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Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Ace] #266102
11/28/12 05:27 PM
11/28/12 05:27 PM
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I stood for my marriage for a long time too. It was what I was known for. It was when I took a stand for the marriage I wanted instead of standing around wondering why it wasn't working that I started to get what I wanted from it.

For over 30 years I was committed to staying, pretty much no matter what happened. I was sure that was the way it worked and that it somehow would lead to success... I would be vindicated and would be declared the winner in the end.

When the marriage was so broken that only a bulldozer could clean up the mess is when I decided that if it was going to be worth my time, a bunch of stuff would have to change... on both sides. I took a stand for my marriage by working to make it more than just a decision to stick it out. I wasn't willing to stick around any more. I stopped being a renter and became a buyer. I wasn't going to pay any more unless my investment was going to bring me something of real value instead of just a place to stay.

For me, standing for my marriage means taking a stand for what I want and not just prolonging a miserable existence. It's that key bet you make in Texas Hold 'Em... All In. You win or you lose with that bet. I have seen too many marriages last ten, twenty, thirty, even forty years and still not result in happiness or satisfaction. It isn't like the lottery where a minimal investment can make you rich. You get out of it based on what you are willing to invest. Put in everything and you either get everything or nothing. Put in a little and you can only get back a little. Anything less than everything you want is at best a matter of settling for less.

As Pittman's says, it's like a submarine. It only works when you're all the way inside.

I'll save more thoughts for your impending thread...


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Mark1952] #266109
11/28/12 05:37 PM
11/28/12 05:37 PM
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I'm really enjoying this discussion.


"I feel sad that I focused so much on his potential and so little on mine."
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: believer] #266126
11/28/12 06:23 PM
11/28/12 06:23 PM
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Me too.

Rodion...Would you say that Mort Fertel's program is geared towards a certain age bracket or circumstance, such as infidelity? (Would couples who are 50+ years of age benefit?)

Is his program going to bring about improvement for the person whose spouse is not on board with the program?

Is the program going to help people who aren't necessarily on the brink of divorce but could use some help with developing better habits and better communication that will strengthen the marriage?


Me: 53
Him: 53
Together: 34 years
Married: 27 years

"Aspire to Inspire before you Expire" Author Unknown

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Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266133
11/28/12 06:34 PM
11/28/12 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: rodion
I think the thing that clinched it for me with MF is his assertion that "you cannot talk your way out of a situation you have behaved your way into."


Hi rodion,

I agree with this 100%. When we had our marital crisis, seven years ago, I realized the same thing, though not in as quotable a form. But I did realize that I could not argue her into staying, I could only give her a reason to want to stay, and that required radical changes of behavior on my part.

(In our case, my wife was unhappy and wanted to leave, but had not started an affair, although she skirted the edges of one.)

When we started the Marriage Advocates site, I actually signed up to receive emails from Mort Fertel in order to review his program. I wrote a review of his free materials, which I thought they were quite good, although I realized I was not getting everything as I had not paid for the full program. I'm glad to see you are here, we try to be a place where all of the different programs can be compared on a "nonpartisan" basis. Many of us here came over from the Marriage Builders forum, and many others came over from DivorceBusters, but I think you're the first from Mort Fertel's site. (In fact, I wasn't aware he had a forum!)

Last edited by Gladstone; 11/28/12 06:35 PM.

**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: soolee] #266164
11/28/12 07:29 PM
11/28/12 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: soolee
Me too.

Rodion...Would you say that Mort Fertel's program is geared towards a certain age bracket or circumstance, such as infidelity? (Would couples who are 50+ years of age benefit?)

Is his program going to bring about improvement for the person whose spouse is not on board with the program?

Is the program going to help people who aren't necessarily on the brink of divorce but could use some help with developing better habits and better communication that will strengthen the marriage?


I think Mort would say that it works in pretty much any situation, but at the same time he has said that he is one of the few that specializes in healing distressed marriages. But, if you're looking to improve a marriage that just needs to be spruced up and strengthened, I think it not only will work, but will probably work very fast if both partners are on board.

As far as the program bringing about improvements in the obstinate/wayward spouse, I can only speak anecdotally. I did absolutely see changes in my wife that were fundamentally positive, especially over the first couple of months. (She eventually dug her heels in with the affair after that she was under the OM's influence, of course and moved out.) I also had a considerable period (about 3 months) of positive building that began after she moved out, and even now I can usually change her energy from negative to positive when I see her. But ultimately that change is going to come from the spouse, and when it's his or her decision to change. The most we can do is to make the changes in ourselves that might inspire that change. I have heard time and time again from people who have reconciled that their spouses said something like, "it was because you changed."

