Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program - Page 4 - Talk About Marriage
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post #46 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 06:30 AM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

I have since gotten the book and workbook and CDs. It's interesting to listen to the Q&A CDs, although I've listened to him enough now that I find I know what he will say before he says it. Likewise, the CDs that come in the package, at least the ones I've listened to so far, say basically the same things as the evening call ins for the TeleBoot Camp. I think the point of the call in schedule is (1) not everyone has home internet, and it could be really hard to listen to a 90 minute lecture about saving your marriage from your work or library computer and (2) it puts you on a schedule - you can't try to fly through it too fast, and there is a schedule to keep bringing you back for seven weeks.

I am currently struggling with the exercises in the binder. One piece of advice is to put your issues aside and just build goodwill for now. Another is to institute talk charges, touch charges and date night. So what if one of our issues was that I wanted to continue with date night and my husband wants me to stop imposing on his time. Mort advises that you NOT give your partner space, but he also advises you not to address the issues for now, and I'm confused about what that means in my case. I WANT to spend more time with my husband, but if that's the issue...

Another challenge for me right now buying into the Marriage Fitness philosophy is about affairs. My husband has just, in the past month, started talking about a "friend" who doesn't have a name. That is, he lives about two hours away and everyone else he's met there he's talked about in terms of their name and how he knows them. Just in the past few weeks, I called one night and he was having dinner with "a friend." Day before yesterday he had to see the doctor and since anesthesia was involved, he had "a friend" take him to and from the appointment and it was the friend that the doctor was advised to talk to while hubby was coming out of anesthesia (I cannot begin to tell you how jealous I am that taking him to his appointment did not fall to me). And then we were talking about his vacation this summer and he has scheduled a second camping trip when he didn't have time to go anywhere with me, during the time that I'm on vacation, with "a friend." I am certain that they are all the same person. Mort says affairs never last because the one thing he knows about the other woman is that she's willing to get into a relationship with a married man. So have no fear it will fail. I have all kinds of fears. She offers the fun and lack of baggage of a new relationship and while I am acutely aware that if I try to start something new before I understand how I screwed up the old one, I'll just be condemned to repeat the same mistakes, but the old one lasted for 12 wonderful years, so how do I know that his new relationship won't last 12 wonderful years. (Do I even want him to lose out on that if he really can't be happy with me?) And I DON'T know that she's the sort of jerk who dates married men. He lives in a different town, he doesn't wear a wedding band, and in his head it's just a matter of getting the legal stuff taken care of. She could be completely amazing and wonderful and think of him as single.

Sigh. Lone ranger track SUCKS.

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post #47 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 07:50 AM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

I think the point of the spend time with each other but dont talk about any of your issues. Talk about things you would talk about on a date.

Sorry about the "friend" that can be a tough possiblity to swallow. Perhaps it truley is a friend, and I understand your struggle.
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post #48 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 04:51 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

I understand what you mean about talking like it's a date, and I'm good with controlling my topics when I talk with him. What I'm confused about is that asking him to spend time with me is one of the issues. So how do I get the time to hang out and NOT talk about our issues if I'm butting heads with one of the issues by continuing to call him daily on the phone or continuing to ask him to spend time with me?
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post #49 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 01:33 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Tele Seminar 3 is about giving gifts. Fertel spends a bunch of the time arguing that although we all know that loving someone encourages us to give them thoughtful gifts, it's also true that giving someone thoughtful gifts creates love between the two of you. There is also some discussion of what kinds of gifts to give, and encouragement to be all the more generous if you don't feel like giving because your spouse is being a butt. Seems simple enough, and can hardly hurt, so I'll put this into practice to a greater extent than I have been doing.

I was irritated again by Fertel's comments about his live tele-seminars and how he's not reading from a script but speaking from his heart. Maybe that was true when he recorded them, but they're not live. Some of the "live" tele-seminars are happening at the same time as he's taking questions in the telephone Q&A sessions.

