Wildwood Daze – Winter of 1979 – Tools of the Trade

I think because I was doing well in school and they had failed me as parents in my obvious musical upbringing and had handed over their money to Mr. Buckwalter to teach my sister Janice piano lessons so she could please my dad and not be able to play a fucking note they had no choice.

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I started to think about buying a real guitar. I was excited about the notion of getting a REAL guitar. Obviously this rock and roll thing was sticking and I needed a proper instrument. Jim had a Fender Stratocaster and it was a good guitar but it was brown and sensible. A Gibson Les Paul was simply too heavy and way too expensive.

I wanted something that would define me as a rock star. I wanted something else. Everybody played Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Guild, and whatever boring guitars were out there. A Gibson Explorer crossed my mind but looked too bulky. A Dean looked too much like everything else.

One day I was reading Creem or Circus magazine, (Other than Rolling Stone, they were the two leading music mags of the time) I saw Paul Stanley from the band Kiss playing and interesting looking axe. The way it looked really touched something in me.

Yes. That was the guitar for a future rock star.

I had to have that.

A 1979 Black Ibanez Iceman. Double humbucker pickups. Rosewood neck, and a sexy young body. Just like the girls I liked. That hook. That stinger. Yes!

I had to have that guitar.

Jim had introduced me to a guy that gave guitar lessons in town. He was an older dude who’s father owned a storefront down on Pacific avenue when that meant something. It was a radio and TV repair store. A dusty old place that felt like it’s time had come and gone.

I was surprised how many people Jim knew at his tender age, but he was a seeker and was always thirsty for knowledge. He somehow found Charlie Billaris the son who was this great guitar player back in the day.

He introduces me to Charlie and he’s a really nice older guy. (Now when I say older, I mean back then, late twenties because we were so young) He had been teaching Jim some songs and I thought he was cool.

We would sit in this old store full of old TV’s and radios and just jam. It was beautiful and primitive. He had taught Jim and I wanted some of that. I think I would give him ten bucks and he would teach me songs by Led Zeppelin and basic blues runs.

Charlie was a great guitar player. He had once played in a band called 12 Gauge years ago but they never made it and now he worked in his dad’s shop. I wondered how a guy that was this good had never gone forward to pursue music full-time. But he was married now with a baby and had already been burned out from the circuit. I assured that would never happen to me. I was going to be a rock star like Joe Perry and become a great songwriter.

“Charlie.”

“Yea, man.”

“How can Keith Richards be such drug addict and still perform and make great records with the Stones?”

“When you got it… you got it.”

That was his only answer. He was right. Simple and complete. He was older. He knew stuff.

He taught me so much. I got better. I started to really understand my little Silvertone guitar so much better. Under Charlie I wrote better more melodic songs and was really coming along as a guitar player. I wanted it so bad it was coming on fast. My mind was starving for rock and I just breathed it all in. I would go home and learn the songs and keep writing and playing non stop in my room.

One day Jim and I were at Charlie’s house just hanging out and jamming. Jim starts talking about how I was thinking about getting a REAL guitar.

I tell Charlie the guitar I’m dreaming about.

“I can get you that. But I have to go to New York to get that baby. She’s rare.”

I had to clear that whole transaction with my parents because it would be my entire savings from working as a busboy all summer at the Dolphin restaurant for this guitar.

I think because I was doing well in school and they had failed me as parents in my obvious musical upbringing and had handed over their money to Mr. Buckwalter to teach my sister Janice piano lessons so she could please my dad and not be able to play a fucking note they had no choice.

It was money I had earned being a busboy so they technically couldn’t say shit. I’m doing my homework. I’m excelling as a student. I’m not getting into trouble. I’ve somehow adjusted to this nightmare I’ve been dropped off into so let me do what I want with my money.

I gave Charlie $250 to go get the guitar of my dreams in New York City. That seemed like a world away back then.

A week later I get a call from him and he says he’s back and he has her.

I call Jim. We have to go together to collect my dream!

We walk out to Charlies house and I’m excited and apprehensive. This is the biggest purchase of my life and it’s tied to my greatest love of all time. MUSIC!

