Agreement 2, 3 & 4 - A whole new world

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Table of Contents
Favorite Things (Gift Options)


As you consider the possibility of a “whole new world” notice that change is scary.  Just the thought of it might be making you sick (literally).  The current "you" is so comfortable with being being uncomfortable, with things not necessarily working for you too, that even as the alarm is sounding, you are tempted to hit the snooze button go back to sleep. Instead, simply notice your fear of coming through for the people you love and for yourself and then, as Gaye Hendricks says, wave goodbye to this old you and go on to the unimaginable.  Alleluia!! 

The following material is an invitation to meditate on how Agreement 2, 3 and 4 can be a "whole new world" - a world of not being a victim, a world without resentment, a world where things work for you too, a world of loving your neighbor as yourself, a world where your heart feels open and full of love.

AGREEMENT 3 - boundaries

Living in my boundaries means that
I notice when something isn’t comfortable
I work through and live in the “centering questions” and
I’m willing to have hard conversations (boundary conversations)

In all of this I’m willing to lovingly lead you to something that can work for both of us. This is how I protect my love for you. This is how I stand for you, this is how I stand for me and this is how I stand for us.


Agreement 2 is the underlying state of trust in which I ask myself the centering questions. How can I lead you or inspire you to something that works for both of us if I am insane?  (if I am a victim or in my story). 

Agreement 2 keeps me sane by challenging me to see the love. "I will see the love that is possible between us.  I will see the truth of the love I believe you at least want to give.  This my operating system for asking and answering the centering questions.


Agreement 2, 3 and 4 says "through the grace of God I will dissolve my story of powerlessness, personal danger, and distrust so that I can come through for you and assist you in coming through for me." 

Please note that sometimes you actually are in danger and need to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of harm's way.  A "story" however is your fear of powerlessness, detachment, worthlessness or not being lovable.  Our story is the fear of our very soul disintegrating.


says "I am a lighthouse, guiding you, the best I can, safely home to the love I believe you want to give. I will continue to notice where you are in your relationship with me.  I am willing to lead you into possibilities that could work for both of us.  i love you so much that I am willing to guide you toward how to love me.  i am willing to love my neighbor as myself."


says, in standing for our relationship I am willing to love vs. control.  I am willing to show you the way back to my heart and to cheerlead you in your journey" i.e. boundary conversations, encouragement, probation, limits on privileges, opportunities for restitution, forgiveness, consequences (what gifts you feel inspired to give).   


listening & Validation - The all-purpose additive in your new world

Gary and Joy Lundberg, authors of “I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better” (an inspiring book) define “validation” as “walking emotionally beside someone, without trying to change their direction.”

In a high stakes communications, at any point you can infuse the warm and loving light of listening and validating, e.g., “Honey I can see that you and I just can’t seem to get on the same page today. Tell me what’s going on from your end. I just want to listen for a while. Tell me everything you’re feeling.”

Remember that you want to validate people’s feelings as a way of giving to them- as a way of loving—not as a way of giving in to them or of getting their approval or of ultimately getting your way!  Some motives strengthens your boundaries. Some weaken them. 

Listening and validating is such a win/win. Number 1, it is one of the most loving gifts you can ever give. And number 2, because of this love, it tends to take you out of the conflict that is weakening your boundaries.  Now you can show up as the strong, self-respecting man or woman of dignity and boundaries that you truly are. When someone feels your love and your strength, they are inspired to end the conflict and to consider possibilities that could work for both of you.

Either way though- as you gain respect and love for yourself, through listening to and validating another person’s feelings, you will not be as tempted to grovel and give up your boundaries to gain the self-esteem that you now already have.

Validation and listening just to understand (vs. so you can get a turn to give your point of view) is the bedrock of peace and resolution.  Everything good will be built up from this ground.  Without it, everything tends to fall apart.

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The essential task of validation is to escape the dark prison of what you consider to be “the truth.”