Affairs throw a whole other set of forces into the mix, as you're dealing with an addictive situation that is on its way to implosion, but along the way there are internal struggles (as well as struggles with the affair partner) the WS goes through that sometimes appear to be like the death rolls that alligators do. This often manifests in the form of pushback to the ways you reach out via the program.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Gladstone] #266344
11/29/12 04:59 PM
11/29/12 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: Gladstone
Originally Posted By: rodion
I think the thing that clinched it for me with MF is his assertion that "you cannot talk your way out of a situation you have behaved your way into."


Hi rodion,

I agree with this 100%. When we had our marital crisis, seven years ago, I realized the same thing, though not in as quotable a form. But I did realize that I could not argue her into staying, I could only give her a reason to want to stay, and that required radical changes of behavior on my part.


I think one of the most remarkable things about the MF program is how one's behavioral changes can directly affect the spouse to change. Mort talks about this quite often, in fact. I think the quote is "actions lead emotions," or in other words a change in your actions can lead to a change in your emotions. This all progresses from his "love is a verb" idea, i.e. that love is something you do, not something you feel, meaning that when you take the right, loving actions, you do cultivate feelings of love. He further predicts that, when you make these changes in your own actions, you eventually can expect to see your spouse reiterate in kind even if only to clear his/her conscience, initially. But, those repeated actions eventually can change their feelings, too.

I have seen this on a number of occasions with my wife. She brought me coffee in bed one morning, and she gave me numerous gifts. I haven't seen anything like this for a few months now, as it seems that her situation is pretty unstable and she is in active withdrawal from me in an attempt to salvage the unsalvageable (that is, her affair). But that too will come to an end.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266396
11/29/12 08:28 PM
11/29/12 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted By: rodion
I think one of the most remarkable things about the MF program is how one's behavioral changes can directly affect the spouse to change. Mort talks about this quite often, in fact. I think the quote is "actions lead emotions," or in other words a change in your actions can lead to a change in your emotions.


Again, something I have found to be true in my own case. I found, when my wife and I were reconnecting, that I was trying to do more for her to show her that things would be better, or to make up for all my previous neglect. I expected my loving actions would increase her love for me, but I was surprised to find that my loving actions actually increased my love for her.

That's actually something I find quite interesting - steps you can take to maintain or increase your own love for your spouse. (as opposed to trying to effect your spouse's love for you...)


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Gladstone] #266403
11/29/12 09:08 PM
11/29/12 09:08 PM
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So, that's the behavioral side of MF, actually: the things you do to improve the quality of connection even if it's only one-sided at first. He writes about them in the book (Marriage Fitness, which really isn't for marriages in distress, but rather those that just need to become more healthy), but they are in the full boot-camp program as well, and are much more important. Briefly, these are:

  • Talk Charges
  • Touch Charges
  • Date Night
  • Giving Presence
  • Business Meeting


Those form the cornerstone(s) of the program, simple, but genuine and very effective. To my knowledge, this has its background in positive psychology (e.g. Martin Seligman, et al) and there is empirical evidence to suggest that this works. It is quite different than "tough love," to my understanding, anyway.

As a practical example, I listened in on one of Mort's Q&As this week, and someone called in for advice as to how to improve communication with his spouse, claiming that anything and everything could set her off. Mort said that, while he might be able to inventory such things and look for patterns in session and effect incremental change, holistic change could be effected by improving the connection with the spouse. The more positive and warm that connection is (again, even if this is a one-sided matter at first, things can and do change for the better), the better and less problematic communication will be even if one doesn't say things the right way all the time. So much of this is just common sense, in a way: he offered as an example the thought of someone with whom you feel a positive connection (friend, family, colleague, etc.): you would try to understand what they were saying and tend to be more generous with your attention and consideration, even if they were not all that skillful in expressing themselves.

I think what frustrates a lot of people and indeed why a lot of people don't drop out or don't make it is that this approach is not a quick fix. It takes a lot of time and effort. We all begin with the hopes of seeing a quick turnaround, and some do for a variety of reasons, but for the majority of those who get there it takes months and months and months. Thus, his dictum, "slow is fast, and fast is slow."

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266450
11/29/12 11:53 PM
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Now I am interested to read the "Marriage Fitness" book. I did a very superficial look at Mort's program when we first built Marriage Advocates, and I generally liked what I saw, but now I am interested enough to look for his book. (Too bad it's not available on Kindle...)


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Gladstone] #266460
11/30/12 01:29 AM
11/30/12 01:29 AM
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I really wish someone had given me Mort's book when I got married. It's sort of a user manual for marriages, i.e. how to keep your marriage healthy for years to come.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266515
11/30/12 02:57 PM
11/30/12 02:57 PM
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Marriages typically fall into three categories as to 'fitness" or "health" or what really boils down to working out compatibility issues.

