Come to Jesus Meetings

The results are in and were a bit of a surprise to me. I asked:

Is it possible to have a relationship without Come to Jesus meetings?”


Bar graph

55% said, “Yes”

9% said, “Yes, but when CTJ occurs the relationship is over.”

9% said, “No, CTJ hurt the relationship.”

27% said, “No, CTJ help the relationship.”

If you did not answer because you did not know what a CTJ meeting is, here are the basics. When you have a non-negotiable (belief, opinion, tenet, rule, written-in-stone) and Mate breeches the armored-guarded, razor-wire-wrapped, moated, stone-walled perimeter, it is time for a Come to Jesus meeting.

You simply state this is not something up for negotiation. If the behavior does not change, you will have no choice but seek alternative remedy, be that a new relationship, end of friendship, violence, verbal abuse, general tantrum, property destruction, cataclysm, you get the idea.

Dante and Virgil in Hell

Nicknamed after the Southern Baptist tradition of “hell, fire and brimstone” sermons, CTJ is the way out of the damnation and into redemption.

55% can

Hallelujah! More than half of those polled have open lines of communication! The number one way to avoid the CTJ meeting is to be talking to your partner about those things which truly concern you, drive you bats and threaten your relationship.

9% are over

This is the saddest of the results. If your relationship ends because you spoke your mind about a non-negotiable, it was a relationship not meant to be. Before you stalk off to find something new, be sure you are headed into something better.

A bunch of Razor Wire atop a chain link fence

  • Is this truly a non-negotiable?
  • Can you start the relationship with the non-negotiables?
  • Can you be fair in a CTJ meeting?

Did the relationship end because you acted badly in the CTJ meeting? Or was it truly about not being able to come to the mutually beneficial middle ground of compromise? Keep reading before you answer.

9% are hurt

While not as tough as the “over” crowd, this group is split into two camps: (1) Rants (2) Wrongs

Polonius and Gertrude defaultanim argue

Rants: Instead of presiding over the CTJ meeting in a calm and matter-of-fact manner, you were a tyrannical, blame-assigning, unforgiving, unreasonable dictator. Commonly referred to as: “My way or the highway”

Wrongs: Mate simply cannot abide your non-negotiable. Whether as a matter of character, deeply-seated belief or intolerance, Mate simply cannot get there from here. This is a no-blame scenario, as it is merely incompatibility. True compromise is not reached, and the relationship suffers.

Had the meeting been held properly, the hurt would not appear. Let’s look at the 27% for how.


27% were helped

I look at this as building an addition to your relationship. Maybe you did not know when you got together you were bothered by the telephone ringing at 0500 every morning with Mate’s bestie jabbering about the future of gym sock lint…and even more by Mate’s enthusiastic, animated responses during the 45 minute conversation and the 25 minute post-game show during your first cup of coffee.

By all means, Come to Jesus. Let Mate know your level of tolerance for the stock market over scones and espresso.

This group has mastered the art of saying:

You know, dear, I love that you and Pat have had this bonding time, but really prefer it not interrupt the last moments of the wonderful dreams I have about you and extend into the quiet time where I appreciate all the good in our lives over the pot of coffee I long to share with you each morning.”

Gag Factory

Oh, stop gagging. The successful CTJ is liberally sweetened with praise for the good things in the relationship. It makes the contrast of the peppery reaction to the behavior crystal clear. Remember, it is not about hurting Mate’s feelings, depriving Mate of anything or demeaning something Mate finds important or beneficial.

Author’s Note: While this post is set between mates, it equally applies to friends and parents/children.


What was your funniest CTJ meeting over?


© Red Dwyer 2011
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  1. I don’t consider CTJ’s to be funny. I think that they are often destructive, even with a strong, loving relationship. Most relationships are comprised of a strong-willed, independent, outgoing person and a meeker( not necessarily weaker), quieter, more relaxed person. Usually, it is hard for these different personalities to have a CTJ without an interpreter. Either one gets hurt, or the other feels their space invaded. That’s just my opinion though, Grant

    • I agree when CTJ’s are about immensely personal issues. On the other hand, I had a CTJ with Russell over his lack of basketball skills, since he was a pitcher. I could not fathom HOW he could not possibly hit a basket, 3′ in diameter, with a rolled up pair of dirty socks. It resulted in him taking closer shots and me not blowing a gasket when I emptied the basket.

