Rachel and Leah: a Modern Perspective

A few months ago, I posted a topic about Marriage Fitness.  This has become my New Year’s resolution.  I went ahead and bit the bullet by purchasing the Lone Ranger course.  The author is Mort Fertel, and he makes no illusions that his method is a quick or easy solution to a better marriage, but he does guarantee it works, if followed.  Part of the package includes a book with the same name.

He has an interesting perspective on the Biblical story of Rachel and Leah.  As we all know, Jacob (who later changed his name to Israel), greatly loved Rachel.  After working for 7 years to marry Rachel, he was duped into marrying Rachel’s sister Leah, and then had to work another 7 years to marry Rachel.  Fertel makes an interesting note that Jacob didn’t complain that he married Leah, and was satisfied to know that he could still have Rachel.

Let me quote directly from the book, because I love this point.

Jacob lived in the community as a single man for seven years.  He knew the tradition that the older sister marries first.  That’s why he didn’t complain about marrying Leah….Jacob knew he had to marry Leah–that wasn’t a problem for him.  He wanted to marry Rachel, and the fact that he did not–that was a problem for him.  So when he was told that he would marry Rachel, he was satisfied.  That’s all he wanted.  He didn’t need an explanation for why he married Leah.  He knew he had to marry Leah in order to marry Rachel.  He knew that to marry the woman of his choice, he had to marry the woman of his fate too.  And that’s why the story of Jacob serves as a paragon for a successful marriage.  Because the truth is when you marry, you marry Rachel and Leah.  You choose your spouse which you don’t yet know–your fate.  And to succeed in love, you have to commit to both–Rachel and Leah, your choice and your fate, the revealed and the unrevealed.

Most people don’t enter a marriage with this attitude.  Most people, when they wake up to find Leah next to them, complain that Leah was not their choice.  Most people become frustrated with their spouse and their marriage when they discover character flaws, problems, and differences.  Most people feel so duped into marrying Leah that they divorce Rachel.  But it’s not possible to marry one without the other.  Leah always appears.  The key to success in love and marriage is to know what to do when “she” does.

Soul mates are not perfect for each other.  Soul mates love each other with all their imperfections.  Soul mates love each other no matter what.

I found this story intriguing, and have enjoyed the book, cd’s, teleconferences, and workbook so far.  One of the pieces of advice I am implementing, (which my wife fully supports) is to have a set day for a baby-sitter every Friday night.  This is a scheduled appointment, and we have a girl in the ward who has agreed to do this.  (She is 15, and wants to purchase my pickup truck in a year, so I may be helping her buy my truck!)

Fertel says a consistent date night is a must, and should not be canceled for any reason.  He says it puts marriage as a priority, and forces you to do something.  And he says that the date night can’t include movies, or other people (ie no kids or extended family).  You must talk face to face for at least one hour, and it can’t include anything logistical.  Learn about hopes, dreams, philosophy of life, etc.  The more I thought about this, it reminds me of what dates were like when we were single.  Unfortunately, it seems that children and work crowd into the romance.  He says too many couples become roommates, and this is why we drift apart.  I must confess that I have fallen into this trap, and I resolve to get my marriage in better shape!



15 comments on “Rachel and Leah: a Modern Perspective

  1. MH, this is great! I love his analogy!

    For us sisters, maybe we have to remember that in order to marry Nephi, we had to marry Laman as well, murmuring and all. 🙂

    I like the date night idea, but especially that he specifies the need for talk and not to just go to a movie. I never really understood why going to the movies was a “date.” Not unless followed by a really long dinner afterwards, with lots of time to talk.

    But don’t men sort of hate to talk? It’s almost become an inside joke between my husband and me. I like to talk, but I never know what to talk about and neither does he. 🙂 Early on in our relationship, we did most of our “talking” by e-mail and had amazing conversations. It was exciting! But now it seems like we have to get creative if we’re going to talk about something other than the trivial things of daily life.

  2. FD,

    No men don’t hate to talk–I think it entirely depends on the subject. For example, I don’t know if you’re a football fan, but I can talk for hours about that! In fact, I was calling all my friends and family after the Utes stomped all over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last night!

    Fertel makes some really great points. I love sports, and have worked for various sports networks (ESPN, Fox, and many others) since 1996. When I was dating my wife, this was not a problem. I also didn’t have a problem with her love for classical music. The problem that we seem to have is that we’re leaving each other out of our interests, and growing apart. She doesn’t want to talk about football, and I don’t want to listen to classical music.

    Fertel says this isn’t a problem, but we must start doing things together. Another of his suggestions was to get a shared hobby. My wife loves to read and is in 2 book clubs. I enjoy reading too, but of course we have different interests. I love religion and sports. She loves mountain climbing disaster books (like “Everest”, and “Shackleton’s Adventure”). Well, we both liked Da Vinci Code (and I even went on to read Angels and Demons.) So, I’m going to try to read some of her books. Fertel really emphasizes building connections with your spouse, and says by doing that, then the things you don’t agree on (like sports and music) will somehow work themselves out. I don’t see how, but I’m willing to give it a try. So far, I have seen some improvement in our relationship, so I must say that it does seem to be working.

