Issues Management

  1. Issues Management Overview 

  2. Managing "Outgoing"
    Key Concepts/Principles
    Breaking issues up into bite sized pieces

  3. Managing Incoming including playing "Restitution."

  4. Managing Incoming Short List, for When You're Flooded

  5. Issues List / The perfect parking spot for your disappointments

  6. Walk List

  7. Breakthrough

  8. Nightly Check in & Chit Chat

  9. Weekly Inventory

  10. Real Conversation and the "11 Articles of Peace"

  11. Love Seat (the ultimate operating room for occasional surgery)

Issues Management 

Taking Time to Foster Trust, Reverence, and Romance

The material in this section can seem overwhelming. It takes extra effort and extra time- more time than you feel you have. This is where you want to think abundance. What do I mean? Tithing, for example (paying 10% of your income to your church, or to a charity) is a double blessing for many a) you get to bless those in need. b) abundance, meaning God will do more with your remaining 90% than you could have done with 100%.

The same is true with issues management. To say, “I don’t have time for this stuff!” is like a workers at a nuclear plant saying, “i don’t have time to sharpen my practice of procedures, clarify life saving protocol or keep accurate records.” On the contrary, avoiding relationship melt downs through a systematic approach to issues management will create much more time - time for fun, productivity family activities and even a little more romance!

Your ability follow protocol is the "Defense Game" mentioned in the Couples GPS introduction. Your "Defense" game is not your defensive game.  By mastering CGPS processes you will end the negativity that is keeping you from running down the field, at full speed, toward the life and love you are born to experience (your offense game).

Issues Management Overview

1) Use an issues list.  Take your issues to your issues list and to God and your U.S.A. requests to your spouse.  Click here for "Issues List."  (Note: U.S.A. = Unloaded, Specific and Affirmative)

2) One issue at a time.  (unless you want to be dealing with a black hole from which there is no escape.)

3) Talk about issues only if both of you are feeling mutual respect.  Note:  This does not mean you need to be agreeing with each other.  You may never agree on certain things, but you do agree on respect.  Obviously this means you don't talk if there is any name calling, anger, sarcasm etc.  
Click here for: Managing "Outgoing" 

4) Know and follow the "Managing Incoming" and "Managing Outgoing" protocols.
Click here for: Managing "Outgoing" 
Click here for: Managing Incoming

5) Almost all conflicts are agreements begging to be made.  
Free yourself from the prison of the objective world, who's right and wrong, what the facts actually are etc.   Instead, continue in peaceful, respectful conversation until a win/win agreement is reached.  Creating truly win/win agreements is the path to peace.  This may not occur in just one meeting.  But trust me when I say, the peace between you is much more important than reaching the agreement.  If peace exists, a win/win solution can always be reached.  

Click here for Love Seat (for Defcon 1 issues - High stakes)
Click here for Real Conversation (for Defcon 2 issues - "Medium/rare" stakes)
Click here to read more about Couples Agreements

6) Nightly Check In & Chit Chat is a miraculous habit that will lead to both intimacy and peaceful, consistent issues management.  Click here: Nightly Check In & Chit Chat.

7) At all costs, avoid the temptation to bolt.  
Miracles await you after the trial of your faith.  Everything you want- emotionally and spiritually are through and in (not around) this relationship.  Read more here: Creating a path back to your heart 

Defcon Levels
Defcon 1 "Love Seat" (Deep issue, deep understanding, inspired resolutions) 
Defcon 2 "Relationship Cleanse", "Walk List", "Real Conversation." 
Defcon 3 "Issues List", Nightly Check In & Chit Chat.

Breakthrough, the central peace in issues management.

Managing Outgoing Issues

1) Determine what kind of issue this is.

If this is simply an operational request, see #2, below.

2) Operational requests - possibilities.

i.e. "could you bring in the stuff from the back of the car into my sewing room?", just make the request.  

Note, however, that in our busy, multi dimensional lives, it can be helpful and even healing to create some enrollment even with this kind of request i.e.  "Honey, I've got something (meaning I've got a request, or something quick to pass on to you etc.).  Is this a good time?" or "Honey, can I ask you something?" or "Jim (if you're not calling him Honey, and his name is Jim), there's a couple of things I need to go over.  Would this be a good time?" or "When would be a good time?

3) If this is a "loaded" issue or request, list it on your "Issues list" for now, then unload your story via "Walk List" and/or "Breakthrough."

A "loaded" issue 
means this issue currently stands as evidence that your spouse either doesn't care about you or your feelings, puts you last, doesn't care about your happiness etc.  These kinds of back stories can create a heavy load on what otherwise could be a simple, specific request.

