Rait's "I Can't Make You Love Me."