We knock on his door and his wife answers. (Lisa was a hot little blonde. Just saying….musicians pull sweet tail)

We go in and Charlie comes out. We’re nervous and excited because we both are anticipating what’s supposed to happen. We sit down and he offers us both a beer. We’re teenage boys so of course we’re going to respect and accept but we’re not really drinkers. (Yet… Me. Not Jim)

We’re nursing out beers trying to be cool during this watershed moment in my young life. Then he brings out this black rectangle flight case and lays it on the sofa like a coffin. My mind can’t comprehend what’s inside of that box.

“Go ahead. Open the case.” Charlie’s wife is smiling.

I set my beer down and go to the flight case. I unsnap the buckles and locks on the case. I slowly raise the lid.

Tears fill my eyes.

There she is!

That’s my new axe! That’s my girl! That’s going to be what will carry me forth in rock and heavy metal in my future. I already feel that I am going to go beyond Wildwood and everything in my worthless anxiety filled life with her!

On the little box inside the case where you keep your picks, slide and other cool goodies I decorated it with twin skulls, a little scarab and a miniature Iceman pin!

This IS Rock and Roll. I have arrived on life’s stage as a musician. A worthless nothing with depression and anxiety has taken a step to strap on an elegant guitar to make great music for the world and be a star!

I remember my eyes not being able to accept the instrument before me. The possibilities with Jim. The songs we would write. The incredible jams. The songs we would play together on stage. Everything was coming together for me. My dreams were coming true!

I told Charlie I had the other half of the money in my account. (That guitar cost $500 in 1979. That’s a shitload of cash for a busboy back then. That’s basically all I made that summer) He is hesitant to let her go, but his wife intercedes.

“They’re good boys. Let him take it.” (Is she into me?)

I promise to bring Charlie the difference tomorrow, and they let Jim and I leave with my brand new battle-axe.

I had to stop two times on the way home and open up the case and just look at her again because she was so beautiful. She was the most beautiful guitar I had ever seen and I couldn’t believe she was mine. Having this guitar and looking upon her was like taking little Terri to Star Wars and kissing her for the first time and feeling what love was.

It was just an amazing time stopping moment to stand under the street light at 22nd and Central with my best friend and favorite guitarist and open that case and look at that guitar.

It reminded me of when I was there when my mom first saw the shore house completely remodeled by my dad.

“Oh Hoss… this is too nice for us.” my mother said.

This was too nice for us. But I’m an overachiever and this is the perfect guitar for me.

I have arrived.  I just hope Jim and I can make the band work out.

Here’s an amusing footnote: The Ibanez Iceman that brought me years of joy upon acquiring it cost me a whopping $500 in 1979. An incredible instrument!

A friend of mine recently sent me this….

Nice investment that I’d like to be buried with.

Oh, and still rocking out today…

Here’s a song I used to love to listen to at the beach in the summer of 79. Great pop song and solo.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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1969 Volkswagen Minibus – 1969 to 1984 – Part 2

I think it was Christmas 1978 and Janice got a blue VW Rabbit for Christmas. Great gift. But she was the first born and the first child going off to college. She had been accepted to Franklin & Marshall. She was always a good student. So I guess Dad wanted her to have solid transportation to and from school, or to at least get around while she was away at college.

Blue was her favorite color and it was a cute little car. But all this meant was that the minibus was going to me next. Dad had discussed it with me. The age to drive in PA was 16 but in NJ it was 17. But the drinking age in PA is 21 and it was 18 in NJ. Go figure. So in 1980 I was legal for everything.

My dad would take me out for a few hours in the morning on the weekends and teach me how to drive. I really learned how to drive a van. Because Wildwood, NJ is an island, tidal flooding must always be taken into consideration. So many of the roads crown in the middle so that water will run along the sides and not the middle.

So here I am with a very patient teacher (Dad) teaching me how to do K turns on a crown in a VW minibus without stalling the vehicle. It’s a 4 speed stick. Oh, and the van has a big blind spot on the back right side. It was very challenging for a new driver. I stalled her out plenty of times until I learned how to balance the clutch and the gas. It’s all just a balanced dance with the feet. When you learn in a vehicle like that that is big, awkward, sluggish manual steering and stick, you really learn how to manage any car after that.