Listening and validating is about honoring another person’s subjective experience. 

When it comes to finding your way to someone’s heart and creating resolutions, it SO doesn’t matter what the objective truth is.  When seeking to understand, in fact, sometimes the objective truth can be your worst enemy.   

Here’s what matters:  What is your partner is experiencing, inside of him or her? You don’t really know what’s going on in there, so how can you possibly disagree?  

In reality, as much as you think he or she has missed the mark on how it “really is”, you’re probably missing it even more. When it comes to a lot of your relationship drama, neither of you will ever actually ever know how it “really” is.  Let it go!  Let the objective “truth” go and let your sweetheart’s subjective experience fill your ears, your heart, and your soul. Listen to hear and to understand and to validate.

It sounds like this:  “So I think what I’m hearing you say is....”  “Have I got it?”  “Is that it?”   “Tell me more.”

What are boundaries all about?

Meditating on these, with an open and a relaxed mind will open you up to higher levels of thinking. These mantras are a good summary of what boundaries are about.

  • I am willing to notice your level of your sincerity and/or commitment.

  • I’m committed to this relationship working for both of us.

  • I will honor your confusion by matching the level or your commitment with the level of our involvement. 

  • I love you and I love me. 

  • The bus is in motion (I would love you to join me in life, but if you don’t, I will find someone that will )

  • If I’m single, to the degree that you’re confused- to that same degree I’m open to other offers. 

  • I will never leave you. I will never leave me (especially for couples).


    • In my co-dependence I have left you already.

    •  In my reactivity (fight or flight) I have left you already.

    • In my resignation I have already left you.

  • I am willing to love you by guiding you toward what works for both of us.

  • I am willing to guide you, cheer-lead you & encourage you vs. resent you.

  • I am willing to tell myself the truth about where you are.

  • I’m willing to honor your sustained confusion or insincerity by loving you from a distance.

  • My boundaries are my way of loving you, not exiling you.

  • My boundaries are about my commitment to you, not my story about you.

  • My boundaries are not my way of keeping you out. They are my way of keeping me in (in my right mind).

  • My boundaries are incremental vs. 0 to 60.

  • I am the steward of my good feelings for you.  If I’m not feeling good toward you, I did that.

  • My boundaries are about me asking and then answering the “centering questions” (see below).



Consider these affirmations:

I notice when I’m not comfortable with something or when something isn’t working for me too. 

I am committed for it to work for both of us.

I spend time with God breaking through my stories of personal danger (fears about my personal worth, powerlessness or lovability) so that I can peacefully consider centering questions:

1) What am I willing to do?  
2) What am I not willing to do?   
3) What do I feel would be best for everyone involved?  This often includes a cost/benefit analysis
4) What am I not seeing?  What seeking to get through to me, even now, even in this very moment?  What is another way of looking at this that will assist me in answering the above 3 questions?
5) What do I want?  What is it I would like to see happen, in the final analysis?  What is it I'm trying to create in connection with this?  This is also a good question to start with.

My boundaries are the face of my love and my commitment, nothing else- not my story, not my upset, not my need to blame or project and especially not my need to control.

I will do whatever it takes to make sure we are both feeling good about this relationship or situation.   I will show the real you how to love the real me.  I will stand for you and I will stand for me.  I will come through for you in a way that works for the real you- a way that works for both of us. 

I’m willing to do what you asked me to do when I traveled into the future and visited with you in my time machine. (i.e. to not let you go out with certain friends, to make sure you eat your vegetables, to do an intervention if you're on drugs etc.).  There in the future, you pleaded with me to come through for the real you.  I will.  I promise.  I will come through for you.  

I choose consequences, not punishment i.e. when A occurs, we both agree that will be the consequence.  

Note: Punishment says "I'm angry."   Consequence says "I'm committed."

I create and refine my boundaries, incrementally 


Even a deer in the headlights will move if you are coming at him slowly enough. At 80 miles an hour, he probably won't make it.

