Tag Archives: Marital Help

A Metaphor; Or, the Parable of the Rose

Once upon a time, you found a rose bush that produced the most beautiful and rare of flowers. You could always count on that rose bush having one singe rose that always bloomed, vibrant with color, redolent of the most extraordinary fragrances imaginable. You planted that rose bush in a carefully chosen spot, and cared for it with true devotion, day after day. You watered it, nourished it with nutrients to its soil, and protected it from the harsh elements. Day after day, month after month, that most rare of roses bloomed.

Then at some point, life began to divert your attention from that rose bush, bit by bit. There were days you would forget to water it; perhaps you might think, “the rain will take care of it,” and sometimes the rain would. There were weeks that you forgot to add nutrients to the soil. There were months in which you forgot to shelter it from the vicissitudes of the seasons. Yet all the while, that rose still bloomed.

You were distracted, perhaps, so you didn’t notice that the rose had lost a bit of its luster. Some of the petals had frayed or dropped off. The foliage was not as verdant or abundant as it formerly was. But overall, the rose looked healthy, and was a reminder of the wondrous bloom it once was. After all, don’t all things fade with time?

One day, you walked past that rosebush and noticed a weed. It was a truly noxious looking weed, that had entwined itself into the bush, and looked to threaten to choke it off. Perhaps you tried to disentangle that weed, but it wouldn’t come loose. Or perhaps you tried to cut the weed off at its stem, only to watch it regrow. Or perhaps you tried to uproot the weed, only to find that it seemed to be intertwined with the roots somehow, and the rose bush would be uprooted as well.

It could be that you applied toxic chemicals, and this caused the weed to wither, or perhaps even outright to die. I could also be that those chemicals poisoned the rose bush as well, causing it to lose even more of its foliage, and perhaps even to die as well.

It might be that you eventually reached a point, quickly or slowly, at which you decided the only reasonable course of action would be to uproot the bush and the weed, and to banish them from your sight.

But the wise gardener knows why the weed is there in the first place.

The weed was opportunistic, and took root because the conditions were right. The soil had changed in composition such that it favored the needs of the weed. The foliage on the bush had died back enough that the weed could get sufficient light. The soil was dry enough for the weed to grow, for it didn’t need much more than a few drops of water every now and then.

The wise gardener also knows the solution to the problem.

The weed is a temporary phenomenon. It is not a perennial plant like the rose bush. It cannot continue to grow and thrive for years and years. It will be gone with the next season, and can simply be expected to fade away as the natural order of things unfolds. It appears to be so entwined with the rose bush that it could choke it off and kill it, but in reality this is mere appearance.

The solution lies in tending to the rose bush once again. Nourish the soil so that it can regain its foliage. Water its roots so that it can begin to regrow. Shelter it from the harshness of winter to which it is now more susceptible. Do all of these things unfailingly and with patience.

After a season, the miracle of nature can unfold. The rose bush is once again verdant with foliage. Its rose blooms with a renewed vigor and vibrancy that is heretofore unparalleled. Its aroma is redolent of all of the most rare and fragrant flowers known to man.

And that noxious weed is nowhere to be seen. It has no room to grow, and that verdant foliage has blocked out any sunlight it might have gotten. It finds the deeply nutritious soil abhorrent, and it drowns in the abundance of water. It has vanished, according to the order of nature.

This is how a marriage crisis takes root: slowly and surreptitiously, as a result of years of neglect. Yet it can manifest suddenly and noxiously, like a weed that threatens to destroy that most precious rose. It could come as a barrage of arguments that leads to a more serious situation. It could manifest as an affair, or it could come in the form of separation, or the even threat of divorce.

Regardless of how it manifests, the remedy is the same: Be the gardener who tends to the rose bush.

How to Know If Your Marriage Will Survive

There are times in every marriage when disagreements arise, and this includes marriages that are in trouble and attempting to get to the point of reconciliation. I find myself at such a time right now, almost a year in, and getting pushback from my wife that is unlike any other I’ve seen thus far. This is because it is classic pushback coupled with avoidance. There are issues right now and my wife is simply avoiding them. Moreover, she is doing things in an attempt to give me some sort of message, but that message is vague at best, and basically says little more than “I do not feel the need to respect you or your wishes.” I’ll write more about this later. Today may be a day of discussions. Or, it may not. But a discussion of some sort is at hand, because of a situation I wrote about in my previous post.