It took a few lessons and I studied the book you get from the DMV when they issue you your permit. I aced the test, and passed the driving test thanks to Dad.

But that was the 2nd time I took the driving test.

The first time I was nearly through it and the guy that was in the van with me when I took the test yanked on the emergency brake and broke it. The van was 12 years old by then, it just gave way because he pulled on it really hard. So he failed me not for my performance but because of the vehicle.

My dad was pissed. I remember him being angry at the guy. It’s always okay to do stuff to your own kids, but see what happens when somebody else does something to them. I remember we were walking back to the barracks and a piece of the paperwork blew out of my dad’s hand and we were both chasing it in the wind.

Well I guess we chased that slip of paper into a restricted area, and when we looked up there were two formidable soldiers with automatic weapons pointed at us. We explained that we were chasing a document and had gotten it. We walked back to the barracks and re-scheduled another test for me. My dad was still salty about the test guy, but we had a good laugh about having armed soldiers pointing their guns at us.

So now the old horse was mine. My dad said he wanted the van to be nice when he passed it to me so he took me to a stereo store and he had a cassette player installed in it. two speakers up front under the dash and three in the back. I didn’t even have a cassette player at home. I was still buying vinyl records and had some 8 tracks.

I remember I had heard a song on the radio called “Girls Got Rhythm.” I wanted that to be the first cassette I ever bought. So I drove out to the Rio Grande Mall and  picked up AC/DC’s Highway To Hell album. I cranked that shit up all the way back to the house.

Sometimes after dinner I would just get in and drive around for a while. I just loved listening to my music and driving around. If my sister April needed she and her girlfriends to be transported or picked up, I had the capabilities and the space to carry a load of them.

Having the minibus all summer back in 1981 was glorious. We could cruise around in it, carry my band gear, it was awesome.

There was an old drive in movie theater out in Rio Grande. One of my coolest memories of the van was, we’d drive out there and see double features. It was fantastic fun for a bunch of young guys. I remember the road leading in was all broken seashells. It was a dilapidated dump of a place but we loved it. We’d find a good spot and park the van at dusk. We’d have our tickets and all get out of the van and head towards the broken down fence. We’d slip through the opening and hit the liquor store on the other side on Rt. 47. I’d usually get an 8 pack of Miller ponies.

We’d slip back in and then go buy a bunch of snacks. Once it got dark the movie would start. It was always a double feature, which as awesome. I’d recognize other guy’s I knew there sometimes. I’d walk by this one dude’s car I knew and if the windows were all steamed up, I did not approach. He had a girl in there.

But for the most part it was a fun night with the guys. You would pull up along side one of the metal poles and hooked to it was a speaker. It had a clip on the back so you could hang it on your window to provide the audio. (A few years later you could just tune your car stereo to a certain station and hear the movie that way.)

Sometimes I’d pull up sideways between two of the audio station poles, and just open up the van. Some of the guys brought beach chairs and we’d all just sit outside and watch the movie. I’d leave the audio boxes on the poles and just crank them up so we could all hear.

Lovely memories.

I think it’s a shopping center now.

Now it was time to make some new memories with the Magic Bus!

 

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1969 Volkswagen Minibus – 1969 to 1984 – Part 1

Back in 1969 my family was growing with my sister April arriving in 1966 and now another baby was on the way. It looked like our family was growing out of our little black Volkswagen beetle.  So my dad went out and bought a white VW minibus.

We loved it! We went everywhere in that thing. Everybody picked their favorite seat.

Dad always drove. Mom rode shotgun because she never learned to drive. We all traveled without seat belts back then. I don’t even think the car had them. Crazy by today’s standards. I sat on a little square stool behind my parents and between them so I could be near them and see all of the oncoming action through the windshield.

Janice sat in a seat facing backwards behind my dad the driver. Behind her seat between she and dad was a an elliptical storage hole that held maps and what not.

there was a retractable table that was usually up and April sat back there in the back left corner. I think baby Grace was held in my mothers arms most of the trip. There were no baby seats back then. If we had gotten into a crash the only survivors would have been Janice and April because they stood a remote chance. Me, Mom, Dad, and baby Grace would have all been splattered through the windshield and probably killed.