The Term Defcom is useful in understanding the incremental process of boundaries. It is a military term to describe the likelihood of nuclear war (5 being “be alert”, to 1, being “push the red button”).

Boundaries, however, isn’t about getting people to do what you want or you will blow them up! Boundaries is about your commitment to stay in your right mind (vs. nuclear melt down) in hopes of inspiring someone toward something that works for both of you.

The incremental clarification of your boundaries (your personal answer to the centering questions) means clarifying:
a) how close your loved one is to the cliff (to losing involvement or privileges with you) and
b) how close you are to losing your mind (both, very important issues and both part of the process of boundaries).


  • "Honey, would you be willing to start coming home earlier, like 10 PM?"

  • Sometime later  "Honey, can we sit down and figure out something that could work for both of us on this?"

  • A week later  "Honey, I can see coming home early isn't something you're feeling good about.  Tell me what's going on for you?" 

  • Two weeks later " Honey, I'm still concerned about you being out so late, especially since you get off at 6.  I don't think it's the best for our family.  Would you be willing to go to a counselor with me and maybe we can both get some insights or help on this."

  • One month later  "Honey, I'm getting the feeling that you're not that interested in making sure things are working for both of us, and that isn't working for me.  I think we need to consider a separation.

Coach Carter is a wonderful example. Determined to come through for a team of struggling kids at Richmond High in California, Coach Carter committed his basketball team (in writing) to a minimum level GPA. They didn’t take their agreement with him very seriously (his “stand” for them). Carter would not let them down. Even though they were on a winning streak, when the grades dropped Carter chained and locked the gym. His personal boundary, in other words, what he was willing do, and not willing to do was life changing for these kids. They squawked at first, of course. Carter had bricks thrown through his window, parents screaming at him, and even negative press on local news. But he would not abandon his boys.

How would he have abandoned them? The same way most of us abandon those that that need us to be strong; by giving them what they wanted vs. what they needed.

This is love. This is coming through for yourself and the people you are called to love and serve- noticing their level of commitment (Agreement 3) and extending the appropriate action, or "gift" (Agreement 4) - a gift that will demonstrate your commitment and create the highest good for everyone, a gift that will let a loved one know that you care about him than you do the discomfort both of you may experience by have hard conversations, by having hard boundaries.

Just at the brink of giving up, Coach Carter, walking out of his office, looks over at the gym and sees that the chains have been unlocked, but of walking into a basketball game, this is what he walks into. This is the result of living in your boundaries- of asking yourself what the highest good will be for everyone involved and then lovingly holding your ground.

This isn’t about getting your way

Boundaries and giving Love vs. Control (Agreements 3 & 4) is your commitment to a relationship that works for everyone. You're simply not comfortable with any other approach.  This kind of incremental (or "Defcom") communication isn't about controlling someone, it's about coming through for them.  "I will stand for us.  I will stand for you. I will stand for me.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes for this to work for both of us."

In connection with this, there are no surprises in my relationships- no running, bolting, disappearing etc.  You will always know where you are with me.  And if you are close to the edge of the cliff [i.e. to separation, divorce, being fired, going to the boy's ranch etc.), you will feel my love, yes, and you will know how close you are to the edge).

I am 100% clear about my boundaries. I communicate them, declare them, make requests like it’s the first time, create loving and supportive text and emails, have boundary conversations, even draw pictures if necessary (as inspired). 

I am the steward of my good feelings for you. If at any time I don't have good feelings for you, I created this (through not having boundaries).

I don't have to fix you.  I don't even have to completely understand your behavior.  I just have to make sure that I'm here for you, and how I'm here for you is continuing in whatever conversation and boundaries are necessary for us both to be happy. By being here for me too, you can be assured that I'll always be here for you.  

I am 100% committed to experiencing a positive, loving and amazing relationship with you and I will do whatever it takes to create and to keep the love flowing between us. 

I am 100% committed to making sure this works for both of us. 