For now, I’ll let Mort Fertel do the talking. He’s the creator of Marriage Fitness, the program that has really turned things around for me, and that will doubtless lead to the reconciliation of my marriage. It’s not a quick fix by far, but when you make it to the finish line, you’re there for good.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR MARRIAGE WILL SURVIVE

 

Do you know whether or not your marriage will make it? I can tell you with near certainty.

Hi. I’m Mort Fertel, author of Marriage Fitness.

If you had to pick ONE THING that best predicts whether or not your marriage will succeed, what would you pick?

You might say “conflict.” If you fight a lot, then that’s not a good sign, right? WRONG.

Would you believe that it’s the opposite?! That’s right; research shows that the number one predictor of divorce is the habitual AVOIDANCE of conflict. In other words, a couple who does NOT fight is at the greatest risk for divorce.

A couple came to me for private phone sessions and I asked them what was going on in their relationship.

“We never talk,” Kathy said.

“Why not,” I asked.

“Because we realized that that’s when we fight,” she responded.

Isn’t it ironic? We try to avoid conflict with our spouse for the benefit of our relationship. But there’s nothing MORE damaging to your marriage than NOT fighting.

Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is! Hate is close to love. To hate someone, you have to CARE about them.

Did you ever feel hate for your mailman? How about the clerk at the supermarket? You never hated them because you don’t care about them. That’s the opposite of love. 

But the closer you are to someone the more likely it is that you step on each other’s toes. Hate is actually a sign of hope. It means you care. It means you’re close. Apathy, on the other hand, is cause for great concern.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising you to go pick a fight with your spouse. You can’t fight so that you’ll have a good marriage. I didn’t say fighting is healthy. I said people in healthy marriages fight. In other words, the fact that you fight is a sign that deep down you really love each other, that your relationship has potential. But if you want to be happily married, you have to learn to fight WELL.

Successful couples know how to discuss their differences. This is not something that comes naturally to anyone; it’s a learned skill. And once you learn it, all the energy that goes into your fights propels your relationship forward.

EVERY successful couple has areas of disagreement. No two people are perfectly compatible. “Irreconcilable differences” are like a bad knee or a chronic back—they’re part of every good marriage.

The key to succeeding in marriage is not finding the right person; it’s learning to fight well with the person you found. You’ll have “irreconcilable differences” with anyone you pick. The question is whether or not you can learn to discuss them.

If you’d like to learn how to discuss them as well as other marriage renewal tips, then subscribe to my FREE breakthrough report “7 Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” and get a FREE marriage assessment too. To subscribe, CLICK HERE. It’s FREE.

 

Mort Fertel

Author of Marriage Fitness

Marriage Coach

 

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Can Hypnosis Save Your Marriage?

Can hypnosis help you to save your marriage?

Absolutely. But first, let me clarify. I’m not talking about hypnotizing your spouse or anything like that. Instead, I’m talking about using the power of self-hypnosis to disrupt unproductive behaviors that are affecting your marriage and to modify these into positive, productive behaviors. My own background with self-hypnosis goes back about 17 years to a time when I was in graduate school. I was dealing with a difficult academic situation (adversarial problems with my thesis advisor) and  emotional issues in my personal life (a relationship that was not working out). I came across a book called Centering, by Jerry Kushel, which is long since out of print, and in it Dr. Kushel explained the use of self-hypnosis to modify behaviors and emotional patterns. I needed to get over considerable worry and stress, and recorded some sessions into my little hand-held tape recorder, which I’d then listen to. It did bring measurable relief, but I was a rank amateur.

Click here for more information on self-hypnosis.

Fast forward about a decade, and I had begun a relationship with my wife. We weren’t yet married, but had some issues to work through individually. She was having sessions with a hypnotherapist who also was a practitioner of emotional freedom techniques, and was having some significant breakthroughs. I had a session or two and found it quite transformative as well.