The Sixties for families back then was like the wild west. But we had no fear. Just laughter and fun trips to the shore and even camping in our cool new family van.

I remember my dad driving down the highway at 70 miles and hour and I would stand up in the back on the floor and act like I was surfing. How crazy is this by today’s standards?

Under Janice’s seat was a portable toilet if we ever needed one for long trips or camping or for whatever else my dad was using the van for. Me sitting on the stool, or as he called it the jump seat, to my right was a cabinet that had a little foldable counter with a sink where you could pump fresh water from! Science Fiction! Under that was a fridge where you could store drinks and whatever else you wanted to keep cold.

This was the perfect family vehicle. And we utilized it to its absolute fullest. Thank you Dad. Perfect choice.

Sure there were the times we’d all be singing 29 bottles of beer on the wall and my baby sister Grace would spew her breakfast into an old cookie can my mom brought for just that reason. Motion sickness. April was usually back there with her to man the can.

“I told you not to give her the godddamn orange juice!” My father would exclaim every time somebody barfed.

“She’s fine.”

“It’s the citric acid!”

I knew full well about puking. I was the king of anxiety, depression, fear and motion sickness. I was just happy it wasn’t me, but I knew it was just the motion. Poor baby Grace.

I remember now driving my own little girl Lorelei to her grandmothers one day and there was some flooding and we were in the car for a long time one morning and she puked all over me when we got there and I had to go to my bank job in Philly and I didn’t even care because I was so familiar with being young and being sick in cars as a kid. I wiped up and was just happy my little girl was okay, but sad I had to leave her. But I knew she was safe in the able hands of her grandmother.

But we had so much fun in that van. As a kid I never realized how a vehicle coud become a fixture in and almost a family member in the family. I’m sure my sisters don’t feel this but if they’re reading this now they will.

The 69 VW was our family chariot. Men get the vehicle thing. Men love cars and think hey can impress girls with great cars. Huge mistake. Girls don’t give a shit about what you drive. That shit stays outside in the car park. You need to be the man to her. If she cares about what you drive she’s a shallow fool. That’s a depreciating asset.

Look at who the man is, who his female friends are, and how he lives his life. Cars don’t mean shit.  Just toys that men get off on.

Our VW minibus took us everywhere and comfortably. Air cooled rear engine, plenty of amenities and you could even make the seat in the back pull our into a bed. The German’s that designed this lovely transport thought of everything.

I remember my father told me a story about how he had lunch with a colleague in the van one day. They had picked up some sandwiches and just decided to go stop and have a lunch in a park somewhere. ( I’m sure he was banging her)  But today they were just having lunch and a bee had gotten into the van and was buzzing around. There were other cars parked near them and all the other people heard was this:

(Van rocking)

“Oh my god! get that away from me!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it, dear!”

“Ahhh It’s huge! No stop! Get it away from me!”

“Wait! you’re fine!”

“Nooo! get it away!”

This story was actually told to me by my dad and I got the meaning even at a young age but I knew what he was eluding too and thought it was cool and funny, his bumblebee/penis reference.

I can almost see the faces of the other people parked in their cars eating their lunches and hearing this crazy commotion.

This VW bus was a durable friend. He had installed an 8 track player in the glove compartment. Which I thought was absolutely amazing, because there was no radio in the car. I was astounded how he had this big metal player jammed into the glove box. It was like an added magic aspect to the van.

All we had was vinyl back then but 8 tracks got invented and and somehow music was in the minibus. we had Tommy: The Who, In A Gadda Vida by Iron Butterfly, and best of all a yellow 8 track from the soundtrack from the film; Easy Rider.

I remember my Dad driving the van and me in the passenger seat. No seatbelt, bouncing on the seat and hearing the motorcycles rev after the song The Pusher, and it would go into Born to be Wild and I would just lose my shit.

That music inspired me to become a musician and my love of hard rock music. Born to be Wild is to this day is my go to karaoke song!