I am 100% committed to protecting the love we share. 

I am 100% committed to building a bridge to you your heart.    

My boundaries are to keep my love in- not to push you out!

We answer the centering questions from the basement, not the roof.
Our "stories" are like the "stories" in a large building of fears, lack of integrity and darkness that need our attention.  As we descend into the basement of all that we feel, all that we regret, all that we are hiding from, we find the comfort of God, who reaches for us as we reach for Him.
It is, therefore, in our total consciousness of all we fear and all we feel that we invoke the total love and healing of God.\
"Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy (and healing) through mine Only Begotten Son..." - Alma (Italics added)

In this, Agreement 2 (Trust) and Agreement 5 (Healing the Real Wounds) make us able and willing to discern the answer to the centering questions.

Boundary Worksheet

Instructions: Think of an issue and/or situation you are uncomfortable with (a stretching rubber band) and work through the following:

“Sometimes, because of my personal fears and stories I try to get (name of person you’re thinking about) ______________ to _________________________________."

When he or she doesn’t cooperate, I tend to ______________________. 

Trying to control him/her (instead of healing my fears and minding my own business) creates a downward spiral of pressure, hurt, defensiveness and frustration which leaves me feeling dark and unhappy.”

(Pause for a moment and allow a natural sorrow to emerge. It’s painful to be in door #2 isn’t it? This sorrow carves out a space for hope- so now, feel the hope. God can make you a giver, not a taker- a lover instead of a controller.)

So, instead of trying to get __________________ (name of person) to (or to stop)_______________ what I am willing to do (or what I could do) is__________ .”  (See "Favorite Things Menu Options" below Julie Andrews


(Growing boundary molecules in your brain)

Ask yourself, or have a friend ask you these questions:
If you're having someone else ask you these questions, he or she doesn't need to know anything about the issue.  If you are working alone, just ask each question, as listed below, to yourself, making notes on answers that come up for you.

1) “With respect to this issue, what are you willing to do?  (Ask 3 times, leaving time to answer each time.)

2) “What are you not willing to do or to endure?” (Ask 3 times, leaving time to answer each time.)

3) “How would things need to be or what would need to happen for you to feel good about this?” (Ask 3 times, leaving time to answer each time.)

4) “What are you not seeing?” (Ask 2 times.  Leave time to answer each time).

5) “As you think about your answers to the questions above, what do you truly feel would be in the best interest of everyone involved?”  (Ask only once)

6) “Please go back and rethink your answers to 1 - 5.”  (Just a brief overview)

7) “What’s keeping you from doing whatever it takes to feel comfortable about this situation, or relationship?” (Ask 2 times.)

8) “What would you feel, or what would be the benefit to you, of living within your boundaries, or in other words of guiding your loved ones and associates toward mutual love, respect, and regard- of thinking in terms of what works for everyone- including you?!”


1) Am I at peace?  If not, this will not be a boundary conversation.  It will be a war.  Am I experiencing enough unconditional trust to get on the same side of this issue?- to sit, so to speak, with my arm around him or her, looking at the issue together vs. looking at him or her as the issue!? 

2) What is this conversation about? Is it to insist that this person put you out of your misery- to convince this person to cooperate with your plan for his or life? etc.

Or, is it to stand for this person- to let him or her know where he or she is with you- or how close he or she is to the edge of the cliff and the road back to your heart (or back to your trust).

If in doubt go back to Pre-Flight Checklist question #1, “Am I at peace?”  If not, don’t talk. 

Four of the most important words anyone has ever spoken to me: “Stop talking. Start Breathing” (DoriAnn Stubbs).  

In other words, “Stop talking and start praying.  Stop talking and start doing breakthrough work. Stop talking and start walking in the forest to talk to God about what your life will stand for- love? or something else.

If you don’t feel that your boundary conversation will occur as a gift- if you are convinced this person is selfish, or thoughtless, or is out to get you- consider an Attraction Process and/or Breakthrough work before a Boundary Conversation.