Oh, warning to those of you thinking you'll sign up and take advantage of the money back guarantee: it's got several catch-22s in it, so be careful. The guarantee says you can get your money back if you (1) attempt the program - which would include filling in the workbook which is copyrighted and you're expressly forbidden to xerox it without permission, and (2) return the materials in resellable condition - which would require not filling in the workbook; if you (3) have had your one-on-one laser session - supposed to be scheduled for late in the seven week program, and (4) ask for your money back within 30 days - the beginning of the seven week boot camp.

I'm sounding negative but the truth is having a "program," even if it doesn't work, has allowed me to switch my focus and stop driving my husband crazy by trying to make him talk about our problems, so for that alone it's worth it to me.
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post #50 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 07:14 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Teleseminars 4 and 5 are around his idea of "moving from me to we" and he tells a number of stories to illustrate the necessity of acting as a team rather than looking to have your spouse meet your needs. One argument he makes is that if you look to have your needs met you'll always find that you have more needs and you're still not happy. If, on the other hand, you make it your life's work to make your spouse happy, you'll get the joy of pleasing someone you love and a happy marriage, and that will make everything else you don't have okay. This seems like wise advice to me, although these two weeks seem more aimed at people in the Duo track.

That reminded me that there really isn't any difference between the Duo and Lone Ranger tracks in the program - the difference is just that some participants see themselves as being in one group or the other. But the teleseminars, the Q&A conferences, the book, the CDs and the workbook are all the same for both groups. Some of the exercises in the workbook do describe small tweaks to how you should do the activity based on which track you're in. For example, he rails in one teleseminar about the craziness of writing your marriage mission statement alone - you and your spouse might come up with different missions for what is supposed to be the same marriage - but if you're in the lone ranger track you have no choice. If your spouse comes around and you eventually come to the duo track, you can re-write it.

One other thought about the program that was on my mind listening to these most recent teleseminars (which, by the way, are the same content as the CD of the same number) was I wonder what his success rate is. A lot of the program is based on the idea that you should tolerate just about anything your spouse dishes out while you're trying to get them to join you in reconciling the marriage and just have hope that it will pay off. Mort claims his techniques are the MOST likely to work and quoted a statistic in the first teleseminar something like 75% of couples who go to marriage counseling are divorced or say things are worse a year later. I'm certainly in that 75%, but he doesn't say anything about what his stats are. He has a lot of testimonials on his web site (dozens to hundreds) but since he claims to have worked with thousands of couples, that means at least 90% of them aren't represented in his testimonials. Which could just mean people were successful but wanted to keep their private lives to themselves. Whatever - that's my review for this week.
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post #51 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 03:36 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Well, I finished reading the book. I realized that the book, the CDs and the teleconferences are Fertel's way of giving you the same information in a bunch of different formats. One of the CDs, teleconference 6, and one chapter of the book is about "save yourself". I have a hard time taking seriously the idea that you should avoid touching people of the opposite sex so that you can be more in tune to the thrill when you touch your spouse, although the truth is I have very little human contact now that my marriage is on the rocks. Maybe "needing" my husband more makes me more committed to fixing things - now if I only knew HOW to fix them.

There is just one teleconference left, and if I want to have my ten-minute laser session with Fertel, I have to do it in the next week. I don't really have any questions for him - the program is pretty clear - I should keep doing touch charges and talk charges and sending gifts to my husband and eventually he will come around, and if he hasn't come around yet I just haven't done it enough yet. Now that this program is winding down, the emails I get from Fertel are encouraging me to sign up for a continuing program that would allow me to listen to future Q&A teleconferences and would keep me on his email mailing list. I am completely sold on the idea that if my marriage had turned around in these first seven weeks, I could ruin it all by stopping the things that had caused that turn-around. But I am also feeling really cynical about the money - Fertel sells a paperback book, a binder of exercises that largely parrot the book, pre-recorded teleconferences, spends one night a week doing Q&A teleconferences with his bootcamp participants, and gives each participant 10 minutes of his solo attention. Even if he'd had to earn a professional psychology degree to do this work, $400 per person is a pretty fee for this time commitment on his part. I don't know that buying the whole program got me more than I'd have gotten from buying the book (with all its advertising to join the pay program). I do think listening in to the Q&A has made me feel less alone, although it doesn't give me much hope, since I'm only hearing from the other people whose problems are still overwhelming to them.
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post #52 of 94 (permalink) Old 08-22-2010, 07:38 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