At one extreme are marriages in which the couple does things that improve the relationship and avoids doing things that drive them apart. It could be either because of some characteristic of those in the marriage or because they have learned through experience that the marriage requires constant growth and adjustment. These couples are what one might call "proactive" in maintaining the relationship. They know that unless they do things to stay connected, the connection will die. Both are willing to consider alternatives in a conflict and they seem to understand that marriage isn't a zero sum game. These couples have date nights, read books and apply what they learned, are considerate of the other's feelings, apologize often and strive to eliminate thoughtless behavior. Many therapists believe this is about one quarter of couples in our society.

At the other end of the spectrum are marriages that are sick. They aren't just sick; they are near death kind of sick. They are undergoing a crisis (of the relationship) that will expose and magnify every bad trait and characteristic of both husband and wife and the way they interact. Inability to communicate respectfully will be one indication that this is what is happening. Another hallmark will be a view, usually by both, that they are in opposition and for one of them to consider that anything other than exactly what they want/see as right/feel they need would be anathema. Many, perhaps even most, of these marriages are going to die a painful, sometimes fiery death. Only intervention and redirection from outside can turn things around.

This outside influence must be guided, though not always by a LMFT(Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) or other official counselor. But the influence and knowledge must come from without for a whole bunch of reasons and one or both might actually be able to self direct and get things headed the right way. For this to happen, a couple of things need to be true, however. First is that some Hollywood notion of "soul-mate"/all-or-nothing/magic/kismet/overwhelming-sensation-means-it's-real view of love must disappear, at least from the world view of one of the two. The second is that commitment must shift from sticking it out to finding solutions. Ultimately, couples who can't make this shift divorce because they each keep score, hold onto resentment and can only see solutions that even the score as getting them what they want.

Most "experts" believe that this is about another 25% of couples. They often delay the divorce or they go through the same or similar patterns time and again, eventually one or both see only breaking away as any sort of solution and the marriage ends.

In the middle are half of all marriages. These couples don't specifically set about trying to make things better, or even "work." They sort of slide along, not really sick but with all sorts of risk factors like long periods away from each other, one or both spouses who use passive aggressive means of manipulating the other and often whole segments of their lives that remain hidden from each other. Sometimes they can even see the risk factors and choose to ignore them believing that they can change things later and take care of the problem if it occurs. This is like working day after day in an environment that is known to cause cancer and not using safety protocols or equipment. Eventually, it is going to catch up to you.

The young you takes care of the old you. What you reap is what was sown. What you plant is what you'll eat. What you nurture is what grows and unless you are nurturing and caring for the connection and bond between you, it will die from neglect or some sort of weed will begin to crowd it out.

Couples in this middle group will find their way into the top 25% or the bottom 25%, depending on circumstances and a bunch of stuff they have no control over. The saddest part is that nearly all of these couples would say their marriage is good, very good or even great. They think this is the way marriage should be, because almost everyone does it like this. They are actually all sick, they just don't know what they have contracted. Some triggering event will either allow the frailty of the relationship to become obvious or they will start changing the way they do marriage to get it healthy. Sometimes a personal crisis will push them in one direction or the other. In some instances that crisis will be something that occurs in the life of someone else.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Mark1952] #266534
11/30/12 04:49 PM
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Mark, I think that's a really good explanation, and it certainly fits with other explanations I've read and with my own experience. For example, Lee Baucom's book (Save the Marriage) explains this more or less in terms of a relationship "cycle" in which the initial health is attributed to feelings of love/infatuation that began the relationship. Eventually these feelings wane unless action is taken (e.g. date nights and such) to maintain and build the connection. When this does not happen, then the couple enters a stage of stasis (often something like co-habitating) which can persist for quite some time but eventually there will be motion downard toward crisis. It's at this stage and he asserts that nearly all long-term relationships get there that the couple will either "evolve" or "dissolve". That is, they either will stick out the crisis and work through it, or they will destroy the relationship. The graphic he uses is more or less circular, but the "evolve/dissolve" decision point is a bit higher than the entry point into the relatioship; this means that, for those that evolve, the relationship moves on to a higher place.