3) Why are you wanting to talk?- To give or to get?  Of course, one of the greatest gifts you can give, often, is your boundary.  So is this conversation a gift?  Only you know.


1) Enrollment i.e. “Hey Bob [Please don’t say this unless his or her name is Bob], I wanted to talk with you about something.  Is there a good time? or would you have a few minutes right now?” etc.  (Note: Be careful not to explain what’s up before enrolling this person into a conversation with you.  If he or she says, “What is it about?” you could say something like, “It will take a few minutes- is there a good time? or could you talk right now?”, or “I really want to make sure we have a little time for this. It’s not a big deal, but I’ve learned that anything important is worth sitting down and talking about” etc. , or whatever you’re inspired to say.

Before you start the conversation, make sure he or she is settled i.e.., “Let’s sit over here for a minute.  Does this work?” “Thanks for talking with me” or “Can I get you something to drink?” etc.  Note: If this is a boundary conversation with a spouse, having a pie baked in advance is recommended (naturally sweetened of course vs. white sugar).

2) Explain what’s going on with you, not him or her (This will serve as a brief preview of this boundary conversation).  
The meat of a boundary conversation is to share your feelings- an honest and humble description of what’s happening inside of you and why you’re even talking (because boundaries are about you, not him or her) i.e.

“What’s been going on with me lately is ______________________________  e.g., I’m not feeling good about you coming home from work so late”, “I’m not comfortable with the way you talk to me sometimes”, “I’m really needing everyone to pitch in on chores”, “I’m not feeling good about going into any more debt.” etc.

"When this happens, where I go with it is ___________. it makes me feel ________________" 

“It’s getting really hard for me that (or “to”) _________________”

3) Pivot (Opening up the conversation to explore possibilities)

“There’s a couple of things I’d like to invite you to consider, that could make this work for both of us”  and/or   “What are your thoughts?” or,

“Would you be willing to talk with me about this (whatever the issue is) until we can work out something that works for both of us?" 

4) Explore resolution / Choose your gifts (one of your "Favorite Things.")
As you head into the highlight of this conversation, let’s take a final look at why you are talking or what this conversation is about.  

It’s about your willingness to have things work for you too.  It’s about your willingness to do whatever it takes to preserve your love for someone (set protect your love, hence the word “boundaries”).  It’s about your willingness to come through for (to stand for) this person’s real self.  It’s about your willingness to build and protect a bridge of mutually acceptable behavior between your lives and a bridge of love between your hearts. 

In all of this, you are responding to the centering questions (meaning, living in your boundaries). You are living in love instead of sinking into the abyss of victim, passivity, helplessness, fear, fight, flight. control or resignation.  

Obviously, you may not want to say all of this (as I’ve put it), but you definitely want to hear this in your heart, in the background of any boundary conversation. 

Continuing in examples of what a boundary conversation could look like:
“Here’s what I’m willing to do” and/or “I’m not willing to....” (What behaviors are putting this person at the edge of the cliff?) “But I am willing to...” (Ways you can support this person to resolve this issue)

"Would you be willing to ________________?”   

“What do you think would be best and fair for everyone?”   

“Here’s where this might be heading if it keeps going in this direction….      (What will be increasing? What will be diminishing?), or

“Bob, I just wanted to let you know that I completely forgive you for this” or

“Barb, I’ve rethought this and I’m content to go forward with what we’ve got” or   

“I know this is hard Jim.  I wish I could think of something else” or

“I’m not really sure what else to do.” (where little Jimmy is struggling with why he can’t go out to play until he’s cleaned his room etc.)   

“Honey, I’m not doing too well right now" (or “I’m feeling like I’m getting into my story”). "Could we pray right now?” 


Agreement 2 (Trust) makes it possible to escape our story of distrust and helplessness and to lovingly ask our self the centering questions i.e. "What am I willing to do?" etc.

