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Discover why men pull away…

I was driving through downtown Chicago on the interstate when I saw the sign. “Life is short. Have an affair.” These bold words were accompanied by a suggestive image involving two good looking people.
I felt a shockwave go through my nervous system at the sight of that sign. It was like an assault on everything good, right, and noble in this world. The advertisers? An attorney firm specializing in divorce! I can’t express my level of disgust.


Your marriage is under constant attack by societal forces you do not control. Do you think affairs are contagious? I recently read an article about two couples that spent a lot of time together.
It wasn’t long after the first couple stumbled that one of the partners from the second couple began “exploring their options” outside their committed relationship.


My point is this. Your marriage is under assault. There are many ways society pushes us toward selfish thinking. The influence is often subtle. After all, what’s wrong with Burger King’s motto, “Have it your way,” or the Haagen-Dazs slogan, “Pleasure is the path to joy?”


There’s really nothing wrong with those logos if taken in isolation. The problem occurs when we receive multiple messages all day long telling us our happiness can be found by putting ourselves first.

Any of you who have been married for any time at all know what happens when we put ourselves first.

Marriage sucks.


It becomes nothing but a trap, or a prison sentence. Both people are in it for themselves, but stuck making decisions jointly. There’s a better way, of course, and you know what it is.


The romantic term for it is “true love.” I think of true love as a choice. It happens when two people simultaneously love somebody else more than they love themselves. They put the other person’s needs and happiness at the highest priority.


The result, marriage becomes the best thing ever! Nothing compares with it. It’s better than a warm chocolate brownie smothered in vanilla ice cream, served on a tropical beach in Hawaii while you wait for your massage! Loving someone else feels good! Being loved back feels amazing. Combine the two and anything you do to achieve it will be worth it.


Of course, you know the problem with this. Despite your best intentions, you end up not doing or saying what makes the other person feel loved completely and totally. You recoil in shock when your effort to be “normal” is met with an angry misinterpretation of your actions, attitudes, or words. Then all hell breaks loose.


A rolling snowball effect is unleashed on your marriage as frustrations crumble all your good intentions into selfish retreat. Sound familiar to anyone?

I wish I knew everything. I wish I was the wisest person that ever lived.

Unfortunately I’m not. But I have benefited from a process of sifting. I have sifted through the experiences and accumulated wisdom of hundreds of years-worth of relationships successes and failures.
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A SURPRISING SOLUTION TO YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS



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.
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HOW TO GET YOUR SPOUSE TO CHANGE

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.
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