After that time, my contact with self-hypnosis was kind of hit or miss; I’d use it sometimes to help myself fall asleep, but really didn’t have any coherent engagement with the technique. That is, until recently. It took a marriage crisis — and many months of it — for me to look for some resources on hypnosis. To my surprise, there wasn’t all that much out there, and there was pretty much nothing that was based here in the U.S., aside from a few questionable sites with squeeze pages that would result in endless emails pinging you with their terribly overpriced services. In fact, it was largely because of one such website that I began looking for more reputable and affordable alternatives.

This is when I found HypnosisDownloads.com. I’m not here to push their services, not fundamentally. This is a personal blog about my experiences in attempting to reconcile my marriage. However, I have found the services that this website offers to be of the absolute highest quality, very powerful, and extremely helpful. And it’s inexpensive: the average download costs about $12, and you can use it again and again. In fact, the more you listen, the deeper the effect.

Their main download page lists all of their available downloads, and there’s one for just about everything: not just marital issues, but also help with smoking, alcohol and other addictions, diet, exercise, anxiety, and much more. There’s also a free course in learning self-hypnosis that is excellent, and contains hypnotic inductions you can use on a daily basis.

Which sessions do I use? Well, this might surprise you. Here’s what I use on a regular basis:

  • Learn Self Hypnosis. This comes with the free self-hypnosis audio course; you do need to register with your email for this track, but I have had zero issues with spam after having registered.
  • Seize the Day. This one is great for ending procrastination and training yourself to take initiative, both of which are qualities that will help your marriage reconciliation. This was an audio that they were giving away for free for those liking their Facebook page, but this offer may or may not still be available when you click through via Facebook.
  • Stop Being Messy. I admit it, I’m not a neat freak, and it was my laziness in keeping tidy that actually launched my marital crisis. I’ve only been using this track for a few days and it’s already having an effect.
  • Automatic Writing. This concept might seem a bit odd, although I suspect it will be familiar to creative individuals: you can train yourself to write “automatically” while in a state of deep hypnotic absorption. I have found this skill incredibly useful, in that it helps me gain insight into situations that otherwise would have gone undetected. This was one of the first downloads I purchased, actually, and I use it daily. It has really helped me to understand where my wife is at, and has helped me to chart out a course of appropriate actions to keep me on track.

As mentioned above, there are also many sessions that are appropriate for marital crises, including the following:

There are plenty of other tracks that might suit your situation. Most of these titles run about $12, but there are some mulit-download packs that cost a bit more. Many of the tracks have suggested “bundles,” that pair the track with another complementary title that is given at a discount. If you find their services helpful — which I’m pretty sure you will — you might want to join their “Growth Zone,” which runs about $18 per month and grants you 2 monthly downloads of your choice, plus two randomly chosen hypnosis scripts (which you’d have to record yourself, but you could do this if you’d taken the free audio course) per month. You also get discounts on buying additional titles. It’s quite a bargain, really.

So, can hypnosis help you to save your marriage? Again, I’d say, “absolutely.” Check it out, you won’t be sorry. I know I sure don’t regret it.

Click here to visit the HypnosisDownloads.com official website.

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Separation does not work

I’d like to thank a recent visitor to this blog for prompting me to write this post.

When a relationship crisis strikes, the marital environment can get pretty toxic. It can become difficult for the spouses to suffer each other’s company. There may be tension, arguments, the “silent” treatment, and even fights. I have personally experienced all of these things. None of them is pretty. Given such circumstances, it might seem logical for the spouses to separate from one another. It’s likely that most well-meaning family and friends would advise this, and indeed many so-called marriage “professionals” would advise this as well.

Many of you know that I am a Marriage Fitness practitioner. Core to the concepts and practices of this program is to avoid separation insofar as is possible. I feel so strongly about the benefit of what I’ve learned from the program and how to deal with my own unwilling separation from my wife that I feel compelled to duplicate the link to their website again, right here, in most clear (and perhaps obnoxious?) fashion. Please, please, please make this website your first stop if you are dealing with separation.

Click here to visit the official Marriage Fitness website.