Mort's position is that the overwhelming majority of marriages are either mediocre, or are in active decline, and I think he would break this down into the three groups more or less as you have delineated them. One thing he would describe differently, however, is the idea of "compatibility"; he calls this the "compatibility myth," i.e. that no two people ever really are compatible. There is an exercise he provides in the boot camp that demonstrates this idea. Essentially, compatibility is a matter of perspective, and our view of the personality traits that our partners have changes over time: what initially attracted us later becomes an annoyance. For example, while I might have said that my wife's ambition to reach goals was an attractive characteristic initially, when the relationship broke down I began to see that same characteristic as an arrogant need to be right. The behavior itself hadn't fundamentally changed (although it certainly manifested differently, as the same perspective-shift dynamic was going on in her) but I viewed it differently because of the lack of connection between us. Thus, when people say that they need to end a marriage because they aren't compatible, Mort would say the real problem is that they're not in love anymore.

Your last paragraph really hits it on the head, though: many couples (my marriage included) simply coast along until something shunts them in one direction or the other. That's what happened to me and my wife, and unfortunately she ended up under the influence of someone who comes from a lineage of broken marriages (the OM has been divorced twice, all of his family members are divorced, and his parents divorced while he was quite young).

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266539
11/30/12 05:16 PM
11/30/12 05:16 PM
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I can certainly relate to the fact that the traits attracted us initially becomes an annoyance.

The number one thing that attracted me to my husband was that he was such a good man, and always helped everyone. We worked together for years before we dated, and I always admired that about him.

When we married, we shared a mininistry, did volunteer work together, and were leaders in our church, and it was wonderful. But after a time, his "goodness" started grating on me.

I remember one evening in particular. We had gone down to the beach for an evening of fishing and eating around the fire. We had our (combined) 8 kids with us. I had brought potato salad, hamburgers, and all of the fixings. Hubby volunteered to cook, while I took the kids fishing.

When we got back from fishing, there was my husband with 3 drunk homeless men, sitting around the fire, eating our dinner. One guy was wearing only a dingy pair of briefs, and he was sitting on my chair.

Needless to say, it ruined the evening. I was angry that the drunk guys were there, eating our food, on what should have been a family night. My husband was shocked that I was so mad. He was just doing what he always did, the very thing that attracted me to him before we were married.


"I feel sad that I focused so much on his potential and so little on mine."
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: believer] #266547
11/30/12 06:10 PM
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This is also the same dynamic that works in affairs: Bob Huizenga calls it "attractors become detractors" or something like that.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #266557
11/30/12 07:43 PM
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I think compatibility is a misunderstood concept.

From Dictionary.com:

compatible

adjective
1.
capable of existing or living together in harmony: the most compatible married couple I know.
2.
able to exist together with something else: Prejudice is not compatible with true religion.
3.
consistent; congruous (often followed by with ): His claims are not compatible with the facts.

3 more possible definitions are given, all related to computers and communication. They are more examples than definitions, IMO.

#1 stands out immediately in terms of relationships. Compatibility has to do with the ability to live together in harmony. The reasons folks become incompatible after once having been compatible, is that they stop working to live together harmoniously. Instead, they take stands on peripheral issues and find themselves at odds. This causes one or both to see things as my way or his/her way, with our way taking a back seat in interactions they have. It is simply conflict.

What most fail to arrive at is that being right is not the main thing keeping you compatible. I am not suggesting that you have to change your core values and beliefs. Rather I am saying that seldom are conflicts resolved by turning them into my way or yours as the only two possible outcomes that allow us to move forward. If my marriage and our relationship within that marriage are important to me, then my concern should be for the relationship. When the relationship wins, we both win. When either of us loses, the relationship (and connection) loses as well.

Harley says it this way. Whenever you strive to resolve a conflict, it is more important that you don't hurt each other than that you actually resolve the conflict. Any time you hurt your spouse, the relationship is lessened, diminished and damaged. Every hurt gets held in reserve as a way to justify future reprisal to get even. Some folks even make a ritual of holding hurts in reserve so that they can use them for leverage later to try to make their own desires win out in the next (or some far off) round of unsolvable conflict. This is at the heart of resentment.

Resentment then gets used to justify future incompatible choices and actions. If I am acting in a way that is not compatible with loving my wife (see definition 3) then I am choosing to knowingly hurt her for my own reward or satisfaction. I justify this by listing the things over which I have been the loser in past conflicts. So now I say things like "It's my turn now" and lay out all the things I might have saved up that make me deserve to be right about it this time. Thus it isn't even really about being right or wrong, but rather about who was right or wrong even years before.

Neil McClendon calls this gunny sacking. We store up all this hurt and resentment and carry it around with us. We then dump it out, sort through it and try to find a reason why we should now be allowed to be selfish and hurt our spouse. We hold onto things, perhaps for 20 years, waiting for just the right time, when we have something really outrageous we need to justify, and then we dump it all out. We don't always dump it at our spouse's feet. We list it out and are ready to "share" it when we get caught or challenged on our hurtful behavior. This applies to the rewriting of history so many in an affair undergo, BTW. This is "the list" of why we can't stay married and it all has to do with stuff we've saved up to use for just such an occasion.