There's a nice overview of the program in this radio interview: Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel 8/28/2008 - jsforeman | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio


I was also intrigued that at the end of the Tele Boot Camp, there was a mass email asking for a recommendation. I'm sure mine won't end up on the web page since I can't say that anything has changed in my relationship (I'm hoping to fall into that bamboo tree metaphor) but it's clear he's trying to get some sense of how the program served his clients (and of course get positive feedback to post on his web page). Also, in the radio program, the host mentions that she found Mort Fertel because when she mentioned on the air that her marriage was in trouble, tons of her listeners called her to recommend Mort to her.
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post #53 of 94 (permalink) Old 11-01-2010, 01:42 AM
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Unhappy Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Five months in to the program and I'll post a couple more observations:

A couple of online reviews have accused Mort Fertel of offering a thinly veiled faith-based program. I would argue that it is not faith based in the sense that you need to share his religious beliefs to be able to follow his arguments. But it is faith-based in the way that faith healing is: if you believe him and follow his instructions precisely, he claims that he has seen very few cases where it didn't work. If you reply that his plan didn't work, he will respond that you haven't followed it carefully enough or for long enough, and you should just stick with it, so it can never be the case that his program isn't successful enough. Fertel is very self-assured and he considers his participants "arrogant" if they question his advice (although you should have a buyer beware attitude to the advice of any competitor who offers competing advice).

Fertel claims that you don't need to worry about your spouse's affair because affairs never last - if they did why don't we all know stories of long-lasting marriages that started with affairs? Well, one of my cousins is married to a man she started dating before he left his wife, and they've been married, apparently happily, for 22 years. I thought maybe Fertel was right, and my cousin was that rare exception. But check out this brief radio story Infidelity | This American Life and you'll hear that as affairs lose their social stigma, more and more couples are writing in their New York Times wedding announcements that they started as an affair. Ick.

If your spouse is cheating on you, Fertel will argue that you need to be really good to them and your behavior will eventually tug on their heartstrings and they'll have to start treating you well. He believes that no one can stand to just take advantage of their generous spouse forever. I am lucky to be married to someone who isn't just a leech, but I know other relationships where one spouse is quite happy to take and take and take and I suspect that Fertel's advice would fail completely for those marriages.

It would be much easier to take his claims seriously if he offered information on how often the lone ranger track actually "works" (both spouses claim the marriage was renewed and is now happy), but they only post the positive testimonials on the web page (and while there are several saying "we're making progress", there are few to none saying "I started in the lone ranger track and the program lived up to my hopes.")

I hate posting this. Fertel's program may kind of suck and STILL be the best thing out there, and I can't imagine you can make it work without believing in it, so I fear I'm ruining it for someone who could benefit. On the other hand, my five months of listening to and reading his advice (and following it for the most part - I have not given up on shaking hands with people of the opposite sex) leave me convinced that he likes claiming that he is the unquestionable authority and taking your money but isn't so committed to making sure that his program actually works.
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post #54 of 94 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 02:57 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Elenap, I want to thank you for your latest update.

Mort's program was recommended to me by a friend after I told her about my husband's affair. I signed up for the daily emails, then eventually ordered the CDs and book package. My husband is extremely willing to do this with me-in fact I think he's more into it than I am. He suggested we "upgrade" and sign up for the boot camp-the full $400 program. I considered it-until I read your latest post.

My story is this: My husband of 12 years just dropped the bomb on me that he'd been having an affair for the past two months. He said he felt guilty and wanted to make it up to me. He told me the affair made him realize just how much he loves me, and made him see how badly he'd been treating me all these years. (He's emotionally distant and I've been here day after day waiting for him.) His affair was over and I had no idea about it before he came clean.