Just do it. It will saver your marriage. So please, just do it: go there and check it out. Remember folks, I’m not a huckster. I just really believe in this program and will stand by it 100%. I personally know of situations involving separation — or worse — that have totally turned around because of the positive impact this program has had on the marital situation, despite obstinacy, affairs, separation, etc. But I digress…

Separation is a terrible, terrible idea. It accomplishes nothing. It puts physical distance and emotional space between yourself and your spouse, and all that distance and space will do is to further erode your connection with your spouse. Feel your relationship is distressed now? Well guess what — separation will make it worse. A lot worse. If your spouse wants to disconnect from you, then that will happen in a hurry if you separate. If your spouse wants to have an affair, then that will quickly follow the separation. If your spouse is having an affair, then that affair will almost certainly escalate if he or she leaves. (There is a silver lining to this, though: the affair could very likely blow up a lot sooner as a result.) If your spouse is thinking about divorce, it becomes a whole lot more likely that this will happen if you separate. If your intention is to reconcile your marriage, then separation complicates everything and achieves nothing.

Yes, you should ignore the well-meaning friends and the credentialed “marriage” counselors who would advise separation. They clearly do not have the best interests of your marriage in their hearts.

Now, don’t get me wrong: you cannot force your spouse to stay with you, but you should do everything within your power to try to prevent an impending separation. This does not mean that you should plead, threaten, or bargain. Words are useless at this point. You will need to show your spouse that you want him or her to stay through your actions. You will need to make positive changes in the marital environment, through both working on yourself — the aspects of your behavior and person that led to the marriage breakdown — and through learning and employing the best possible relationship skills and habits. This is really the only way to stop a separation.

The problem is that sometimes even this doesn’t work. You can do everything right, and still your spouse ends up determined to leave. In fact, it often appears that it is because of these changes that your spouse decides to separate. Please don’t let this confuse you if this happens. What you’re seeing is nothing other than a fairly potent form of pushback. It’s typically a sign that you are rewriting the story your spouse has been telling him- or herself, and that story could be months or even years old. It most certainly will be old enough for your spouse to thoroughly believe it. So it comes as quite a surprise to an obstinate spouse to see you suddenly change for the better. Your rewriting of that story challenges everything he or she believes to be true about your marriage, and that’s a difficult place to be. The human ego seeks desperately to preserve itself at all costs, and it doesn’t take well to existential shocks that truly and experientially define its boundaries and definitions.

So what do you do if you’ve done everything right and your spouse still wants to separate? Well, you might just have to accept that separation is a temporary station on the journey to reconciliation. It happens that way sometimes, and it has happened that way for me as well. You don’t want to participate in, encourage, or facilitate that separation in any way, if you can help it. Make it clear that it is not your desire that he or she separates, but that you have no control over your spouse’s choices and have done and are doing your best to understand your spouse’s feelings and concerns. You also absolutely must make it clear that your spouse will always be welcome in the marital house without any judgment or conditions whatsoever. This is very important, because your spouse will need to come home at some point. If there’s an affair, the affair will end. If it’s obstinacy, that ice will melt. If it’s divorce proceedings, your well-directed efforts will likely bring those proceedings to a halt.

If you unwillingly end up with a spouse that separates, don’t fret it too hard. It’s still possible to pursue reconciliation despite the separation. You can reach out to your spouse in virtually all the ways that you could if he or she were still at home. (See the Marriage Fitness website for resources on how to do this — they have a whole program that is oriented around this and other kinds of difficult situations!) It may likely take longer to get to reconciliation, but you can still get there nonetheless.

This perhaps another question open: what if you were the person to separate? Maybe life at home was too painful or too difficult, and you felt like you simply had to get out to make the situation more bearable. The answer is simple: if you really want to reconcile your marriage, then you have to return home. You have to move back in. And you’ve got to do it now. Not tomorrow or the next week, but now.

Separation hurts, it’s painful, and it’s ultimately pretty useless. If it’s happening to you, don’t despair, because you can turn things around. If it is looming over your situation, don’t freak out, because you can change the momentum. Please make sure that you check the resources page on this website for links to helpful, marriage-friendly sources of information, inspiration, and guidance.

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