Before you look for help for your marriage, I want you to think about this for a moment. Whatever the current “reason” you’re looking for marriage help; whatever is going on in your marriage that is causing concern, there are two questions you should ask before you decide what kind of help you want, and where you should turn:
- Do you want your marriage to be vastly improved, by changing your marriage at its core?
- Are YOU willing to make personal changes, or do you see your spouse as the whole problem?
If your problem is “smallish” maybe we can help you right away. One of our counselors may have an idea you haven’t thought of. It’s free to ask, and you will get a quick response from someone who has many years of experience, with all kinds of issues.
Otherwise, if your marriage is in trouble, or heading that way, you may actually consider yourself fortunate. Because by using our marriage help program you can effectively deal with your current problem(s), AND at the same time, you will learn what you need to do to completely change the dynamics of your marriage, forever.
You may already know we also offer two different marriage help books, Lessons For A Happy Marriage and Breaking The Cycle (our therapist training manual). These are great, and have saved many marriages, but there is nothing I know of that is as effective as our program.
Your marriage is likely suffering from underlying symptomatic errors
These errors in thinking and behavior create what appear to be nearly unsolvable problems, which you recognize by your marriage being generally stagnant, or declining. That’s why your marriage will likely take pointed action to turn around. Generally speaking, issues, such as lack of intimacy, affairs, constant anger, mistrust, and other larger types of problems are the result of these “core” errors, which create all manner of problems in marriage. Addressing these core issues is our strength. We can help you.
Some core errors of thinking include expectations that are unreasonable. I once saw a cartoon where a teacher was complaining to Einstein’s parents, saying that he would never succeed; that he was too messy and absent minded. I have often had to explain to men that their wife was not designed by nature to be like them, and, on the other “side”, I have had to explain to wives that men cannot feel love the same way they do. Our individual experiences, alone, will not allow us to truly understand the other gender. But when you see the science behind the reasons for gender differences you will be able to modify your thinking and behaviors. It is kind of cool to learn to work with the differences instead of trying to change each other.
Marriage, to us, is scientific. If something is wrong, there are specific reasons at the core level.
What is going to make your marriage work has much more to do with understanding all that goes into it, than individual intentions. Of course your intentions are good! You want your marriage to bring you happiness! This is very important. But you cannot imagine a great marriage into existence, nor can you change one or two things and make everything better. You have to know how to make the right kinds of efforts and avoid the wrong kinds. It takes a lot of education, well worth it by the way. You also have to decide you are willing to do the work. Then we can help you. Then everything will work out as best as it can, usually much better than you ever had before.
Paul Friedman created these world class programs, and remains actively involved. Although we have heard from some that his approach can feel a bit harsh at times it is to be expected. Not everyone is sincere when they seek help. Some people do not want to discover their own actions and attitudes are part of the problem, so they resist useful guidance. We know we can’t help everyone, we’ve all been there.
Look, all of our advice is always 100% of the time, backed up by core scientific principles; biological and spiritual. Nothing we present is based on theoretical ideas. Our marriage help program works because of its reliance on provable science.
FOR INSTANCE: “anger is the result of thwarted desires”. This is as factual as it is simple. Now, this reality about anger doesn’t mean that one should simply dismiss all anger, or come to other crazy conclusions that will harm you individually. But, remembering this scientific principle gives you many options you didn’t have before (once you understand it more deeply) about how you can deal with anger; whether it is yours or your spouses. There are many ways to deal with anger, and we make sure you can evaluate things to your, and your marriage’s advantage. This is just one example. Marriage is scientific.
When you hear advice from us you will clearly understand why what we share with you is important to your marriage from a scientific, cause and effect, point of view. Our method of teaching will give you confidence in your newly acquired marriage saving actions. But don’t worry about not “getting” something. If something isn’t pristinely clear, you don’t have to be left hanging. Our counselors will explain things you may not initially understand, so you never have the feeling of uncertainty. We offer this service to all, whether you have signed up for the program, are reading one of our books, or just need some quick advice.
Are you mature enough to take responsibility with your actions? Did it hit you?
The science we teach is not always intuitive. We are so conditioned by habits, culture and generally accepted practices which are just crazy (look how long it took for people to accept civil rights for all). So some people will test the principles; that’s good! But there are some few people who are so stubborn. They continue to do what both science AND their own trial and error will repeatedly show them does not work. Yet they insist on their old views and behaviors continuing to rule them and keep them miserable. Does this sound like you? Not everyone is mature enough to take true responsibility for their actions, or accept the “mechanical” results of their actions. We wish it were not so. Thank God those people are rare. But we are very patient, anyway. We want your marriage to be happy.
We are very sincere about helping you. Of course our role is not to pander to your emotions or wrong desires. You must do your part.