Couples aren't inherently compatible or incompatible. If two people are identical, one is probably redundant or at least superfluous. What makes us compatible is being aware of how what we do affects each other and doing things thoughtfully rather than acting thoughtlessly. Thoughtless behavior is just that, something we do without thinking. We don't weigh the consequences for our spouse nor for our relationship.

It comes from that resentment and justification thing where we believe that we should be able to do things that don't matter to our spouse. While it is probably true that most things don't matter much, what affects our spouse is not up to us to decide. We try to make stuff we know would hurt our spouse OK because of this whole list of wrongs against us in the past. We keep score and getting our fair share means getting even in the hurt department. We're willing to let it be balanced by acting like a jerk ourselves, but if our spouse doesn't buy into that, then we have all this stuff that shows why it is "Fair" for us to act like a jerk now.

Couples either become compatible or incompatible based on what each does that affects the relationship. Since what we do almost always affects our spouse in some way, and the way he/she feels connected or defensive toward us is the direct effect of how he/she feels about what we do, then our actions and choices are what makes us either compatible or incompatible.


B, your example I think has to do with Harley's Independent Behavior. It wasn't that he was helping folks who were down on their luck as much as that it was that he brought people that were incompatible with the family time and closeness as a couple you were expecting for that time into that family time and made it impossible. The ickyness of who they were was but a part. If it had been Dr Phil, you might have found it easier to get over, but still would have been disappointed unless you got something in return that made your sacrifice worthwhile. What mattered was that he didn't consider what you might think about it. Right or wrong, that made you feel threatened and said that he didn't care enough about your feelings to consider them.

That is where incompatibility is born. When I act as if I don;t care what my wife wants, things or feels, I am not acting in a way that is compatible with caring for her and showing her that I do. It might be stopping for a drink on the way home without checking to see what her plans are. It might be spending three hours on this forum "helping" other people fix their marriages while she sits alone on the sofa in her new nightgown wondering why I haven't noticed it yet. Anything that says "I acted without thinking of you and as if you didn't even exist" is incompatible with building a strong connection and better relationship.

Marriages fail for incompatibility when one or both begin to act in a way that is incompatible with being married.

What always fascinates me most about all this stuff is the way it is all connected. It's like explaining dark matter without considering how matter interacts and interrelates. That is why I gravitate toward some analogies or models and tend to shy away from some others. Some models account for most relationship issues. Some account for only anomalies. Some can be made to fit with monumental leaps of faith in things with no evidence and others can fit nicely as long as you keep defining things to fit the model rather than the data. For me, the best explanation is that assumption that almost everything I do affects my spouse and that how she responds to this effect determines whether she feels like being connected and close to me or feels like pulling away.

Harley's model fits that nicely and the vocabulary once learned by both allows for us to become more compatible and ask for what we want and need when we don't feel it in a way that can be understood so that we might actually get it. It eliminates that incompatibility issue that comes about when I say "I tried to tell you for years and you didn't listen."

I even know a couple who fight over whether 5 Love Languages or Boundaries In Marriage should be their model for solving their marital problems. I've got them both reading Fall In Love Stay In Love right now. She expects "gifts" and he needs more "touch." She wants him to make her feel safe and secure or she won't let him near her in the bedroom. He wants to feel more connected or he's going to seek divorce. Imagine the first run through of Harley's ENQ when her second EN was Financial Support and his was Sexual Fulfillment.

Compatibility in marriage comes from doing things that are compatible with loving (caring for) each other. (<-Tweet Tweet)


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Mark1952] #266597
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Mark, on one level, it's really interesting to see how similar some of these approaches are (e.g. Harley, Fertel), even if advice on certain types of actions might differ. Mort always tells people that "in marriage, it's not about being right, it's about being happy." That is, you can't have it both ways. He recommends that, even for "happy" couples, they have a neutral, respected, third party they can go to to arbitrate contentious issues, and that the couple agrees that the judgment of this third party is final. He says that he and his wife do this from time to time, and sometimes this person finds for him, sometimes for his wife, or sometimes for neither. But he says that, even when this person finds against him, he still feels okay, because he feels like they won as a married couple. This actually came up on Monday (we have monthly Q&As via his so-called "Plugged In" program), as did the idea of issues being carried around for years and years. He said that he has on many occasions worked with couples who are carrying around baggage that is decades old.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #268790
12/13/12 03:51 AM
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I have to say though.

If MB or marriage fitness or sherpa or any of those marriage site claim such a high success rate- why not provide a study to a marriage and family journal. Seriously, how are they collecting this data. What criteria, what follow-up. What is their definition of success?


