Accuray, welcome to Marriage Builders. The difference between Marriage Builders and other marriage programs is that MB places most of its focus on restoring the romantic love in the marriage. Harley doesn't just claim to do that, he takes surveys to measure his success. [if you are in his online program] He restored the romantic love to my own marriage, and that is not just an empty claim, but based on the survey results taken by both my husband and I. We have a passionate, romantic marriage and we took the course in 2007. I know many, many other couples who can make the same claim.
Most other programs focus on things like "communication" or "conflict resolution," which won't save a marriage. Harley has a very specific plan to restore the romantic love. His program does include conflict resolution and communication, but all that is secondary to creating romantic love.
Most couples that show up for his course contain one reluctant spouse. So Harley's first mission is to persuade the reluctant spouse to try the program. He does this by selling the benefits and features of his program. My spouse was reluctant and he was brought on board when the policy of joint agreement was explained to him.
Harley is often very successful at bringing a reluctant spouse on board. That might be what you need and I suspect is what has been missing in all these other programs. Your spouse has no motivation to try them.
I don't know of any other marriage program that can restore romantic love to the marriage. Most counselors don't even believe it is possible. I have read several of the books you cite and most have no such plan. They don't even have a plan. Rather, they focus on "communication," or various other elements, which does not save a marriage. Marriages fail because the couples fall out of love, not because they are bad communicators.
You might want to check out this article to get an idea of how it works: How to Create Your Own Plan to Resolve Conflicts and Restore Love to Your Marriage
Additionally, Harley wrote this in response to the question "Does Marriage Builders Really Work?"
When I found that the model I've developed had helped over 90% of those I was counseling, I gave up my career as a college professor and started counseling full-time. At the time, I didn't assume that it would save all of the marriages it seemed to help, because I felt there were factors beyond a couple's control. But after 35 years of experience with this model, I'm not convinced that it works with 100% of couples who follow it. I've yet to witness one couple out of the tens of thousands I've seen, that did not experience a healthy and happy marriage by following this model. Personally, I feel it's the only answer to the question, how can a couple have a great marriage for life?
But it�s very difficult to prove that one model of marital satisfaction is superior to another. The ultimate test is to randomly assign couples to various models and to measure their marital satisfaction after the provisions of each model have been implemented.
The training of therapists is a huge problem: How can we be sure that the therapist assigned to each model was properly trained? And there�s also the problem of representation and random assignment: Does the group of volunteer couples represent the population at large? And is the assignment to treatment groups really random? There�s also the ethical problem of assigning couples to a control group where they receive no effective treatment. When they divorce, does the researcher bear any responsibility? Finally, if someone who has a stake in the outcome does the research, it usually shows that their approach is best. Shouldn�t studies of alternative models of marital satisfaction be conducted by those neutral to the outcome?
My own personal experience led me to the model I�ve been using for the past 35 years. But that�s not proof of it�s superiority over other models. What I need is objective studies conducted by those who have no bias that compare this model to others. That�s hard to find even among those who have published hundreds of articles on martial therapy.
But I can direct you to three studies that support my enthusiasm. They all deal with my book, His Needs, Her Needs, the popular application of my model, and the effect it has on couples that read it.
The readers of Marriage Partnership Magazine were asked which self-help book on marriage helped their marriages the most. In that survey, His Needs, Her Needs came out on top. I didn�t know that the survey was even being conducted, so when I called the editor after the results came in, I was curious to know more. He told me that it not only was the top choice, but it was far ahead of second place (Ron R. Lee. Best Books for a Better Marriage: Reader�s Survey . Marriage Partnership Magazine, Spring 1998).
In a national survey that I sponsored, people were asked if any self-help book on marriage solved their marital problems. Out of 57 books that were read, only three were reported to have actually solved marital problems. The three were the Bible, James Dobson�s Love for a Lifetime, and His Needs, Her Needs (Lynn Hanacek Gravel. Americans and Marriage: National Survey of US Adults. Barna Research Group, 2001).
Finally, five out of six couples that read His Needs Her Needs were found to experience significant improvement in marital satisfaction (Julie D. Braswell. The Impact of Reading a Self-Help Book on the Topic of Gender Differences on One�s Perceived Quality of Marriage. Doctoral Dissertation, 1998, Azusa Pacific University.
Granted, these findings are not conclusive evidence that the model I use is superior to every other model of marital satisfaction. But when you find one that works for every couple that actually follows it, you have to be impressed. And coming as I did from almost zero effectiveness to almost complete success, I can�t begin to tell you how convinced I am that it�s the solution to a very difficult problem we face in our society.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Willard F. Harley, Jr.