I remember standing in my kitchen, tears streaming down my face, as I realized the impact that this would have on my three young daughters. My wife had just told me to get out, that we were separating, that we were likely getting divorced. It was April 2020, and Covid lockdowns were in full swing.
I didn't know where to turn. Over the previous two years, I had gone through endless counseling, inner healing, books, intensive retreat weekends, men’s accountability groups; I had tried everything but nothing had changed me enough to repair my marriage.
Over the previous two months, I had walked through hell, was kicked out of my church, rejected by my best friends, publicly humiliated for a second time by my board of directors, was the focus of shame blogs posted from former staff members, facing the deep mental illnesses, and illegal activities in my extended family. Yet, I did not see this slap coming from my wife.
I moved out the next morning; this was my second time of being separated in the last three years. I was at absolute rock bottom.
As I laid on a children’s canopy bed at my parent’s house I recall trying to figure out how to repair the mess I had made of my life. I began watching these short little videos from a guy with a weird accent and a lot of confidence named Endre Gabori. I didn’t know anything about his program, but he sure seemed confident about helping men transform. A couple of days later, I signed up for his program, The Bulletproof Husband (TBH).
Now over a year later, I can say that the bulletproof husband has been one of the best decisions of my adult life. At the time that my wife kicked me out, her Psychologist had told her, “your husband is a Narcissist and groomer, and in forty years of clinical practice I have not seen men like your husband change,” and 90 days later he was calling my transformation “a miracle.” “Whatever they are doing in his group, it is working. He has made all the changes I didn’t expect him to make!”
I've spent my life in church and my adult life in full-time ministry. I've got my Doctorate in Ministry, written best-selling books, and traveled to 35 countries lecturing as a public speaker, and I've never seen anything that comes close to what TBH is doing.
Here I will share ten of the biggest takeaways, and I won’t be going into detail as these are huge concepts, but I will scratch the surface.
- 100% Responsibility
Over the years, I had accepted blame and fault, but never responsibility. Blame is a poison to the soul, yet taking 100% responsibility and ownership of your life and actions brings incredible power and choice. As I took full responsibility, there was no place in my life for blaming anyone else or ever playing the victim.
The program uses the metaphor of “bullets” to describe emotional wounds. Say, for example, that a little boy is regularly beaten and then tells himself that this happened because he is “weak.” Then that boy will grow up thinking he is weak and needs to overcompensate by becoming powerful, which will lead him to be controlling and manipulative. This would be referred to as the “weak bullet.” When that man gets married, his wife will figure out within a few months that he has a weak bullet lodged in his, chest and she will poke at it to wake him up to deal with it. This typically leads to the man reacting to the pain of having his bullet-hole poked and being triggered, defensive, and exploding externally or imploding internally, and going to find something to numb the pain of the bullet. This cycle of her poking, him being triggered, him numbing the pain, and then trying harder to overcompensate for the bullet, is the bullet cycle that I was stuck in for three decades. Personally, my biggest bullets were: Stupid, weak, evil, loser, and victim. Each of these manifested a different way and had their own way of overcompensating. And nobody else is to blame for a bullet we give ourselves bullets when something emotionally traumatic happens, and we feel our own bullets when someone else does something that “hurts us.”
Who am I as a man? This question had remained unanswered throughout my life. I tried to answer it through my beliefs and fulfilling my purpose, yet the deeper part of my core never felt touched by these answers. Once a man knows his terms, he knows what he would die for and will never compromise; standing firm for his terms makes his priorities clear and makes him unshakeable. Terms are very simple and clear, and they operate like boundaries, yet they are much more practical and masculine than boundaries.
- Let Others Manage
If it doesn’t violate my terms, then I let others manage my relationship with them. I am not chasing anyone down, I am not seeking anyone’s approval, and others determine how close or distant they want to be in relation to me. My door is open, and others are welcome to be as close as they want to be so long as it doesn’t violate my terms.
- Masculine & Feminine: Bowl and Water
I began learning about masculine and feminine dynamics back in 2017; I didn’t realize at the time that these concepts would be so fundamental to being rebuilt as a man. The metaphor we use in the program is that the masculine is like a bowl and the feminine is like water. The bowl is simple, solid, and consistent. Whereas water can be boiling hot, frozen solid as an iceberg, evaporated into a gas, falling as hail, splashing like refreshing waters on the beach, or stirred up in hurricane-like winds. The feminine is guided by feelings and changes rapidly, and the masculine (if it own bullets do not trigger it) can be a bowl that gives a safe place to the water, it does not control the water. The masculine allows the water to process what it is going through until it arrives back at a calm state.