To me, anyone who throws out percentages without the proof behind it is lying, IMHO. For example, just read the MB boards and there is not a 90% success rate. Same with DB.


Me 41
H 40
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I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night. -Bishop G. Brewer
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Mary Emma] #268851
12/13/12 04:01 PM
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Cause its a lie. No submission to a peer review then it is not proven and misleading to an outright scam.

Physiology is either a science or it is feeling facts based on dishonesty, conjecture, self delusions of importance and mind reading.

We do not have to show the 90% is a lie. The author has to show that the 90% is true and in what context the success is measured at over a specific time frame.



The logic of validation allows us to move between the two limits of dogmatism and skepticism.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: 70.3 Ultra] #268860
12/13/12 04:51 PM
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I don' think programs or their creators lie. I think they qualify their statements to be true. It is those who read those statements that infer from the percentages that their situation falls under that percentage.

Example: 100% of all couple who find a way to build a heathy and happy marriage state that their marriage is healthy and happy.

Of those couples who followed my xyz program, 97% said that it brought them closer together and improved their relationship

Observation... couples who work together to improve their relationship generally end up with a better relationship.

The success rate for staying together after an affair by one spouse is about a third of marriages that are affected by infidelity. Not all of the success stories end in healthy and happy marriages because THAT is a different issue.

Half of the marriages in the US end by some method other than the death of one spouse. For cohabitation, the rate is not even that good but is not part of the statistics because it's even harder to quantify. Half of the marriages are sick but don't know it. Half of those find a way to get well and half get sicker until the marriage dies. It is often a crisis that moves them one way or the other and those who get well, get better. Those who can't find a way to get better together, end in the death of the marriage.

Couples who overcome problems that might tear them apart all share one thing. They face problems together and deal with them as "our problem" instead of taking a view of "you have to fix this because you are wrong." Your relationship gets better when you find a way to solve problems without making it worse. It comes from fixing the marriage rather than fixing each other.

Couples who overcome infidelity are those who face it as "our problem" rather than "your problem." They see themselves as 'us' and not just 'you' and 'me'. That is because they are a couple and not merely individuals. There is a vast difference between sticking it out in misery and being committed to finding a way to being together by dealing with what is making you miserable.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: Mark1952] #268862
12/13/12 04:56 PM
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So in other words. Yes you agree with me.


The logic of validation allows us to move between the two limits of dogmatism and skepticism.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: 70.3 Ultra] #268875
12/13/12 05:30 PM
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I don't think they lie, either. A lie is a false or misleading statement with intent to deceive. Now, a program creator who runs a business wants to make a profit, and like many businesses, will put his/her best foot forward, use various marketing tactics to convince the public to buy the product, etc. The absence of peer-reviewed statistics is not evidence of a lie, but it may be evidence of a claim that is not fully substantiated.

Rather than assuming the negative and then accepting that to be true without thorough examination, I would first do a bit of research: what is the company's BBB rating? Is there a track record of complaints, etc.? I did this before I started MF, and found only one claim of MF to be a "scam," and this was addressed by Mort on his website.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #268881
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I don't think they lie or attempt to scam people either. I agree creative marketing is at work.

When people are desperate they believe what they want to believe. There is a reason divorce is a big online money maker.

People don't go looking for diet solutions when they are fit and trim. People look for diet solutions when they are fat. People don't go look for marriage improvement programs if their marriage is good. People go looking for marriage help when a crises occurs (getting dumped and left by your spouse, learning of an affair).

IMO the missing link is how to help people take a step back and curb how desperate they feel so they can find a program that has the best chance of working for them. And by "working" it does need to be stressed that the rate of reconciliation is generally low.

I don't need stats to back that up. I can see it with my own two eyes. In almost 5 years I have been active on DB, here and an in person group and most people do not reconcile. My attny also showed me statistics from his firm that show couples who stop or hold off a divorce to "fix things" are generally back seeking his counsel within two years.

More of these programs need to focus on total personal recovery that spans emotional recovery, financial recovery and in some cases physical recovery. That needs to come first.

Without a spouse that is in a deep state of repentance, remorse and utter humility no program will work. One might get them to "come home" or make a kind gesture or two but generally that doesn't mean much. A body in a house or a generic nicety hardly indicate a spouse that is ready to learn to become a good spouse at all costs.

IMO it's tough to research a program by complaints. Many people become so saturated with exhaustion they simply need to leave this part of their life behind and don't bother with long term follow up or participation that expresses dissatisfaction.


Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: CityGirl] #268885
12/13/12 06:46 PM
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but it may be evidence of a claim that is not fully substantiated.


Sort of like the Visuals shakes....