      I think CTJ’s are a healthy part of a relationship to keep people from hoarding a lot of “miffed” until it becomes the destructive volcano…the cataclysm from which there is no return.

      2 more cents,

  2. James Parsons

     /  November 28, 2011

    I don’t think CTJ meeting are very funny, they hurt you ,but can help your relationship, if both people stay open to each other. My first CTJ got me kicked out of her life and sense then I have been trying to rebuild this relationship on stronger grounds. So far no luck. People make mistakes, that how we learn, and grow. Be willing to at least try and work things out if you love mate and want to be with mate then forget the past and work on now. If you make each other happy then be happy. Work together and tell each other what is on your mind, don’t hold it back until your pissed off. Learn to talk to each other not at one another. I have learn alot from my CTJ encounter and believe me it truly isn’t fun. Sometimes we also need to take our own advice. Great job Red. .

    • Some CTJ’s are truly no fun. Others can be laughed at later.

      One (of many) CTJ I had with my son involved his inability to park his truck. It came about after three warnings to hit the driveway in a spot where others could get around him. When he had to bum a ride for a week, he learned how to find his spot in the driveway and be courteous to the rest of us who also parked there. CTJ’s are always about learning how to live in harmony with one another.

  3. Angela Young

     /  November 28, 2011

    I have never heard of it and still find myself a bit confused. I’ll have to think on this for a bit. I’ve had a few though:)

  4. James Parsons

     /  November 28, 2011

    This really didn’t answer much. Should you and mate sit down and discuss the situation at hand and try to work things out, or just give up. Bear, this in mind relationships are not built in a day but can be destroyed in seconds.

    • I would have to agree and disagree. I agree relationships are not built in a day.

      I disagree with their destruction in a matter of seconds. Most CTJ meetings are a result of continued behavior which comes to the place where Mate 1 cannot handle Mate 2’s inability to see how that behavior is (irritating, infuriating, hurtful, hateful).

      Hope that clears the air! Red.

  5. …A very interesting poll…
    I wonder what the next one
    will be? 🙂 Well I didn’t take
    part in this one, but I have
    on other Spaces so I will
    wait and see what the new
    one is about… Then I will
    click on whatever I think 🙂

    I hope you are enjoying a
    wicked night Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • I truly am, Andro! I see you are on early this fine evening, although still quite late on your end. You may want to comment on my late post today, as I am asking all for their personal take on my subject. I certainly hope the bing from my tele is your newest script. I could do with some flavor. Have a wicked night, my friend. Red xxx

      • Yes I did have another one to offer but I have scrapped it, so will be writing, and adding another one very soon, hopefully this evening but who knows? Actually I am so far behind on my visiting it is getting to be a bit of a joke… Not a good joke either, so I need to get my skates on and visit more often, well I do try… Yes I am trying 🙂 lol

        Have a wonderful evening Red 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • Keep the scrap close. You never know when it will be properly Zombiefied. They all come back to life, and you know it! Might I suggest a motorbike over skates? Red xxx

      • Yes why not, and perhaps some of those
        that I have recently added to my Space will
        be to your liking? 🙂 Well maybe 🙂

        I am going over to your
        nominated Spaces next…
        And then maybe a new
        posting 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        • Already mined some of the jewels from your blog roll. I shall make my way all the way to the end of your lengthy, um, list. 😉 xxx Red.

  6. Bear

     /  November 28, 2011

    The more I read the more I figure out. CTJ s need to be handled by both in a tactful way, not the bull in the china closet method. It’s not a blame game, as you have said, but can turn into one rapidly. I read and learn from you as always.

    • While I will never advocate sugarcoating anything, the CTJ pill is always one which does require the spoonful shovel of sugar to go down. Glad you could visit and be today’s 300th visitor, Bear. Red.

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