If you’re reading an article about how to improve your marriage, you’re probably expecting to learn problem-solving strategies, communication techniques, and insights about gender differences. Do I have a SURPRISE for you!

The key to renewing your marriage is none of those things.

How do I know this? Because I experienced it!

Hi, my name is Mort Fertel, author of Marriage Fitness, and unlike other relationship experts who approach the topic from a clinical perspective, for me marriage renewal is very personal. I’d like to share with you my story.

My wife and I started out deeply in love. I remember staying up all night talking, surprising each other with thoughtful gifts, and speaking to each other in code words. You know the feeling of really being connected? That was us.

But then something happened that destroys most marriages. We had a son who died when he was just one week old. And then we had twin daughters, who also died as newborns.

Understandably, my wife became depressed. I coped by immersing myself in work. We ran from each other emotionally.

Your situation probably was not so tragic, but something happened. What was it? How did you lose each other? Maybe you can’t put your finger on it, but things just aren’t the same, right?

For us, after losing 3 children, everything felt different. Instead of talking all night, it was a chore to talk for a few minutes. Instead of using our code words, we used curse words. Our relationship consisted of screaming matches and silent treatments.

Somewhere deep in our heart though, like you, we knew we didn’t want to lose each other. So we made a commitment to work on our marriage. Sometimes I tried and my wife didn’t. Sometimes my wife tried and I didn’t. We went through different stages of “trying.”

What did we try?

We tried the obligatory, “Honey, let me repeat what you said to make sure I understood you correctly.” We applied conflict resolution strategies. My wife learned about Mars and I learned about Venus. We even went to therapy to wrestle with our problems. But guess what. Nothing changed. Nothing worked.

All the advice we got (books, counselors, CD’s, whatever) asked us to face our problems. But that just made us feel worse. And fight more.

Then we had a breakthrough.

We decided to SET ASIDE OUR PROBLEMS and try to CONNECT with each other.

We used “POSITIVE relationship exercises” that transformed our marriage. Not only did we resolve our differences, we fell in love again! And we did it—not by dealing with our problems (as serious as they were)—but by establishing HEALTHY HABITS that brought positive energy to our relationship.

This is the solution to most marital situations! Believe it or not, the secret is to STEP AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS and SPEND YOUR TIME AND ENERGY building your relationship through POSITIVE ACTIONS.

It’s counter intuitive, but if you strengthen your relationship, most of your problems will dissipate and what remains of them can be more easily resolved in a safer, softer, and more forgiving marital environment.

Before you deal with your problems, you first have to build good will with each other.

If your marriage is stressed, do NOT tackle your problems. If your timing is off, trying to solve problems with your spouse will damage your marriage and make it LESS LIKELY that you’ll ever find resolution.

If you have lower-back problems, sometimes the solution is to do sit-ups. Strengthening one part of your body can heal another. Your marriage works in a similar way.

Now you can see why my system for relationship renewal, Marriage Fitness, is fundamentally different from any other approach to relationship success. It’s not about conflict-resolution or communication skills because these are NOT the key to renewing a marriage. The key is NOT to fix what’s wrong. The key is to make new things right.

And there are, in fact, specific things you can do (with or without your spouse) to make things right in your marriage.

Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It’s a direct cause and effect. If you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable—you can “make” love.

Marriage Fitness offers you a step-by-step system to make and maintain love in your marriage. The program works for any marriage even if only one spouse does it. And the best news is that you don’t have to dig into your past, dredge up your problems, or practice communication techniques. This is not marriage counseling; it’s Marriage Fitness.

CLICK HERE to receive the FREE breakthrough report “7 Secrets for a Stronger Marriage,” a FREE confidential marriage assessment, and FREE information about the Marriage Fitness system of relationship renewal.

Previous Post: How To Get YOUR Spouse To CHANGE

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In your quest to fix your marriage, you may encounter resistance–from your spouse!

Your spouse may dwell on the 101 reasons why “this just won’t work for us” and blame you for every one.

Or, your spouse may be emotionally “checked-out” of the marriage and not care about your efforts to improve the situation or be willing to extend any effort of their own.

This is, by far, the most common question people ask me: “How do I get my spouse to change?”

Why would your spouse resist POSITIVE change in your marriage and what should you do about it?

There’s a deep-seeded belief in our culture that people resist change, no matter what. But is this true? Do people really want things to remain status quo? Do we really not want things to change? If you look closely at human nature, it’s not change itself we resist; it’s change that’s IMPOSED UPON US.

Think about it. We have no problem with change that WE INITIATE ourselves. But when we feel forced or manipulated  to change, then we resist WITH ALL OUR MIGHT.

Your spouse may not be willing to change for the sake of your marriage right now, but that’s not because your spouse doesn’t want a great marriage. Everyone wants a great marriage. It’s because if they’re going to change, they want the change to be THEIR IDEA!!!!!!

I promise you; your spouse will decide to change when they’re ready to change and not one second before. And the more you push them, urge them, nudge them, ask them, scream at them, or beg them, the LESS LIKELY they are to change. I know it’s hard to wait, but you have to let it come from them.

It’s possible someone could INSPIRE your spouse to change, but the person LEAST LIKELY to be the inspiration is YOU. It’s sad but true. A complete stranger is more likely to get through to your spouse than you are. A chance experience or encounter is more likely to shake up your spouse than anything YOU could do.

Mary Ellen (name changed) came to me for marriage coaching. She knew she had to make changes and came to our sessions with a genuine interest to improve her marriage. She wanted Tom (her husband) to be part of the process, but he wasn’t willing to join her. She had been asking him to go with her to get help for over a year. But Tom consistently refused.