  3. I shared this post with my husband and he really enjoyed it. He loved the Leah and Rachel analogy and said that I should save it for the next time one of my brothers gets married. 🙂

    So we talked about this date thing and we’re intrigued by the idea. We live in a small town and so it’s pretty limited as to what we can do and where we can go outside of home. Especially in the winter! But we’ve decided to try to put aside even just an hour every weekend to talk. Like you and your wife, we both like to read, but I’m more interested in religion and he’s more interested in war history. But we’ve found some books listed at the local library that will probably interest us both, and so we’ve decided to read on our own and then discuss a chapter or two each week together. We actually sort of did this a while back when we both read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Another idea I had was to make a box and anytime we get an idea for a topic that could make for interesting discussion, we write it on a slip of paper and drop it into the box. This makes it easier for me since I’m not very good at thinking on demand. 🙂

  4. Yes, I love the analogy too!

    Fertel constantly says that it’s ok to have differences, but it’s important to build connections. I don’t know if you remember that quiz about knowing your spouse’s favorite book, color, movie, etc, but Fertel says that we should know our spouse so well, that we know these things.

    I must say that when I thought about “what are we going to talk about every Friday night?” that I was somewhat concerned, because it seems like we’ve talked about everything. But I did really poor on that quiz, so I guess, maybe I’ll bring that quiz again–I think I’ve already forgotten most of her answers.

    The funny thing is that we went out every Friday night while dating, and never ran out of things to say….

  5. Here’s a link to the book. It’s much cheaper than the whole package.


  6. Did you finish the Lone Ranger teleconferences yet?

  7. I haven’t been able to listen to all of them live, due to scheduling conflicts, but I have listened to quite a few.

  8. What seems to be the difference between the 14 week plan of the paperback and the Lone Ranger plan of the phone calls?

  9. The Lone Ranger Track includes the book, as well as the teleconferences, about 10 CD’s or more, (I think more–I didn’t count them) , and a workbook.

    Fertel often repeats himself, but he does that for a reason. He is trying to drill some of his points into you because they are important.

    The teleconferences and CD’s are quite similar. I found the teleconferences to be a little disappointing, because there is no interaction, so it’s like listening to a CD over the phone, which isn’t very fun. He does have 3 Q&A sessions, but I was only able to listen to the first one live. I would have preferred to participate in more of the Q&A sessions, but my schedule wouldn’t allow it.

    I started the workbook, and tried doing the exercises in order, but the workbook is so bulky that I finally just decided to read the book on my own. If you follow the workbook exactly, he gives assignments to read chapters in a certain order, but this just didn’t fit my style very well. The book was easier to carry around, and I didn’t need a CD player. I would read chapters from the book when I had time, and I really loved the book.

    He gives exercises in the book and the workbook. After attending the Q&A session, I realized that many of the people who do this course, have marriages in much more serious jeopardy than I do. Most are separated, dealing with affairs, and fighting like crazy. I often felt like my problems were minor comparatively speaking. For example, the date night idea was pretty easy to do. I’ve had 1 successful date; our babysitter is sick this week, so I’m not sure if tonight is going to be successful, but we’ll see. However, with other couples who are separated and not speaking, the date night is going to be enormously difficult. (Fertel says if you’re not getting rejected, you’re not trying hard enough.)

    One other thing I have tried to do is to drop whatever I am doing when my wife starts talking to me. In the past, if I was reading the paper/book/internet, my wife just starts talking to me, and I usually heard only about 1/4th of what she was saying. I can remember just a few weeks ago, she was upset because I didn’t hear what she said, and I responded to her saying, “can’t you see that I’m reading?!”

    Fertel says that a man should drop anything, even if you’re in a business meeting. He says, “Do you take all calls at work, not matter what? You should.” He also says that you should do a romantic getaway twice a year, without children. And he even says that if you can’t get time off work, take unpaid time, or get a new job.

    So, I’ve made a conscious effort to put down whatever I do when she starts talking. I have definitely seen an improvement in our relationship, and the date night last week was a big hit. She told me we didn’t have to do date night every week, but I am insisting that we do. Perhaps we won’t go out tonight, but I am hoping that our babysitter will feel better tomorrow.

    I think that the most bang for the buck is to buy the book, but if you are already contemplating a divorce, or separated, perhaps the more intense Lone Ranger Track might be a good idea. Fertel says he tries to appeal to all senses, which is why he wants to provide reading, writing, and listening exercises. Certainly, there are many other exercises in the workbook than the book alone.

  10. I am one of those serious situations. My wife wanted to date around to see if the grass is greener on the other side after being a stay-at-home for the past 5 years.

    We married later in life. I was 32 and she was 30. That was in 2000. We now have a doughter who is 5 and a son who is 2.

    I am in agreement with Mort’s worldview and philosophy. Unfortunately, I had become so focused on the financial security that I forgot to keep connecting emotionally with my wife. (THAT WAS BIG!!! LOSING THAT CONNECTION!!)