There was always music in my house growing up. My Uncle Jack was a music Producer an my dad loved music and my mom came from a family of musicians.

I remember hearing Born to Be Wild for the first time and just knowing I loved furious music that was hardeer and angrier than the lovely Beatles and the psychedelic drone of Iron Butterfly. That was the moment I knew that was the music I need to love and make.

There was a certain fury to that song that I couldn’t get enough of and and it happened with my dad while driving down the road in our 69 camper van.

Euphoria. That music was me.

I remember he took me to the shore in the winter just to probably get me away from my mom because I was such a fuck up.

We were going to hang out at the shore house and go fishing and father son stuff. I didn’t want to do it but when you’re a kid you’re basically a hostage to your parents.

We hung out and fished and his friend Steve was down with his daughter Stacy. Steve was a crazy guy who owned a restaurant with his hot wife and wanted to hang with my dad.

I remember being in the minibus with my dad on the beach. We had a permit to fish. It was cold as hell. I was casting a huge rod and reel trying to catch bluefish. They are fighters of the sea who will straighten our your hooks and chew to shit your steel leaders.

We would use a teaser which is a tiny lure up on the line and then a plug which is the real lure. But what it looks like to a big real fish is a little fish chasing a little fish and sometimes the real fish would hit them both and you’d pull up a bluefish on the plug and a striped bass on the teaser. Insane. That shit really happened.

I was out fishing and catching blues and I was damn cold. We went back to the VW van and it was a warm moment from the cold wind of the vacant North Wildwood beach.

My dad sipped a shot of Remy Martin cognac because he was classy like that but I wouldn’t taste that brandy until years later.  He asked me to dig out our permit for fishing.

I’m around 12 or 13 in this moment.

I’m sitting there, wet and shivering and dig through the glove the glove compartment. The 8 track player is already showing signs of salty corrosion.

I come across and envelope and open it and instead of finding our permit, I find naked pictures of his secretary that I know who is his co-worker and friend of our family. She is smiling sweetly with a kerchief on her head an is naked in a bathtub. She’s beautiful.

“Dad”

“Put that way.”

He knows I know from stuff he’s told me. In that moment I kind of wonder why he told me. Why was he always so open with me about his infidelities with mom?

Maybe he always wanted to be honest with me about everything because his father was such a wise bullshiter. His dad was an absent parent that didn’t give a fuck about my dad that loved him so much for no good reason. He just wanted to tell me what was what. I carried that responsibility with me. I couldn’t mention my secret to my sister Janice. She adored my dad. She can’t know he’s a womanizing adulterer.

He went crazy in the 60’s and 70’s and even the 80’s. I met them all. It’s cool. I know my mom knew and he never rubbed her nose in it in proper English fashion.

She was done with him anyway. It had been over in the 70’s and they being Depression babies just didn’t want their kids to be a statistic.

We lived in Philly and we grew up as my parents grew apart but grew together in their agreement to keep the corporation of our family solid.

They did that.

I’m grateful for that to both of them for making that sacrifice for me and my sisters.

The VW Minibus went to Janice in 1978 when my dad got a company car at his new job as a regional manager at a bank in Jersey.

So my parents were basically separated but still together.

He would work at his bank job at the shore and come home on the weekends and give us all greatest hits.

Janice had the minibus. That meant rides to school and runs to Roger Wilco’s in Jersey for 6 packs of Heineken for us. Drinking age back then was 18 in NJ.

The game was changing but my dad’s game was staying the same.

 

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Psychologists Tell Us How to Pass Through 5 of the Most Dangerous Periods of Marriage and Not Break Up

Writer Robert Stevenson once said, “Marriage is one long conversation, checkered by disputes.” Sooner or later, every couple goes through a crisis, it’s absolutely inevitable. The good news is, when coping with the crisis, spouses reach a new level in their relationships and find new ways to be happy with each other.

The 1st year of marriage: Realization stage

Psychologists Tell Us How to Pass Through 5 of the Most Dangerous Periods of Marriage and Not Break Up

The bodacious singer Pink proposed to her boyfriend herself. However, the couple broke up one year later… Then they reunited again! The couple is now raising two children.