Usually when you put up a 90% you have a little tiny number beside it... which if you click on takes you to the bottom of the page... which has a link to verification by an independent body on the number being tossed out there.... Well normally that is how it goes.... But hey truthiness at work.


The logic of validation allows us to move between the two limits of dogmatism and skepticism.

Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: 70.3 Ultra] #268888
12/13/12 06:49 PM
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What I am saying is that it is the reader of those claims that is responsible for making the percentages untrue and not the what things were stated.

There are some really profound truths in this world, but not many. Most of what gets passed off as something profound is really just stating the obvious in a way that people seem to connect with. A lot of those statements are what might be called analytic truths. That is, the way things are stated, the statement has to be true. There simply is no other choice.

An orange does or does not have seeds. This is always true though it does not tell me if the orange before me has seeds or not. In fact, if I change that to read "it either does not have seeds," it is true about everything and not just an orange.

Wherever you go, there you are. Application might give this a bit of meaning, but it is pretty much worthless as a statement of truth, though it is more or less universally true.

So when a guru states that 90% of the couples who followed my program stated that they were successful in making their marriage better, what exactly is he saying?

Skip the 90% for now because that is where everybody stops reading and gets hung up on figuring out what he is saying.

First significant statement is that it was couples who worked the program. That means there were two people and implies that both were following the same program. They were facing whatever their issues were together.

Who were the 90%? In this statement it was couples who said that their marriage was better after following the program. They are first of all, stating their feelings and feelings can and do change often, and most often they change without any specific identifiable action being taken by the person reporting the change. That is not to say that there was not a cause, only that without identifying the cause specifically, attributing that change to anything at all is at best another feeling.This 90% also did not stop following the program until they had completed it, which by the definition of most such programs, is not a time limit but a set of desired results that were determined up front by the couples and so success was predefined as reaching the place they said they reached.

So for those who had a problem, it got better by following the program. Or more accurately, couples looking to make their marriages better said they got better after having followed certain facets of the program. But this was only true 90% of the time. The other 10% thought the program offered them no help at all or that things did not get better.

We have no idea what drove couples to look at the program as a possible solution to their problems. We can really only assume there was a problem at all. But if there was a problem ,these folks thought that this program would help them solve it and so tried it. If we assume that something in the program offered help for their problem, it might be that 100% of the couples who tried it were trying to address a problem addressed by the program. Even then, 10% did not believe it helped them solve the problem.

Now we go to the next website and read: Of the thousands of couples who have followed my program to improve their marriage, an astonishing 85% reported a marked improvement in their relationship.

How could both of these guys be telling the truth. Simply put, they are talking about two totally different groups. Neither one includes couples in there group that followed another program and nobody has said anything at all about one spouse trying to fix a marriage while the other is not trying or even trying to tear it apart. None of the gurus are including all marriages in their sample.

The second guru had a program that for whatever reason a totally different group found as a possible solution to the problem they faced and so decided for some reason to follow that program and not another.

In general, only couples who work together to make the marriage better report actually making the marriage better for both husband and wife. So that is our first clue.

Couples who chose one program over the other probably chose it because they somehow found a connection with what it was presenting as a solution to their problems. There is the second qualification for the percentage who were happy with the results.

The fact that each program or guru has his or her own group of people with whom their program has found a connection of some sort, indicates more about the samples than about the program. The sample selected the program and not the other way around.

Since feelings can and do change often, feeling better about a marriage than before is often simply a matter of changes in circumstances. I might go so far as to say that is really the only variable involved that matters much. Couples who report (or where one spouse reports) being unhappy in the marriage, more report being happy five years down the road than that they are less happy in the marriage. That is not to say that you should do nothing to find happiness, only that our feelings are nearly always circumstantial and when conditions and circumstances change, our feelings follow soon after.

Why can't someone do a study to determine which one is best?

First problem is that "best" is highly subjective. Secondly, what works for some might be exactly the wrong course for others. Even those programs designed to be adaptable to many kinds of situations cannot cover every possible set of conditions a couple might encounter. The solutions to one set of problems might make another more damaging, such as being loving and supportive of someone who is addicted to a drug by protecting them from the consequences of his or her actions and choices surrounding the addiction. Yet which of us would not attempt to prevent the consequences from catching up to our 3 year old child who was climbing on the tree in the back yard should a misstep occur or a branch break?

Now we get to what brought so many in search of an answer in the first place. One spouse is in a relationship with someone outside of the marriage. A lot of the gurus claim that what they have seen work the best is _______. Since only about a third (slightly less actually according the numbers I saw the first time yesterday that were compiled in September of this year) save their marriage after an affair by either of them. More than two thirds of these folks will get a divorce, so what works best does NOT mean it will work for you.