    Moving from 2 incomes to 1 was very hard on me emotionally. I withdrew rather than reached out to my wife emotionally.

    What would you say is the main difference between the exercises in the workbook vs the book?

    Is one of the main Lone Ranger points that you plug away at the 14 weeks paperbook plan and model the behavior anyway so as to positively connect or at least do your part to connect emotionally?

    I do not have the money for the Lone Ranger teleconferences that start on Monday, so I am trying to understand what more I would need to see and do in addition to the paperback that I have to “make love” and get the results I am after for our marriage.

  11. I have started with step 1.1 Talk Charge.

    Calling just to touch base and connect (keeping away from logistical talk as much as possible). It has felt good to talk on the phone even if it is for just 60 seconds with neither of us exhibiting anger or frustration.

    We really don’t talk anymore at home. So any positive connection is a step in the right direction.

    Mort lays it out there and is explaining what helped him and his wife get back from the brink of divorce.

    It’s about purposefuly making conscious habits of what we did subconcsiouly at the beginning of the relationship that created those amazing years of connection. So that we can concsiously “make love” and that connection and brightness and lens of joy that comes along with it for the rest of our lives.

    Yes, we both marry the persona we meet and the personas we change into over the years. But it is the knower/watcher/observer/breath of life spirit/our true self/our oversoul that never changes that we have ultimately connected to and long to remain connected to for eternity. That connection can be made for the rest of our lives if we consciously take action to “make love” everyday.

  12. Sowreap,

    Email me at mormon heretic at gmail dot com, and I may be able to help you out some.

    I’m glad the talk charge is working for you. I always found that hard to implement, because my wife hasn’t always been receptive to me calling for no reason. My wife is not a “cuddly” person either, so the touch charge stuff has been hard for me too, but I’m finding that as our relationship improves, the touch charges are a little easier, though I probably don’t do them as much as the book tells me to.

  13. Hi, does anyone have the books/CDs/workbook from the program that they’d be willing to sell used?

    I signed up for the program. But the post office LOST my package. It was mis-delivered and there is no trace of it. I talked with Adina, Mort’s Assistant, but there is basically nothing that they can do to help because the package is marked as ‘delivered” from their end. If I want to get the materials, they want me to pay $69.95 to order a new set of the CDs, books and everything!

    I am extremely disappointed by this customer service, I’m also not eligible for the refund because I never received the books to return them. Money is tight, and I just spent $400 on this program and I haven’t even got the materials to make it work. I’ve even offered to pay for postage for a new set of materials (using UPS shipping this time!), but I have to BUY the materials again, which seems just a bit ridiculous to me. I understand that they have policies and procedures, but yes, the post office DOES occassionally lose packages, no? Nobody’s perfect! I’d hope that MarriageMax is committed to good customer service and could offer to help out with this.

    If someone could be of assistance, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  14. Oh, yes, e-mail me at janelle_japan at yahoo if you can help. thanks!

  15. JH,

    I’m still trying to use my materials, but I will say that there are some cheap used copies of the book at amazon, and here is a link. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0974448001/ref=sr_1_olp_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238530903&sr=1-1

    I guess I’ll give an update to my new year’s resolution. Things have improved with me quite a bit. I found the book to be the best resource. After a few months of following the book religiously, things have definitely improved. I suspect that you still have access to the phone calls, and I’d encourage you to listen to them. The CD’s are pretty much the same thing as the phone calls, though there are plenty more hours of CD’s.

    Mort tends to repeat himself quite a bit. He does this intentionally, because he is trying to drive the points home, and make sure they’re not forgotten. I will say, since things have gone better, I don’t follow the plan as closely as I should–I’ve cut back on talk charges and touch charges, and this is probably a bad thing. But on the other hand, I’ve continued to do more service for my wife, which she seems to respond to better anyway.

    For example, we just had a baby boy, and he’s been really fussy over the last week. Last night, my wife went to bed around 9:30, while I stayed up holding the baby until about 11. I put him in the crib, and he stayed there for only about 5 min, before fussing again. I picked him up, and slept holding him on my chest on the couch (actually it was more of resting with my eyes closed) until about 1 AM. At that time, I knew he’d been about 5 hours without eating, and knew he was hungry, so I had to wake my wife for that.

    Anyway, this morning my wife thanked me for letting her sleep, and these little acts (which I didn’t do for my other children) are really helping. As I look back, I should have been doing them all along, but I really think the book was the most effective piece of the puzzle for me.

    I’m trying to do the workbook with my wife now, but she really thinks the workbook is a waste of time. Much of what he says is repeated. On the other hand, when I purchased the whole set, having the phone calls and CD’s made me feel like I was doing something, so it was a bit of a salve to my relationship. Mort’s plan is intentionally slow, which can be frustrating, and having the CD’s and phone calls (which are really more like CD’s over the phone–there is little interaction) does give you the sense that you’re doing something, even though it feels like you’re not doing very much.

    So, I’m not quite prepared to sell my stuff yet, but perhaps there is someone else who can help you out.

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