Being “in” integrity is living according to your terms and dealing with your bullets, so they are no longer running your life. Being “out” of integrity is being inconsistent with your word and your terms, and likely, a bullet is in play. From this perspective, accountability becomes a daily practice. I can call up another man in the program, tell him what is going on with me, and within 15 minutes, he can tell me how I am out of integrity, I am not being responsible, I am being defensive or blaming someone else for my feelings, and my such and such bullet is reacting to the situation. I then know exactly what I need to deal with and he can hold my feet to the fire to make sure that I have dealt with it.
- 100% Trust
This was the most challenging concept to grasp. The ability to completely trust is directly tied to one’s inner solidness as a man. That if I am not trusting, it is always and only because of my own bullets that are being poked. I can no longer point my finger and blame others for my lack of trust. (This is a huge concept, I can’t unpack it here)
- Pulling Bullets (Men vs. Women)
Once I had identified my terms and worked on being the bowl, I became very aware of my bullets and was responsible for them, so now it was time to get rid of them. This was unique in all the years of counseling I have observed. The idea is that we can actually get rid of our triggers and be trigger-free. The way that men and women get rid of their bullets is also very different, and I found that the healing modalities I had experienced over the years were much more geared for women, and that’s why they didn’t do anything to help me get rid of my bullets. Once a man knows how to pull out his bullets, he actually is thankful when he gets triggered because then he knows what else he needs to deal with and he knows how to get the emotional work done.
- BPAs (Bulletproof Apologies)
Once a lot of emotional work had been done, I gave my wife very specific apology letters. These were based on behaviors that came from bullets, which I had pulled out and so the behaviors were eradicated permanently. These letters identified the behaviors, owned them 100% responsibly, showed empathy for the feelings she experienced because of my bullets, and showed her the emotional work I had done to remove those behaviors.
- Completing with Parents
For years I had sought out spiritual leaders to be a “father” to me because I felt like an orphan inside. I was seeking external parental validation because I had not completed the emotional process of maturity inside myself with my own parents. “Completion” is a five-phase process: Idolization (we see our parents as superheroes), Rebellion (we see our parents as the authorities we must push against for freedom), Approval seeking (we want our parents to applaud us as we get our degrees, our successful career, we have smart children, etc.), Acceptance (we finally accept our parents as simply flawed human beings no different than ourselves), Completion (we hold zero-blame toward them, as a man it is visible how a father provided the gift of masculinity and how a mother provided unconditional love to us, we have said what we needed to for us to be ok if they died today, there is nothing that you would change about your upbringing because you accept that everything made you into the incredible person you are today, the only thing messed up about the past are the bullets that you gave yourself when things happened). No longer needing external parental validation, I am able to be emotionally self-sufficient and bring supply to my relationships without ever taking from my relationships.
With these ten fundamental shifts and many others, my philosophy as a man completely changed, and I was on the road to restoring my wife’s trust. She invited me home 90 days later and shortly after that, I was invited to be a part of the Bulletproof Husband coach-training program. At first, I agreed to the training simply so that I could be held to higher accountability and go even deeper into my own healing and development, yet over time the opportunity of being a men’s coach has become a personal passion of mine as I have seen men made whole and marriages restored. My wife and kids are now thriving; and happy they were saved from an ugly divorce and the pain of being in relationship with the bullet-ridden man that I was.
As of July 2021, I have been certified as the first of my class as a professional coach with The Bulletproof Husband.
~ Dr. Jonathan Welton (D.Min, Vision International University) is the former President of the Welton Academy Supernatural Bible School (2013-2018). He is a prolific author whose work includes two bestsellers, The School of the Seers and Raptureless. He has lectured in over 35 countries, led teams on archeological tours around the Mediterranean, and is recognized as a theologian. Most notably, Dr. Welton is the originator of a theological system known as Better Covenant Theology (BCT). His BCT textbook, Understanding the Whole Bible, is used in colleges around the world and has been translated into multiple languages.
Jonathan resigned from all ministry positions in 2018 to go heal his marriage after a very public fall from grace. After countless professional counseling sessions, inner healing therapies, 12-step programs, marriage counseling appointments, brain wave echoing treatments, all to no avail, Jon and Karen separated a second time in three years. At that point, Jonathan found The Bulletproof Husband (TBH), and within 90 days, a major transformation had taken place and their marriage was on the road to health. Now over a year later, Jonathan has been through an intensive training program with the leaders of TBH, and has been certified as a professional coach in their methodology, specializing as a Marriage & Masculinity coach. Jonathan is also a graduate of Tony Robbins Leadership Academy and certified as a trained coach by Tony Robbins-Cloe Madanes Core 100 program.