How We Approach Marriage
Our approach not only fixes broken marriages, it helps any couple make their marriage the happiest it’s ever been, regardless of the past.
The principles and methodology developed by our founder, Paul Friedman, differ completely from traditional methods; not only in practice, but also in results.
For the past 15 years, our clients have demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach in their daily lives. They have recovered from poor communication, falling out of love, neglect, infidelity, separation, and much more.
The Traditional Approach
Most people seek marriage help from a marriage counselor, whose training and methods are based on psychotherapy. These methods have been used for nearly 100 years, yet the divorce rate has increased 300% since the beginning of marriage counseling.
Psychotherapy can help individuals, but has been unable to help married couples because it starts with issues (i.e. symptoms) rather than holistically addressing the true needs of the relationship.
The traditional approach of “What are the problems? And how can we come to a compromise?” is a negotiation. This process works well for business or divorce, but not marriage, which is based on love and happiness.
We Focus On Happiness
If you had retained the happiness enjoyed during courtship and engagement, your marriage would be filled with ever-increasing love, harmony, and security.
Unfortunately, too many couples lose that happiness along the way.
As a divorce mediator, Paul saw countless unhappy couples who were ready to throw in the towel. However he wasn’t satisfied just helping them divorce amicably. He sought a solution to really help people with their marriages.
Through trial and error working with volunteer clients, he discovered and systematized the principles of marriage that help couples regain their happiness. He created a complete marriage system that addresses marriage holistically and produces positive results.
You were happy once, and with the right process, you’ll discover that it’s not difficult to be happy again.
Step 1. Eliminate Negativity
In all failing marriages we have seen, both spouses contribute to a never ending cycle of pain and frustration.
For instance: he often leaves towels on the floor; she nags him until he blows up; hurt, she turns a cold shoulder; he disconnects; both feel unloved and unappreciated.
Perhaps they reconcile, then repeat this cycle every couple of months. Or perhaps it drives one of them to an affair. Either way, the fighting or infidelity are only symptoms of a deeper, underlying problem.
Anger, emotions, habits, and reactiveness constantly interfere with our best intention to love and support our spouse.
We know better than to react or say negative things to our spouse, but sometimes we feel that we can’t help ourselves and they slip out. We think, “No big deal, they love me, so they’ll forgive me.” Yet this bad habit eventually drives most marriages toward divorce.
Paul developed The S.E.W. Technique™ to help people stop reacting from negative emotions, and over time, eliminate the negative emotions all together. In the Anatomy Of A Fight™ couples see for the first time how their words and actions have been damaging their marriage, and how they are biologically motivated to behave this way. Combined with a collection of calming techniques, couples finally have the understanding and tools needed to stop destroying their marriages.
Many of our clients write in that these techniques have transformed not only their marriages, but their entire lives as a result. This step is so fundamental that it is Paul’s firm belief that no one can make much progress improving their marriage without first getting a handle on anger, emotions and reactive behavior.
2. Rebuild The Foundation Of Your Marriage
Many people think everything would be fine if only their spouse changed. But you already know you can’t force someone to change. However you can inspire them to change through love and example.
So our focus is on you. We show you how your own behavior positively or negatively impacts your spouse and your relationship. As you change how you interact with your spouse, they will notice, and will usually shift their behavior.
Because we empower the individual, it only takes one person to turn a marriage around.
Laying blame on your spouse might feel justified, but it will never improve your marriage. We don’t blame either of you, and encourage you to avoid it as well. Instead, eliminate all destructive behavior on your side, and you will see your marriage stabilize and improve very quickly.
Paul calls the most destructive behaviors, The Three Killers Of Marriage™, which are not what you’d typically think (e.g. infidelity or separation are symptoms, not root causes). He says one or more of these killers is present in every couple that gets divorced.
Next, the 3 C’s (criticizing, complaining, and condemning) are to be strictly avoided if you want a happy marriage. We provide plenty of examples of other do’s and don’ts to help you understand how and why certain behaviors negatively or positively impact your spouse, and consequently, your marriage and yourself.
However it doesn’t matter how well you recognize destructive behavior if you cannot stay determined to improve it. Your habits will continually force you back into the negative rut.
The good news is that once you have establish good, positive habits, then even if you slip a little, your habits will get you back on track. So we place a huge emphasis on learning how to change habits. The S.E.W. technique is instrumental in slicing through them to replace reactions and criticism with loving behavior; replacing hurtful communication with positive communication.
Couples learn about the unique natures of men and women so they can ensure their own and each other’s needs are met. Loving your spouse how you want to be loved is not effective. You must learn to love your spouse how they want to be loved to really reach them.
3. Create A Marriage That Gets Better Every Day
By now your marriage has picked up a lot of momentum and your foundation has been solidifying.
If you’re the only one participating, your spouse has definitely noticed the changes in you, even if they haven’t said anything yet. They may be waiting to see if it will last. You know it will because you now understand what it takes to make an amazing marriage, you are using the S.E.W. technique daily, and are strengthening positive habits that will inevitably result in success.
Though your marriage is moving along well, you cannot leave it unattended. Fortunately, with your developing habits and deep understanding of marriage, you learn to maintain your marriage asto continue nurturing connection, commitment, kindness, respect, sex, intimacy, support, and love. Ultimately you will find your marriage will continue to improve day by day.
By the time you complete Paul’s marriage course, you know everything you need to navigate your marriage towards happily ever after. You’ll see pitfalls in the distance and easily avoid them. You’ll know more than most marriage “experts”. You’ll have become truly empowered in your marriage.