If what we teach is tried, in most cases you will have success. If you don’t get the resulting better marriage we promise, we will not blame you, or us. Sometimes a marriage is too far gone (but it is statistically rare), and some individuals are too weakened by drugs, alcohol, or other mental handicaps to the point where they can’t muster the strength. Either way, our guarantee gives you the right to get your money back (there is a time limit, of course). Naturally, our counseling sessions aren’t guaranteed. We train veteran counselors, from various disciplines, who must be paid for their time.
THE TRUTH IS: You will not risk more than an hour or so (you will know quickly if our program will work for you) and you have three months to try the program. But you will see the value of our program very quickly.
So let’s dig a little deeper.
What if only one of us is looking for marriage help?
What is so inspiring is that the example set by one of you can have a radical impact on your spouse. We’ve just got this from someone whose wife finished the program five months ago, “My wife did your training in October. I want to be the best person I can for her that’s why I’m doing your training. I’m trying my best, but I have slipped sometimes and said things I shouldn’t. I want to work through your program and be a good person.”
We have this happen so many times and it is normal to us, now. But of course you never know. We have seen husbands come around even five years later! But they did come around. Usually, though, the wife changing her own approach to their marriage is more than enough for happiness.
Some people want to know what we mean by “scientific”. It is very interesting, mostly because prior to The Marriage Foundation addressing marriage as a whole as scientific, marriage help was roughly broken into three camps: Religious, Psychological, and Anecdotal. It is we who introduce the fourth, and best way – Scientific.
First off, was the religious or faith-based approach
Honestly, I like this approach best of the first three because it is based on deep spiritual principles of friendship and marriage. It is moral, and though open to interpretation as to what scripture applies to what, it is still based on universal principles of behavior. Who can argue with basic spiritual principles like “treat others the way you want to be treated”? Where this approach falls short is that it is usually applied in the context of the couples counseling model; which is by and large a disastrous idea right from the start.
Next is the psychological approach
I can’t stand this approach because the principles run counter to common sense. They make the soul an idea of the mind, an abstraction. The modern psychologist is trained to believe you are the body and mind, and you have a soul (maybe).
Well, how can that be the case? Who, in this case, is in charge of the mind?!?! In fact, one of the most important premises of happiness is that you are obligated to control your mind. So, “who” does that? It is common sense that you are the soul, and you have a mind. In fact, Paul devised a technique that gives individuals control over their mind like never before. It is called SEW Technique, and is amazing. It is thoroughly explained in the program.
The third camp is almost useless
Depending on how convincing a speaker the anecdotal marriage “expert” is, he is only as good as his own experiences. Someone had a rough time, and did “what it took” to bring their marriage back. It just lacks universal objectivity, because not every couple has the same experiences in life and marriage. We have had to help survivors of these programs, and it is not so easy because they were convinced emotionally, not by logic.
The scientific approach we have is the best
It follows every behavior and tendency all the way back to biological origins, which are the root cause of what we think of as “natural” behaviors and reactions. These drive-to-survive actions undermine all happiness. They define selfishness, which is the opposite of what is required to have a truly happy marriage.
There are so many marriage programs out there, and some are effective “enough”. We don’t go along with “enough”. Marriage is a unique creation that promises incredible happiness when you follow the simple “rules” that are just for marriage. We want to share what we know to all. But who looks for what we have if they are not suffering? So consider your current situation a blessing. And let’s get you on the marital highway to heaven.
So what basically is the SEW Technique?
It is revolutionary for marriage help.
Paul said this; “Admittedly, I didn’t realize how crucial the SEW Technique is to marital happiness. In fact, I first introduced it in Breaking The Cycle where I didn’t use the acronym; that was put forth by one of my clients.
As she came into my office clutching the book to her heart she said, “the SEW Technique is saving my marriage.” I had no idea what she was talking about. She responded to my quizzical look by repeating stop, etc. What a cool acronym!
The origin of the SEW Technique was my response to what I discovered is a nearly impossible obstacle for all individuals; the ability to curb habits, reactions, emotions, etc. No matter how well someone understands the “physics” of marriage, which is an equally important part of saving your marriage, subconscious reactive habits are tremendous enemies. In the past, I tried everything I could get my hands on to break unwanted habits, and it was always a struggle. Now, it’s a process; its SEW. This technique, along with calming methods, communication help, and virtually everything you need to heal your marriage are all included in our marriage help program.”
Believe me, if there was any hope of your being able to use the SEW Technique by my just telling you what it is, I would. In fact, I tried sharing it in quick and simple form. But the technique requires understanding a number of foundational concepts to be successfully utilized.
The SEW Technique is Power, WHY IS THIS SO?
There are ancient poems that describe how difficult it is to control one’s mind. Comparisons like “you may conquer the planets and stars, build an army of millions, sway the masses; but to control the mind is greater and more difficult.”
How many habits have beaten us throughout the years? How many New Year’s resolutions had to be “forgotten”? Habits are right up there with fear and anger as the uppermost destroyers of happiness.
The SEW technique offers each practitioner the absolute ability to gain control over their mind. there is no greater power for creating marital happiness, because then all you need is “right knowledge”, and a clear vision for your marriage.