What you said about Mort's thoughts on affairs wouldn't apply to my situation. Since it's my husband's affair that was what put on the road to needing help, I need something that has a different philosophy than "you have to treat the cheating spouse good so they'll feel guilty and end the affair". I have been nothing BUT good to my husband for the better part of our marriage. It didn't prevent the affair, and I don't need to worry about making him end it because he did already. So, what is his advice for DEALING with the pain, the betrayal, the mistrust? That's what I need help with. Reconnection is good and all, but let's be realistic. Trying to recover from all the damage an affair does requires more than touch charges, talk charges, and date nights. None of that is going to help me reestablish trust, ease the pain of the betrayal, or erase the fact that my husband stepped out on me while our marriage was good and I was the supportive wife, dutifully raising our child and caring for our home-all the while waiting for him to connect with me.

And I know more than a few couples that are happily married and together as a result of an affair. My mother cheated on my father with his childhood best friend. The friend and my mom just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. My uncle and his current wife were cheating on their spouses, they left them, and now have three kids together and have been married to each other for over 10 years. "Affairs don't last"...yeah, right.

If that's the kind of stuff he's selling, I ain't buying.
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post #55 of 94 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 12:52 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

Last week my wife served me with divorce papers. I signed up for Mort's program with high hopes - but honestly after reading Kiwi's account then he dropped off the map is very disappointing. For I could completely relate to his situation, hopes and desires.

It's tough overcoming issues- I was no saint and didn't make the marriage a happy place for my wife, thus pushing her away and into another's arms. I even started a blog exposing everything about my past and how jacked up it was.

Going to be starting therapy soon for myself (like I said, I have issues as well) and maybe with Mort's help I can stop some of this anti-relationhip behaviour and start making myself a better person of integrity.

Would like to know how Kiwi faired though - anyone know?

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post #56 of 94 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 05:04 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

RisingPhoenix, may I suggest another option for you? I have long since finished all the steps of Mort's program without any significant change and am now working with a coach from DivorceBusting.com. Marriage Fitness is $400, which buys you a binder, a book, and some pre-recorded telephone lectures and CDs. My coach will cost me more than that ($120 for an hour-long session every three weeks) because she talks directly to me and helps me craft a plan specific to my circumstances, but it's worth it to me because I don't think Mort's one-size-fits-all was working for me (and I resent his response that if it doesn't work for you, you must not have done what he says to do for long enough). My coach has calmed me down when I'm feeling crazy, given me very specific advice, and ended each phone call with a discussion of how to measure whether what we're trying is working. The folks at DivorceBusting are also willing to say how often their clients are successful (about 90%). And I find this program a little easier to trust because the professionals at DivorceBusting have training beyond their personal experiences and are connected in to an international network of marriage counselors and educators who share best practices with each other. If what you need is help grieving your husband's betrayal, I suspect that talking to an actual person is more likely to help than just having Mort tell you that you need to figure out to what extent it was your fault.
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post #57 of 94 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 05:07 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

p.s. I also recently joined a face-to-face support group of other people going through what I'm going through, and it really helps to hear other people's stories. Both www.DivorceBusting.com and [url removed by request of website owner] have discussion boards now where you can get support from other program participants.

Last edited by Chris H.; 01-28-2011 at 09:25 AM. Reason: url removed by request of website owner
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post #58 of 94 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 11:18 PM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

i've been following this and guess i'll chime in. i just signed up for mort fertel's lone ranger track. i've done my homework and except for some of the posts above, he gets high marks all over the web. i first heard about him on the radio. i finally decided to pull the trigger when my counselor and my priest both recommended mort's program IN THE SAME WEEK. they both told me stories of people they've worked with who are in similar situations to mine who said that mort's program saved their marriage. i figure if professionals are recommending the program and they know of people personally who it worked for that's good enough for me. i hope it works. my wife's having an affair and i'm totally devastated. i'll keep you posted. wish me luck.
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post #59 of 94 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 12:00 AM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

There are two things I like about the program. (1) Its an education in the institution of marriage and how to go about building a strong marriage that keeps love at its core. (2) If your marriage is not saved, you will know a whole lot more about how to create a good marriage the next time around so you dont have to relive the horror of a broken heart.
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post #60 of 94 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 10:19 AM
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Re: Review of Mort Fertel's Marriage Fitness Program

i agree troy, but my concern is my current marriage not another one. i'm having second thoughts and wondering how i can turn my marriage around if it's only me working on it.
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