Asking the "Centering Questions" (Agreement 3 - Boundaries) leads to answering the questions (Agreement 4 - Love vs. Control)

The Synergy of 2, 3 & 4.  In our journey from victim, fear, reactivity, fight, flight and a closed heart to living in love we bring our “boundary conversation” into an even larger picture of “Favorite Things” (of which a boundary conversation is only one of many options). 

The “Favorite Things” list is a menu of choices that support living in your boundaries (living inside the 4 centering questions) and giving love vs. being a victim or being controlling.  They are how you give vs. try to get.

The key to the list is the ground work of Agreements 2 & 3; Unconditional trust and living in breakthrough combined with an unwavering willingness to live in the centering questions.  

Only a heart that can see another for who he really is (rather than the filter of your disappointment or suspicion) can experience enough discernment to fully take advantage of this menu (The “Favorite Things”).  Additionally, as you are willing to love your neighbor as yourself you will experience the discipline and willingness to develop win-win solutions.


  • True love = No surprises (letting you know where you are with me)

  • True love = Seeking clarification as a way of unraveling judgment and emotional divorce.

  • True love = Giving you a chance to come through (being patient, while at the same time being careful about how much trust and privileges to extend)

  • True love = Proactive vs. reactive.

  • True love = Guidance, invitation, encouragement and boundaries vs. pressure, guilt, force or check out.

  • True love is being clear about what you are willing to do, and then doing just what you said you’d do.

Agreement 3) “Boundaries,” says,  “I’m willing to ask the centering questions (I’m willing to live there).”

Agreement 4) “Love vs. Control” says “I’m willing to answer the questions.”

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“These are a few of my favorite things”   
"When the spouse bites- When the child stings- When I’m in my story, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!"    

These are the ways I choose to stay in my body, protect my good feelings for you and live in love. These are my responses to the centering questions.  These are the ways I choose to love my neighbor as myself.   

Agreement 3 is to ask the centering questions.  

Agreement 4 is to answer them, or in other words to lead and to love someone toward something that can work for both of you.  

This process of asking yourself the centering questions and then acting on your answers is called living in your boundaries.

Favorite things options

Answers to the centering questions

Breakthrough (always a good first option in answer to the centering questions)- I am willing to talk to you only when I’m at peace- only when I’ve collapsed the circle of my distrust. 

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.)

Service or gifts -  one of the fastest ways to build a bridge between you and your loved one’s heart is service.  Just serve!  Just love!  See how this works in opening your heart.  Examples: clean garage, take this person to dinner, purchase a cruise to Bahamas etc. Note: There’s a difference between trying to get someone else’s love and genuinely giving yours. You know, and he or she knows. Agreement 4, Love vs. Control

Request for clarification, or “checking in” with someone e.g., “Mary, I wanted to ask you something about about last night.  Could I do that?”  Wait to see if this works for your loved one. Then continue i.e. “When we were having dinner last night with my parents and you answered your phone, was that an emergency of some sort? I’m guessing it was. I just wanted to make sure.”

Forgiveness, completely- no other questions asked.  -  Always a sublime option.  Forgive his or her's trespasses against you.
…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.)

Completely give up on getting this person to see the error of his or her ways in this situation. To create the best good, for everyone, overall, I'm willing to choose my battles carefully.  This will not be one I choose." 

Patience & Encouragement  - truly a premier face of love.
...Speak to the possibility, not the disappointment- cheer leading, watering the flowers etc.

Apology e.g. “I’m sorry (for ________). I do have a tendency to _____.  I was only thinking of myself.  Will you forgive me?”

Clarify boundaries i.e. "I'm not willing for this to happen again"  And I'm willing to let you know what I will do if it does."  