There are three pillars to marriage, and all three must be in place for marital success:
- A clear purpose, which should be to gain happiness through unconditional or marital love.
- Understanding of the “physics” of marriage. Knowing what does what, and why.
- Control over the subconscious reactive habits (sounds complicated), but you have to have it!
I truly believe that all the thousands of couples who have used our programs to save their marriages would never have found the happiness if not for this combination. I have rarely seen a marriage fail when individuals make this right kind of effort.
My conviction is that marriage is the ultimate enterprise. When properly understood, it is a natural way to live and the greatest source of happiness.
By now I’m sure you’ll be wondering, is there a marriage help (specifically) for men?
Yes, there is. Approximately 50% of the requests for help that we get are from men. Interestingly, men seem more resigned to a reality that their marriage may end, but they still want to give it everything they’ve got. Usually a man’s biggest problem is anger. They will often start to change, then get mad and revert to blame, insisting their wife needs to change.
There are two major groups of men who contact us:
- One group cheated on their wife and she found out.
- The other group discovered their wife was having an affair.
Also, a smaller group of men exist who’ve realized their marriage is falling apart, sometimes only because their wife said they would get a divorce lawyer and file for a divorce. A few—very few—want to change themselves to adapt to their situation. The last group will do the best.
The situations where a wife has an affair is extremely difficult to resolve; the most difficult. We rarely see those marriages succeed, but men are still encouraged to learn about their marriage, because you never know. And, especially if there are kids involved, post-marriage communication still requires some finesse.
When both husband and wife want the relationship back on track, it results in success. When a woman wants to save her marriage, she’ll almost always succeed.
But because a woman throws her heart into an affair, it is often too late to give her husband a second chance. When young children are involved, it is not easy, knowing what those kids will go through. We do not see many successful marriage fixes in this group.
Men who think they can understand the mind of a woman are deluding themselves. I am not trying to be funny, just practical. But, men, you don’t need to understand them in order to express your love and appreciation.
Before we go any further, I want you to know that the best marriage help for men comes from learning the practical aspects of marriage. Men should also begin the process of understanding that logic and reason are inferior to feeling. In fact, if you are at all spiritual, you should think in terms of women being connected to their hearts, while men are connected to their instinct to procreate. Maybe, in this way, women are far superior. We each see things in our own way.
A man needs to hold a mirror to himself so he can see how he’s changed his expectations of his wife since they got married, and changed his appreciation of her over to expectations. It should also be pointed out that women are not the same after they get married because they, too, are driven by innate drives that change their perspective. In fact, more so than men. But the behaviors that made you want to marry each other still work if you resurrect them.
Here’s the interesting thing, men usually use their free will and power to be protectors. But then they may become controllers, who nobody appreciates. Their wife will be more open to them if they go back to being loving, complimenting, and adoring. It is terrible for a woman when a man shows violence toward his wife. But so many do. Maybe they think it is appropriate, because of the whole machismo thing, or they just don’t bother keeping their tempers in check.
Men do not change themselves very easily, but consider this: All behaviors come from within. It is our mind that reacts. So, until we improve control over our mind, we will only get so far by modifying our behavior to please our wife. It takes a big commitment, but it is well worth it. The point is, men who dig deep and change themselves never regret it. The ones who don’t always repeat it.
REMEMBER THIS: When you’re not getting along it seems like your marriage has no way to go but down. But it isn’t true!
So what can you do about it?
Sometimes all you need to do is to take a positive approach to marriage help, and end the slide once, and for all. You can make your marriage into what you should have, from before you got married. Who says you have to repair the current problems?!
I think of marriage problems as that which happens to you when you take a wrong step, and twist your ankle. Sure, it hurts. And, sure it will take some time to heal. But it’s done. The best way to deal with your marriage is not going to be by untwisting your ankle. It can’t be done. You just have to wait it out; and hopefully without too much complaining. It’s easy isn’t it? No, the best thing to do is learn how to walk your marriage in a way where you don’t twist it, again; or break it!
When I began working with couples I realized the more they spoke about the problems they were having the more negative they became. It was unbearable for me, but it had to be worse for them. They were reliving their unhappiness with every detail, and making things even worse that what they were. I stopped allowing it.
I developed a system for them to follow, which went into my first book, then made it more academic for my second. I started their healing by stopping the sliding. I showed them how to systematically stop the fighting, and dramatically reduce toxic inputs. Then we got down to business!
The key is learning how marriage works. It’s true. When you have anything at all, if you understand it, you will do a lot better than if you don’t know enough about it. The best illustration is this guy trying to “start” a vacuum cleaner. Now, figure out what he is doing:
That’s how most people are with their marriage. So what does all this mean? If he now is shown how marriage works, he will do a lot better!
Don’t give up on your marriage. In almost all cases marriages are far more resilient than you can ever imagine. And instead of “working on the problems”, as so many try to do, best get started by shifting to a positive approach to marriage. Can you handle it?