Rita DeMaria, a marriage and family therapist, calls this crisis a “realization stage.” It usually happens after 6-12 months of living together. The first charm of being in love disappears and you start seeing your partner the way he/she really is with all of their weaknesses and sometimes not very pleasant habits (that you gladly ignored before). “It’s the time to learn to work as a team,” DeMaria says.

What should you do? “If you haven’t discussed serious subjects like finance, children, relatives’ visits, free time, etc. before your marriage, it’s time to do it now,” Beverly Hayman, a psychologist, recommends. You need to speak honestly about your values and priorities. There is a probability that they will not entirely coincide with those of your partner, and it’s then you two will need to find a compromise. It’s very important to reach a firm agreement to the most “burning” questions during this period of time.

3-4 years of marriage: A dangerous “comfort zone”

The marriage of Madonna and Sean Penn lasted only 3 years, but these stars say in their interviews that they still love each other. Perhaps they rushed to get a divorce?

The research among 2,000 British married couples showed that in 3 and a half years spouses start taking each other for granted, preferring sleep to sex, and stop saying “I love you” to each other. A couple finds their own “comfort zone.” On one hand, this is a wonderful feeling of security and relaxation, but on the other rather unpleasant things become normal in their life, like keeping the door open when you pee and wearing shabby pajamas. Though 82% of participating couples said that they were happy with their marriage, 49% mentioned that they wanted their partner to be more romantic.

What should you do? You need to keep a certain degree of emotional intensity in your life. Compliment each other more often and praise each other’s achievements. It’s better to avoid saying everything that’s on your mind to your partner and sometimes it’s better to keep silent. If you see that there’s a problem, begin your conversation softly without accusations. First you need to look inside yourself, John Gottman, a family psychologist, recommends. Growth in marriage happens when each partner is capable of viewing oneself from the outside and understands how much he/she contributes (or doesn’t contribute) to the relationship.

5-7 years of marriage: “The seven-year itch”

Psychologists Tell Us How to Pass Through 5 of the Most Dangerous Periods of Marriage and Not Break Up

David Schwimmer from Friends and his wife Zoe Buckman announced that they wanted to take a break from their relationship after 7 years of marriage. Their fans hope that this is a temporary decision.

There is a certain term in western psychology called “the seven-year itch.” This is one of the most critical periods in every marriage. By this time, the couple has a fine-tuned life, settled relationship, and the spouses treat each other like they’re on auto-pilot which is a big mistake, Beverly Hayman reminds. Interest and sexual appeal towards each other decreases due to routine. It seems that the partners know everything about each other. Sometimes a couple makes a decision to have a first child (or a second one) in order to save their marriage, but it’s worth remembering that a child is a separate person, and not a rescue device.

What should you do? Robert Taibbi, a family therapist, suggests the following:

1. Keep your communication open. You should be less formal, like “How was you day?” “OK”, but more sincere and emotional.

2. Solve your problems immediately as they arise, don’t let them pile up.

3. Listen to yourself. Assess your state from time to time, refresh the list of your wants and your vision of the future. Share your thoughts with your partner.

4. Discuss the future of your relationship. Which plans do you have for the next year, or next 5 or 10? Again, the key is openness and honesty, not politeness and vagueness.

20-30 years of marriage: Mid-life crisis and “grey divorce”

Psychologists Tell Us How to Pass Through 5 of the Most Dangerous Periods of Marriage and Not Break Up

Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman broke up after 30 years of marriage which shocked their fans. However, a year later they understood that they had made a mistake and reunited.

The crisis of 20 years of marriage happens due to the personal mid-life crises of both spouses. The effect is increased by a so called empty-nest syndrome when children grow up and leave the family home while the spouses stay by themselves, like in the beginning of their relationship. The spouses may feel that their marriage is exhausted because its main mission is completed. American psychologists call this divorce “grey divorce” because some spouses have already become grey-haired by this time. In recent times, the number of these divorces has been growing.

