Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel

How to Solve Marriage Problems

Taking a Step in the Right Direction

I want to share with you a little about my kids. Bear with me, ultimately my point will help you solve your marriage problems.

Each year, I take each of my children on a short 2 day/1 night trip. It's a chance for me to get quality 1-on-1 time with each of them away from the family dynamics. They don't have to compete for my attention. There are no siblings vying for my time, no appointments, no teleconferences, no meetings, I'm not working to solve people's problems; they get 2 days of my undivided attention.

On our way home traveling south on I95, my son said to me, "Daddy, you said YES to everything on this trip. Thank you."

I realized how often I have to say "no" to him during a normal day.

It's not unusual for my kids to ask me in the middle of a work day, "Daddy, will you play ball with me? Daddy, will you read me a story? Daddy, can you help me with this? Daddy, can you help me with that?"

I'm not a stay at home dad. More often than not, the answer to these questions is "No." I can't. I have a schedule. I have commitments.

Don't get me wrong, I spend time with my kids every day. We have dinner together every night. But when you have three 6 year olds and a 10 year old, dinner plus an hour or two is not nearly enough time to be able to say "Yes" to all their requests. I find that I just have to say "No" a lot. It's hard.

That's one of my goals on these 2 day private trips with each kid: to say YES.

"Daddy, can we go to the exercise room?"

"Sure. Let's do it."

"Daddy, can I show you how I can read?"

"Absolutely."

"Daddy, can you not work today?"

"Okay, no work today."

"Daddy, can I get a souvenir (we went to the United States Mint in Philadelphia)?"

"You can. What do you want? I'll buy it for you."

"Daddy, will you snuggle with me in bed tonight?"

"You bet. I got us a room with one king bed only."

You know kids...the requests just keep coming. And for 2 days I just kept saying "Yes."

A typical spouse is not as demanding as a 6 year old child; however, we have to say "No" to our spouse sometimes too.

"Honey, can you fix my computer?"

"I can't do that tonight. I have a teleconference tomorrow night but maybe I can look at it Wednesday night."

"Honey, can you pick the kids up at the Smith's at 3pm?"

"Sorry, I'll be in session."

How about a day of YES for your spouse? Your assignment this week is to pick 1 day this week and say YES all day long. Say YES to your kids, but especially say YES to your spouse. You might also consider sharing with your spouse that today is YESday. That way, you'll get more requests.

"Can we go out for dinner tonight?"

"Sure. Where do you want to go?"

"Can you get me a drink from the fridge?"

"Yes. What would you like?"

At the end of your YESday, maybe you'll hear from your spouse, "Honey, you said YES to everything today. Thank you."

I'm not saying that a YESday will solve all your marriage problems or that it can fix any marriage. But it's a start to shifting the momentum in your marriage. Small hinges swing big doors. Start small.
 

"In less than a week my husband was looking thru the material and willing to listen to the CD's"

Dear Mort,

I would like to first commend you on your patience, understanding, and clarity.  I was looking for the ultimate answer to my marriage problems. When I found you, I immediately signed up for the program. I started out on the lone ranger track but after I listened to the 1st CD and read the book (all in one evening) I began putting actions into motion. In less than a week my husband was looking thru the material and willing to listen to the CD's. He is kind of hard to impress but you did it.

Your program is a no brainer if you just think about it…the CD's explain  in full color what we have been doing to each other. I cannot Thank You enough for opening our eyes. We can work together again without arguing, we talk a lot more and sometimes the tv doesn't even get turned on.  I thank God every day that I found you. It was all the right timing. You will be in our lives forever. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Pam W.

P.S. My husband even did the whole laundry one week by himself. He even folded the clothes. BIG STEP.

And for other suggestions on how to solve marriage problems, enter your name and email below.

 

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