Rick and Melissa Lawson had been married for 12 years and had five sons. After chasing her dream of being a singer for three decades, Melissa struck gold: she won first place in the TV competition "Nashville Star." The achievement, however, didn't bring about the fairytale happy ending the couple was expecting.
While filming "Nashville Star," Melissa neglected her duties as a mother. Her husband Rick felt left behind. The kids were completely out of control. And on top of it, the record label decided against putting out an album. The growing separation in the marriage culminated in Rick betraying Melissa with another woman. The couple faced divorce, filed for bankruptcy and the young boys were going crazy.
According to Tony Robbins, episode six of "Breakthrough" is a story of "united we stand."
When we get overwhelmed or overloaded, we forget about the impact we're having on other people, says Robbins. At the root of Rick and Melissa's problems was the fact that they were putting themselves and their egos above the family.
It's an easy thing to do. There is a basic human need to feel significant, unique and special. But often even when we achieve what we think is most important, it doesn't fulfill us.
"When we make that need first -- when we make our own sense of significance first above everything else -- there's such a vicious price to be paid," says Robbins. "And yet, we don't know this as a culture today."
Melissa Lawson loved her sons, but her commitment to them had disappeared. Her culture viewed being a housewife and mother as less significant than being a star.
"Anyone that pursues significance first -- above love, above family, above contribution, above something outside yourself -- is always disappointed. Because it's never enough," says Robbins.
Melissa's "Breakthrough" challenge was to get her to wake up and realize she was putting her own desires above the needs of her children. She had to show her boys beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were the most important thing in her life -- more than her music, more than her ego.
Rick was also putting his needs first, by seeking personal comfort in the attention of another woman and being a lazy worker and father. Overwhelmed by the task of taking care of the boys all by himself, he let them get out of control. He had to learn to be an authority figure, not a friend, to his children. Instead of turning on the TV for distraction, he had to learn to be present with them.
Robbins sent the family into a new environment to cultivate new habits -- a trip back in time. They lived as if it were the 1800s, on a ranch in the Texas hill country. There was no electricity, no toys, gadgets or electronics. Rick and Melissa were forced to talk to, be present with and discipline their children.
"Obviously when you birth five babies, that's your most important thing. But I lost sight of that, and I was lying to myself and not telling myself that truth," says Melissa a year later. "It was a horrible amount of pain to go through that realization."
With that realization, Melissa and her family were able to transform their lives and save the family. The couple even wrote a song together for the first time in 20 years. It's called, "United We Stand." You can listen to Melissa perform it in the video below.
WATCH Tony Robbins explain the strategies behind the story:
WATCH Rick and Melissa discuss their life today: