Today's Christian Marriage
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Mort Fertel

Mort Fertel is the Author and Founder of the Marriage Fitness System for Relationship Renewal. Read on for stories and lessons directly from relationship psychology expert, Mort Fertel.

Posted 2/10/14 at 1:43 PM | Mort Fertel

Why Fighting is Critical to a Healthy Marriage

“Irreconcilable differences” – we’ve all heard that phrase before. When celebrities break up, it’s typically the first reason they cite as the source of their crumbling marriage.

But what about the rest of us? Sadly, it’s extremely common for people to feel like they no longer share a connection with their spouse. They begin to fear that their marriage won’t last because of their constant arguing and differing in opinions.

You might think that conflict like this would be a predictor of a marriage doomed to failure. But you know what? You’d be wrong.

Studies show that avoidance, rather than confrontation is the number one predictor of divorce among couples. In other words, a couple who never fights is at a greater risk of divorce than one who does.

Though fighting isn’t always a good thing, at least there is some communication happening. If you feel as if you and your spouse never talk, because when you talk it inevitably leads to an argument, you might be doing more harm to your relationship than you realize. Though we try to avoid conflict at all costs, ultimately, there is nothing more damaging to a marriage than NOT fighting. FULL POST

Posted 2/1/14 at 3:55 PM | Mort Fertel

Change The Past

Can you escape the ghosts of relationship past? All too often, couples pose the same question. They wonder if, after an affair or an act of betrayal, there’s a way for them to move past the hurt and approach their relationship with a new, sunny outlook.

It’s not going to be easy. But it’s not impossible. If you’re asking yourself this same question, there might be a way for you and your spouse to renew your bond.

Here's the key.

You need to look deep inside yourself and figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. You can’t undo the past – there’s no magical time machine to go back and undo discretions - but can you find a way to look past the past? Because that’s the element of this that you can control. You can’t change the past. But you can change how you perceive it.

At a low point, you might feel like you’ll never get over the hurt or the anger or the sadness. But the good news is that you don’t need to change the past in order to get over it. You just have to change the meaning of the past.

Sometimes in life, terrible things happen, but the lead to greatness. Consider a time in your life, completely separate from your relationship, where something happened that seemed horrible at the time. Maybe you missed out on your dream job. Maybe you broke your ankle days before a race. Maybe you and a childhood friend got in a fight that felt irreparable. Looking back, what might have felt like the end of the world might have had a silver lining. In many cases, things happen for a reason. Or, even if there is no reason behind an event, a negative action can lead to a positive outcome. FULL POST

Posted 12/3/13 at 10:30 PM | Mort Fertel

Analysis Paralysis

Have you been thinking about your relationship a lot? Is that an understatement? Are you the type of person who obsesses over your relationship?

If you’re experiencing marital distress, odds are, you’ve likely spent a significant amount of time and energy mulling over your situation. Maybe you’ve spoken to a friend, family member, or even a therapist about what’s not working and trying to pinpoint where things started going wrong. This can be therapeutic.

But sometimes, all the thinking and talking falls flat. When you spend so much time analyzing these aspects of your relationship, you often fail to take action. Thinking deeply about your marriage is a good starting point, but when it becomes a substitute for real and actual change, then you’re not doing anything to improve the situation.

Picture this real life scenario: I once did a series of phone sessions with a woman who had been in therapy for years. During our first session, I asked what changes she and her husband had implemented as a result of their couples counseling. She admitted that they’d made no real changes – though she understood their relationship much better.

This perfectly sums up what I like to call “analysis paralysis”. FULL POST

Posted 11/14/13 at 9:32 AM | Mort Fertel

Rebuilding a Marriage: From Crushed Grapes to Fine Wine

Photo: Flickr/twistin - Creative Commons
Crushed grapes.

Have you ever been to a vineyard? There are acres upon acres of land devoted to growing grapes. These grapes will then be plucked, crushed, pressed, skinned and fermented to make one of the most popular beverages in the world – wine.

Now imagine those poor grapes. They go through a lot. Some individuals who are in an unhappy marriage say that the pain they experience is akin to being crushed like grapes and beaten down emotionally. They ask themselves “why am I doing this?” and “where is this relationship going?”

But just as a grape goes through a difficult journey before it becomes a fine wine, sometimes a marriage has to go through some painful early stages before it matures.

Many believe that those with the best marriages are people who grew up well-adjusted, in happy homes with normal parents. But that’s not always the case. Those people might have good marriages, but the BEST marriages are those in which couples were crushed, experience pain, and salvaged their relationship from the ruins of broken hearts.

For many couples, it takes the experience of truly hitting rock bottom to realize there is something there worth saving. Of course, that turnaround isn’t automatic. In order to fix your marriage, you have to take responsibility. FULL POST

Posted 11/6/13 at 1:44 PM | Mort Fertel

When Things Change Dramatically in Your Marriage

Many couples find it difficult to continue with their relationship as time passes. In the beginning, everything is passionate and wonderful, but after years of marriage, spouses reveal their true character, and it can feel like everything changes. There is a quote that aptly describes this situation:

The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.

It’s easy to understand what personality is. We fall in love with someone based on how they express themselves to the outside world. Your personality is how people experience you.

But when it comes to character… character is who you are when no one is watching.

When two people meet, they meet each other’s personalities. You showed off your public persona and the person who became your spouse liked it. Over time, they loved it. The same happened for you. It’s not deceitful; you simply portrayed yourselves to each other as you portray yourselves to other people. That’s normal and natural.

But marriage is long. And spouses are in too close quarters to maintain the public persona forever. Eventually, you start to reveal your inner self. It’s as if you are naked in front of each other. Now, you are made aware of each other’s true characters. The person before you isn’t the person who charmed your friends, bought gifts for your parents, and always put on a happy face. No, this is an exposed character before you. FULL POST

Posted 10/28/13 at 11:15 AM | Mort Fertel

How To Know if You Married The "Right" Person

It’s not uncommon, in my experience, to hear people question their decisions when it comes to love. After many years of marriage, the thrill of the relationship might have dulled and many couples begin to lose appreciation for one another.

Every relationship has a cycle. Falling in love is the easy part. It isn’t something you have to do, it just happens. Maybe you felt butterflies. Maybe you were nervous around the other person. People often describe the sensation as being “swept off their feet”. Consider the imagery of this situation. You’re standing there, oblivious, and love just happens.

Falling in love is a wonderful, spontaneous experience.

But then, the euphoria fades.

Slowly but surely, the passion and lust die down. It’s a natural symptom of every relationship. Quirks you used to love become annoying. Spending time with the other person becomes irritating. You stop looking forward to seeing them.

Now, if you’re simply dating, you can break up. You can end the relationship without any significant consequences. But marriage is about more than that. FULL POST

Posted 9/24/13 at 5:08 PM | Mort Fertel

How to Fix a Broken Marriage – Even When Your Spouse Resists

Is your marriage in trouble? Are you frustrated with your spouse or partner? Do you feel like you’re not as close as you used to be? Hope is not lost.

Millions of people around the world bemoan the fact that their marriage is plagued by neglect, boredom, infidelity, betrayal, money issues, or the threat of divorce. It might seem like there are no options for you, but there are ways to get your marriage back on track.

As a marriage expert and founder of alternative counseling techniques, I’ve seen real couples fix their broken marriages. The main idea is to focus on restoring the connection and put the past in the past. You don’t always need to fix every little thing that’s wrong with a marriage, rather, you need to work on making new things right.

By putting aside your issues, you can eventually move forward and reconnect. When a couple keeps harping on the past, it’s nearly impossible to embark upon the healing process.

This might sound different from typical marriage counseling tactics, but that only makes it an even better option for those looking for an alternative from the norm. The Marriage Fitness counseling program can help couples save their marriage when they feel like all hope is lost. FULL POST

Posted 9/16/13 at 5:14 PM | Mort Fertel

Fix Your Marriage

A bad marriage has repercussions far beyond a husband and wife – it can have a deleterious effect on the children and extended families too. Despite the fact that happy marriages contribute to a child’s well being, numerous couples admit that their relationship is plagued by infidelity, boredom, verbal abuse, “roommate syndrome”, or the lingering threat of divorce.

Even when it feels like there’s no chance for improvement, there are methods for restoring relationships and making a marriage work. Rekindling the connection can be one way to set a positive example for the children.

My approach to counseling is unlike others. Marriage Fitness helps couples focus on the present and the future rather than analyzing the past. While typical forms of therapy ask couples to work on their communication tactics and dredge up old issues, that is not what brings love, laughter, and intimacy back into a relationship.

The main goal of Marriage Fitness is to strengthen relationships by healing hurt and restoring love. FULL POST

Posted 9/8/13 at 2:53 PM | Mort Fertel

Hope for Troubled Marriages

Although there are two people in every a marriage, do you sometimes feel alone? It’s not an uncommon feeling. When asked about marital satisfaction, most people admit to issues like broken trust, addictive behavior, infidelity, emotional neglect, or boredom.

Though many therapists and relationship experts urge these couples to seek counseling, for many, therapy only serves to point out what is wrong with the marriage while doing nothing to make it right. Very often couples fail to heal their marriage because they’re focusing on fixing what’s wrong rather than trying to make new things right.

Traditional counseling typically asks individuals to dig into the past, dredge up problems, or practice communication techniques. These often serve to further distance a couple experiencing relationship issues rather than bring the partners closer.

Luckily there are alternatives to this more traditional marriage counseling. New methods ask couples to put aside their issues and move forward to create a new, stronger bond. Programs like Marriage Fitness show couples that if they can learn to forget the “wrongs” of the past and instead focus on doing right in the present, they are far more likely to rebuild their connection and create a lasting bond. FULL POST

Posted 8/31/13 at 11:21 PM | Mort Fertel

Is Your Marriage In Trouble?

Is your marriage in trouble? You’re not alone.

In fact, millions of people say that their marriage is plagued with trust issues, money trouble, emotional or physical infidelity, and verbal abuse. Many people blame themselves. They feel like if they only “tried harder” or changed something about their appearance or demeanor, they might have prevented the unhappiness permeating their marriage.

Before jumping straight to a separation however, many couples seek counseling. The hope is that with regular communication and the help of a professional, a couple might work through issues and emerge, ten sessions later, fulfilled and happy.

Unfortunately, many counseling methods are outdated and ill suited for repairing a broken relationship. Therapists might ask a husband and wife to focus on what went wrong over the years, or have them discuss communication techniques. But, at the end of the day, this often just drives couples even further apart.

If you’ve experienced the futility of this situation and feel like the only solution is a divorce, you might have one last option. There are alternative methods of healing a marriage that focus on making things right rather than focusing on what’s wrong. You don’t have to dig into your past, dredge up problems, and practice infantile communication techniques. Rather, you can neutralize your problems and focus on rebuilding your connection. FULL POST

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