4) After breakthrough work, decide between:

Converting your issue to a U.S.A. request during your Nightly Check In & Chit Chat.

Inviting your partner into a "Real Conversation" or

Inviting your partner to a "Love Seat."

A Central Theme: The Dot or the Circle 

If your relationship is in repair, you may want to consider keeping your issues on an "issues list" for a while.  

As you read over this material, a wonderful truth begins to emerge.  You bring one of two things to your loved ones:

One)  You will bring your unloaded content (the actual issue, request, concern etc.) or...

Two)  You will bring your story (your distrust, upset, panic, fight or flight).

This can be a subtle thing.  In fact, sometimes you can be split-  50% of what you're bring will be the actual issue (or content).  50% will be your story.   But if there is any story at all, your partner will likely only be hearing your story, despite your best efforts to share your content.

Thus, the key to outgoing (to approaching your partner with an issue or request) is to, whatever degree is possible, to heal your story first. 

To heal your story, you could do a walk list, or a breakthrough.

Please alsosee "Managing Incoming."  These two sections go hand in hand.

The greatest advice I ever received.

"Stop Talking / Start Breathing" (Managing your need for instant resolution)

Some time ago, during a dip in my own consciousness, one of my greatest teachers, DoriAnn Stubbs drove up to a campsite that my family was at.  She'd driven 4 hours.   I was sitting in the kitchen of a resort home we were staying in.  I heard Dori Ann and her family's car pull up (they were spending the weekend with us). She virtually ran through the front door, sat down at the kitchen table with me and said, "I've got a message from God."  I was ready.  She then uttered four of the most important words I have ever heard: "Stop talking.  Start breathing." 

This is the mother lode.  It is the whole thing in just 4 words.  Why on earth would you want to talk if you’re unconscious, full of your story, swimming around in your reactive mind and generally incapacitated?   You wouldn’t.  So don’t.  Don’t talk.    

This is so easy to get backwards.  We have great fears regarding disconnection from our love source. We think "I know if we could just talk this out right now, we could get this solved and I could feel secure again."  Makes sense, doesn't it?  The problem is, it rarely works.

The very moment you start to feel disconnected from the one who's love you so desperately need, stop talking and start breathing.  Start feeling.  Go to your issues list.  Start writing.  Go to God.  Start praying.  Pray to see the truth- how things really are- perhaps your spouse's hidden message of love, or what he or she is going, or the truth of who you really are vs. what he or she is implying etc.  

If you've already rushed in with your demand to work it out right now, and you can see where it's going, you could something like: “Maybe this isn't a good time for me to be talking to you about this.  I think I need to pray for a little while” and then go.     

While in your “time out”, pray that the Lord will put you in touch with your feelings.  Your feelings have almost nothing to do with your spouse.  Your feelings are in YOU, not in him or her.  The problem is you don’t know what you feel.  So you are like a blind man in a room full of wild dogs- flailing around, grabbing at ways to protect yourself.  In accessing your feelings (in feeling whatever it is you feel) you suddenly realize that there are no dogs- that there is nothing to protect yourself from.  Because what hurts is inside you. 

So as you feel your inner pain, your doubts, your grief- things you have stuffed down and swept away- as you actually feel it, you, at the same time, detach from your coping mechanisms; your defensiveness, your shut down, your endless arguments, position, debates or coercion.  Hallelujah! Now we’re getting somewhere.   By saying nothing, you are finally getting closer to what you really want.     

Managing "Outgoing" - Summary 

The next time you feel yourself and/or your partner going sideways:

  • Stop talking.  (If necessary, use one of the "Managing incoming" phrases from above.  Note: Let your spouse know that you are memorizing these- that this is part of your new personal constitution)..

  • Put the issue on an issues list

  • Start feeling.  Feel your guts out.  The more you feel, the less you will act out. 

  • Bring your feelings to God.  “Come unto me, ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  
    Work out your feelings with your Heavenly Father (not your spouse).  Talking with your spouse should only happen if and when you are both at peace.  You could still have fear, but not so much fear that you are removed from peace.  

  • Do breakthrough work i.e. “Walk List” or “Breakthrough.” 

  • Once you have returned to peace (a minute or 2, a few hours, and sometimes the next day) determine your approach i.e. Nightly Check In & Chit Chat, “Love Seat” or "Real Conversation" etc.

    VITAL, URGENT Note: These guidelines, to "Stop talking and start breathing" are for you, not your spouse. 

Please also see "Managing Incoming."  These two sections go hand in hand.

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