I met with Mary Ellen twice and convinced her to back-off Tom and just let him be for a while. I  counseled her to make some changes that created a more positive energy in their relationship. When the time was right, I suggested that  Mary Ellen ask Tom is he would be willing to speak with ME for 10 minutes. Mary Ellen’s timing was good. Tom agreed.

Within 7 minutes of my conversation with Tom he agreed to join Mary Ellen in the marriage coaching sessions.

Why was I able to get Tom to agree to something in 7 minutes that Mary Ellen couldn’t get him to do in over a year? It’s true I know how to handle these situations, but there were 2 other important factors:

1. For the first time in over a year, Mary Ellen backed-off far enough so that Tom had the space to make his own  choice.

2. The inspiration came from someone other than his wife.

Your effort to change your spouse is probably COUNTERproductive. The chances are good that you’re “in the way.” You need to get out of the way and create the space for your spouse to CHOOSE to change. That’s the only way it’ll ever happen.

I can’t tell you how times a spouse will say to me that their husband/wife changed for a few days, but then returned to their old ways. That’s because they never really decided to change. They were pressured. They were manipulated. And so it didn’t stick.

If you tell your spouse what to do; it’s a challenge. If THEY decide to do it; it’s a great idea. YOU HAVE TO LET IT COME FROM THEM. That’s the only way it’ll make a difference long term in your marriage.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Makes sense, but isn’t there anything I can do to encourage my spouse’s choice?” YES, there is! YOU CAN BE AN INSPIRING EXAMPLE and let your spouse see how the choices YOU’RE making impact how YOU feel about yourself and your marriage.

Resist the urge to believe that your marriage won’t change until your spouse “gets with the program.” The love YOU feel is much more a result of what YOU DO for your marriage than what your spouse does for it.

We tend to think that the love in our marriage is in our spouse’s hands. But it’s not. Love is a verb. And if we do it–if  we love–then we feel love. THE CHOICE IS OURS.

Consider the love you feel for your children. Is it because of everything they do for you? Is it because they’re such angels? Of course not. The love you feel for your children is a result of what YOU DO FOR THEM. The love you feel in your marriage is a result of what YOU DO too.

Furthermore, there’s no better way to inspire your spouse to make the choice to change than to make that choice yourself.

It happens quite often that one spouse will register for the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp in the “Lone Ranger” track and then half way through the program they will switch to the “Duo” track which is designed for couples participating TOGETHER. What caused their spouse to change their mind? Simple. 2 things. First, they learned to create a space in their relationship for their spouse to make a choice to change. Second, they showed their spouse, through their EXAMPLE, how to make that choice and the impact it could have on their marriage.

Very often one spouse will come to me for marriage coaching and ask if it makes sense for them to be coached alone. The answer, is ABSOLUTELY yes! One spouse can make more than a 50% difference in a marriage. And that difference is often exactly what will get the other spouse to open up to marriage coaching too.

“You can lead me a mile, but you can’t push me an inch.”

So, bottom line…as Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see…” It’s YOU changing that has the  greatest impact on YOUR EXPERIENCE of your marriage AND it’s YOU changing that is the single most important thing you can do to motivate your spouse to change.

If you’re ready to learn what changes you need to make in your marriage and if you want to learn how to inspire your spouse to begin to make changes too, then subscribe to the FREE breakthrough report “7 Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” and get a FREE marriage assessment too.

CLICK HERE to subscribe.
It’s FREE.

Previous Post: RENEW Your Marriage With ONE Decision

Next Post: A Surprising SOLUTION To Your Marital Problems



Were your mom and dad happily married? Is your marriage like theirs was?


If you’re having marriage problems, the chances are good that your parents struggled in their marriage too. Research shows that if your parents divorced, then your marriage is more likely to end in divorce as well.


Freud documented well the impact that heredity and upbringing has on a person’s fate. We learn “tapes” early-on that we play again and again oblivious to how they control (and destroy) our lives. But does that mean the destiny of your marriage was determined years ago? Does that mean your fate was sealed by your genes and your childhood?


There is no doubt that you have deeply rooted relationship instincts. But those instincts do NOT have you.


Your past constantly vies for control of your future, but at the end of the day YOU have a CHOICE. Your domain is this moment, and every moment, when you can DECIDE to write a new script. At any time, in every time, you can decide to be the master of your destiny; rather than a victim to your past.


This, by the way, is the real value in understanding your past and your childhood roots. So that you can consciously REJECT what you know doesn’t work and replace old habits with new ways.


This, of course, is no simple task. Not only because it’s hard to break old habits and learn new ways, but also because most people are more comfortable doing what’s familiar yet destructive rather than what’s constructive but unfamiliar. In other words, most people are happier doing what they know doesn’t work than they are working on something that they don’t know.


But that’s what it takes to be a “transition person.” A transition person is someone who breaks free from unhealthy relationship patterns that have been in their family for generations. You are by no means a product solely of your heredity or environment. There is a third element: YOUR DECISION. And that trumps ALL past events.


By the way, this, in my opinion, is the real meaning of marriage education…educating someone to acquire the ability to CHOOSE their behavior.


A successful marriage is not something that just happens; you have to craft it. It’s a result of deliberate and conscience decisions to make a new way in your relationship.


If you’re ready to script a new chapter in your marriage and learn how to make a new way in your relationship, then subscribe to the FREE breakthrough report “7 Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” and get a FREE marriage assessment too.

CLICK HERE to subscribe.
It’s FREE.


Previous Post: RENEW Your Marriage With ONE Decision

Next Post: A Surprising SOLUTION To Your Marital Problems