Enrollment into a "Real Conversation" 
To "enroll" is to invite you into a possibility of communication- a possibility that your partner will feel safe entering or not  i.e. to hear your feedback, feelings and/or request etc. "Bill, I have something I want to talk about.  Would you be willing to spend a few minutes with me?" i.e. "So what's happening for me right now is that I'm feeling really uneasy with this." etc.  (See "Couples GPS" Materials for the "Articles of Peace" and the full story on a "Real Conversation")

Listen  i.e. "Honey, it seems like you need to talk." (I'm willing to just listen, with no other motive other than to understand, regardless of any of the guidelines provided in the "Path of Peace" materials.)

Unloaded, specific, affirmative request i.e.  'Mary, Would you be willing to talk with me about what's going on with you?' or 'Jimmy, would you please clean up the kitchen?' or 'Bill, if you wouldn't mind, could you make sure you take off your shoes when you come in from gardening?'

Make a request like it's the first time (Unloaded, no story, specific, affirmative)."
i.e. "Jimmy would you be willing to start the dishes now?"  (Half hour later, Jimmy is still playing video games) "Jimmy, would you be willing to start on the dishes now?" etc.  By making requests like it's the first time, every time, the person you're talking to begins to actually hear what you're asking vs. hearing your upset, story or disappointment.

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 ...”

Invitation to get specific: “When could you do this?”

Request to provide clarification e.g, “Would you be willing to let me give you another perspective on this?” or “I know it seemed like __________________________.  What was really going on with me was that ________________________.” [Example: “I know it looked like I have was having lunch with my secretary, Barbara.  What was really going on was that my cousin, Jenny, had just shown up after 20 years.  I know she looks a lot like Barbara.”

Note: This often turns out to be a thinly disguised effort to defend your self. Only provide clarification if you feel it will bless the other person (vs. defend you).

Schedule issues management vs. RAIM (random access issues management) i.e. Sunday morning Issues meetings, Inventories, "Love Seats" and "Real Conversations).  See "Path of Peace"

Boundary conversation - a loving conversation to explore ways to make this relationship or situation work for both of us.  See "Boundary Conversation" in the section above.  

Request for Restitution:  “I may need a foot rub for that” (or a clean garage).  In other words "My trust in your commitment and/or love is a little wounded right now.  I could use some kind of a token of your love.  That would mean everything to me."  (Note: Talk is cheap.  So are your "I'm sorries")

Self Restitution "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."

Probation “It looks like we may need to take some time out.  I really hope you can figure out what you want. Because I know what I want.  I want to be with you.” or…

"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."

 Note: The “Couples GPS” workshop and/or couple coaching is an opportunity to fully Master this “Favorite Things” list!

Clearing (“Clearing” is to honestly share what’s happening inside of you, vs. telling someone who they are, or blaming or implicating them in any way.)

Self enrollment in your loved one’s need to clear i.e. "Honey, I can tell you're upset.  I'm going to sit down here and listen.  Please just let it out.  (Just don't throw anything. {just kidding, don't say that}.)

Validation to bring peace to your boundaries:  End the war. Maintain peace about your boundaries! There are no boundaries without internal peace- only war. Validation replaces war with peace and control with love.  This is a powerful tool because boundaries are about being there for your loved one- standing for him, not separating yourself from him or her.  Let him or her understand, most importantly, that you understand what he or she is feeling. Your empathy and understanding strengthen each of your tendencies to live in a way that works for both of you.

Validating someone’s feelings says:  “I don’t go to war.  I go to understanding and empathy. I will stand strong in my choices, and, I will love you and support you in yours, even if it means I lose you." 

“Let me see if I understand what you are feeling?” (then, if you still feel the same way about what you're willing to or not willing to do etc., reassert your boundary). 

i.e. “I know this is hard.  I wish I could think of something else” and/or “I’m not really sure what else to do” (where the person you’re talking to is struggling to understand why the relationship can’t continue as it is, or, when Johnny is struggling with why he can’t go to a friend’s house until he’s cleaned his room) “I’d be happy to let you go to Billy's house (I could even take you) as soon as you’ve cleaned your room."

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