It might not work for you because you can't do what it requires. It might mean that your spouse will not respond the way 1/3 of spouses do. It might mean you actually are a jerk. It might mean that your own emotions are in control of your choices right now and so you make one bad choice after another until too many bad choices or too much time have been stacked up to overcome in a possible recovery.

It might mean that you don't actually understand what is being presented in a way that lets you actually follow the plan. This is not an indictment of the intelligence or cognitive ability of the reader, just a statement that our perceptions are clouded by our circumstances so much that we easily miss the actual point of what is being said. We latch onto doable stuff like actions and reactions and try to extrapolate a result we are OK with.

Most of the plans for dealing with infidelity share one thing. They require thinking about things differently than you might have been thinking all along. Some folks take longer to do that than others and some never pull it off. Some change what they DO, but never understand why they should do it differently and so eventually stop doing what they were doing. and go back to old ways of doing based on the old way of thinking.

If we were to try to put together a real scientific study to compare just two program we would have to develop 3 sample groups. In order to have much meaning, the actual problems the couples face would have to be known or the sample size would have to be so huge as to be nearly impossible logistically.

IF we could get the same number of folks into the three groups in real representation of the entire population, we would then assign one group to Plan X. This group would get advice that only applied to Plan X and could not get any advice from the other plan being tested except as might be completely common between the two.(which would turn out to be the majority, BTW, since people's brains work pretty much one way when they are working according to specification).

Now the second group would get the advice associated with Plan Y and not the advice of Plan X.

The third group gets trickier, especially in regard to ethics and such. We must be certain that none of the advice they are given falls into either group X nor group Y. That means that we cannot really offer random placebo advice and must filter the advice to make sure that neither Plan X nor Plan Y advice is being given. Yet in order to have any meaning as a control we must be telling them something to try and now we must concoct a program that does not contain any of the possible elements that might be successful that we are testing for. We could even end up telling them something that make their situation worse and is compounded by not getting the advice they need to resolve it. We thus make the control group meaningless to our possible results because we must manipulate that group to test the other groups and that negates the entire process. A true control who gets no advice sounds plausible except that we have no way of knowing what advice they might get somewhere else and even what conclusions they themselves might draw that are correct for their situation.

One thing that gets tested a lot, is individual pieces of a program. In fact, it is this sort of research that leads to programs. The gurus develop a plan or program based on what they know to be true about how relationships work and how people's feelings play into those relationships. Art Aron can show through empirical study that couples who do things together that either one or both are passionate about, develop higher levels of passion for each other. He even devised a test to see if it was already being together or doing the thing together made the difference and found that the doing led to the feeling connected and was not the result of already feeling connected and so agreeing to do whatever it was that was being done together. He used three groups including a control, BTW.


Helen Fisher can show that the same parts of of the brains of people who claim to be in love are involved when talking about or seeing pictures of the one they claim to love. This part of the brain is where oxytocin forms new connections that rewire the brain to include feelings that are more simply triggered than mere circumstances.

Art Aron then shows that the same areas are affected by sharing some experience that incites passion. Programs can now include sharing passionate experiences as a way to increase passion and connection and feelings of love for those involved in the relationship. The passion does not begin as passion toward each other, but is felt that way by the couples when high levels of passion were present for either one during the activity.

BTW, Aron's work shows that having an interest ahead of time in a shared activity is not what determines its value to your own feelings as the result of sharing it with your spouse/partner. The things that one spouse was highly passionate about (the idea excited them the most) turned out to have the biggest effect on both spouses. Things they both found interesting but neither was highly passionate about fell flat and were nearly as unfulfilling to both spouses as the control group who did stuff that neither found interesting nor exciting.

Most programs developed long before anyone understood how the brain was involved and long before any research was done that showed why a strategy might work in a given situation. They were intellectual models built from observations. In most cases, those observations were shared among the gurus from the very start. What I find most fascinating of all is that the actual ideas used by the gurus turn out to be supported by the science when the science becomes available to test their theories.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: Mort Fertel's marriage fitness program? [Re: rodion] #268895
12/13/12 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted By: rodion
I don't think they lie, either. A lie is a false or misleading statement with intent to deceive


Respectfully, I disagree.

Not with your assesment of the program, but with your definition of lying.

We lie to ourselves, don't we? I know I have.

I didn't intend to deceive myself either. At least, I didn't consciously set out to deceive myself.

I was just ignorant or filtering everything through hopes and confirmation bias or projecting what I wanted onto something.

Sometimes I told these lies I told myself to others thinking they were the 'truth'.

I could be wrong, but I think people lie all the time without meaning to lie at all.


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