Living Couples gps

Table of Contents

Starting Recommendations
Ongoing recommendations
Issues Management
Your Wish is My Command
Couple Prayer

STARTING recommendations

1) Please do a Relationship Cleanse as advised by coach (usually, at least 7 days). 

2) Read Basics, individually or as part of your nightly Couple Care. (Remember, whatever you read is about you, not your spouse).

3) Listen to The Power of 'I Am' every day (in your car, on a walk or run etc.). This will be the best $21 you ever spent.

4) 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.

5) Read Managing Incoming including "Skin in the Game."  
Note:  “Path of Peace” beginners, “Skin in the Game” is set up during a coaching meeting, not at home.  Just read it for now.

6) Read Managing "Outgoing"

7) Watch War Room.  90% of your success, moving forward is in this film.  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.

ONGOING  recommendations 

After one or two weeks of the above, talk to your coach and consider now, the below.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON OVERWHELM = Please decide how this all 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 & Chit Chat -  at least 5 nights a week, 5 to 20 minutes a night (whatever feels good to you both). Included in NCCC can be Couple Care 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.

Issues Management 

  • Ideally, hold all issues or loaded requests for either Nightly Check in & Chit Chat or Weekly Inventory, especially (notably) issues or requests that could imply poor performance or a character flaw.

  • Exceptions to “holding requests” should be U.S.A. request and abide the "1 Minute Rule": 
    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 & Chit Chat?" 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 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?  Thank you!" are things you may be inspired to address as they come up vs. Nightly Check In & Chit Chat.

  • Requests for Restitution are made during Nightly Check In & Chit Chat.  (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 & Chit Chat (ideally)  

  • Relationship cleanse by mutual consent, as needed.
    NOTE: Please start your coaching with John with at least a 7 day Relationship Cleanse.

  • 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 & Chit Chat. 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). 
    e) hiking.
    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.

Couple Prayer

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.