What should you do? Don’t distance from each other. Look for other meanings of existence for you as a couple. If spouses ignored their marriage problems while raising children then, when it’s just the two of them, the conficts may become more intense. On the other hand, you have more time to solve them. It’s a great opportunity to rebuild your marriage. Steve Seabold, a relationship coach, recommends doing sports together and creating new common goals, like travel, new business, language courses, or something that will help you to create unforgettable experiences.

Non-standard recommendations to overcome a marriage crisis

Mort Fertel, a relationship expert, thinks that popular recommendations to marriage rescue like sharing feelings with a partner or visiting a family psychologist are not always effective because they don’t define what exactly needs to be done to overcome the crisis.

Here are some unusual recommendations by Mort Fertel on how to save your marriage:

1. Save your marriage even by yourself. It’s usually believed that a marriage can be saved only when both partners are ready to work on problems. “The efforts made by even one person can change the marriage dynamics and can motivate the more stubborn spouse to join the process of the marriage rescue,” Mort Fertel says.

2. Don’t ask yourself wrong questions. Don’t ask yourself, “Is this the right person I’ve chosen for a spouse?” The key to a successful marriage is not to find the right person but to learn to love the one that you found. Because love is not luck, it’s your choice.

3. Separation drives you apart, not closer. Separation, which allegedly can refresh your feelings, can distance you from each other even more, especially during a marriage crisis where your goal is to be closer again.

4. Talk less about problems. Conversations about marriage problems don’t solve them but make them deeper. They cause arguments and anger. Talking about a problem doesn’t mean you solved it. Talk less, do more. Find real ways to solve your difficulties.

5. Don’t think that a therapist will give you the exact answers. Therapy sessions help spouses talk to each other and understand each other’s point of view, but they don’t give answers regarding what needs to be done to save the marriage. As a result, couples remain very disappointed with their therapy.

6. Don’t tell your relatives and friends about your marriage crisis. “One of the most important values of marriage is confidentiality, that’s why talking to your relatives or friends about your marriage or your spouse is a big mistake. This is a violation of confidentiality for your spouse, and it’s wrong,” Mort Fertel says.

 

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How to Save Your Relationship

Expert Advice on Ways to Save Your Relationship — and How to Know If It’s Beyond Repair

How to Save Your Relationship

How can you tell if your relationship or marriage is experiencing more than just a rough patch? We talked to relationship expert and author Dr. Jane Greer to find out. According to her, there’s a telling sign that you and your partner’s problems are beyond repair.

“If one person is insistent and adamant that they’re not at fault and not doing anything wrong or they’re blaming you — making you the problem, saying you’re being critical . . . a relationship is about two people making it work, not one,” Dr. Greer told phicklephilly. “It’s a red flag if they aren’t willing to be open-minded and grow. Things are going to continue the way they’ve been.”

The only way couples can fix issues in their relationship is if both parties are committed to making it work. But if you continue to butt heads in the process, you’ll prevent yourselves from making any real progress. Unless he or she is prepared to put their stubbornness aside, you’ll remain at a standstill.

To further gauge where your relationship stands, Dr. Greer says to first “confront the issue head-on” and “start from a place of mutuality.” Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about the state of your partnership. See if they’ve also noticed the same things. Are you two always upset with each other? Does it feel like you’ve grown apart? And as difficult as it may be, go as far as asking your partner whether they see your relationship ending to really get a sense of how bad things are.

“If they say yes, ask what the most distressing things are — what are the worst problems that are making them want to end the relationship?” Dr. Greer said. “What are they unhappy about? How can you change and adapt to fix some of these issues? Then you switch and do the same for them.”

If this only sparks an argument, consider seeing a relationship counselor or therapist to help facilitate. Otherwise, if the two of you find yourselves exchanging constructive feedback, continue to focus on one behavior or problem area at a time to improve on. Dr. Greer explained how beginning there and taking a pulse once a month to evaluate any progress will best help you move forward as a couple and possibly come out on the other end even stronger.

“For example, if one person is really messy, or one person doesn’t want to have sex, or whatever, work on the changes you agreed upon, and then see where things are in a few weeks,” she said. “Talk about it again, revisit it. Ask if your partner sees any changes. Do they feel you’re more cooperative? Less messy? Initiating more sex? Etc. This will have you working as a team in a cooperative spirit.”

 

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