In some circumstances, whether for school, work, helping family, or any number of reasons, married couples may have to spend significant amounts of time apart.

So, this raises a very important question: can long distance marriages work?

The answer is yes, they can – but it probably won’t be easy.

You can overcome the challenges in a long distance marriage.

You can overcome the challenges in a long distance marriage.

There are a few inherent problems with long distance relationships, but if you know what the common problems are going into it, and if you’re steadfast in your commitment to overcoming them, keeping your marriage strong over a great distance is certainly possible.

The largest problem, of course, comes with lack of physical contact. Even if couples speak to one another daily, there’s a component of physical affection that simply has to go missing when distance is a factor. Because we are biologically wired to build connection through physical contact, it can put a strain on the nonverbal, intangible link between you.

To overcome this problem, couples dealing with long distances marriages have to communicate regularly, and whenever possible, travel to see one another – even if it’s expensive or inconvenient, very few things can replace the power of physical touch.

With modern technology like Skype, Facetime, or other video chatting software, couples can at least see each other when they’re apart. If you’re in a long distance relationship, do everything you can to keep that connection alive. Communication is key.

In a similar vein, one of the other biggest challenges for long distance marriages is the risk of emotional affairs. Because people tend to compensate and reach out to others when their emotional needs are unmet, and because distance makes it hard to know where your partner’s emotional satisfaction lies, it’s easy to drift into connections with other people without even noticing.

This is another reason that communication (and total honesty) is so important when keeping a marriage intact over distance. If you don’t know where your partner’s emotional needs are, you won’t be able to meet them – the same goes for them your partner meeting your needs.

Long distance is tough, and frankly, not recommended for anything more than temporary stretches of time. Sometimes it’s unavoidable though, and if this happens to your marriage, just remember how integral communication is to your success – and your happiness.

Talk to one another every day. Share pictures, use video chat, and make sure you’re being totally honest about your concerns, your emotional needs, and what’s going on in your separate lives.

Long distance marriages can work, but only if both people are putting the marriage at the absolute forefront of their minds, and putting in the effort to keep the connection strong.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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Gratitude For The Little Things

On July 21, 2014, in Gratitude, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

The more time you spend with someone, the easier it is to take him or her for granted. That’s just a simple fact of life, even outside of marriage. We just get used to someone’s company, the things they say or do, how they fit into our lives, etc.

In a marriage though, when the time we spend together includes romance, sharing a living space, sharing finances, dividing household and family responsibilities, sharing a sexual relationship, and all of the other nuances of married life – taking your spouse for granted is the fast lane to a stale, dissatisfying relationship!

By “take for granted,” I mean not remembering or recognizing how your life is improved by the small things your spouse does, or, even if you do recognize what they do, you simply assume it’s part of the every day course of events, and you don’t voice your appreciation.

Show some gratitude for the little things your spouse does!

Show some gratitude for the little things your spouse does!

It isn’t necessarily an A-to-B, cause and effect connection here, but neglecting to show your gratitude for the little things can eventually grind away at the happiness in your marriage.

Think about it from your own perspective – even something very small, like completing a chore or solving a minor problem, feels a little bit more satisfying if someone says “thanks.” Or, even if it’s not a direct “thank you,” it just feels nice when someone notices when you’ve put in some effort. It’s encouraging and endearing. In a marriage, it says, “we’re on the same team, thank you for doing something that benefits us both.”

Now, this may seem like it could get a little out of hand, thanking each other for every little action. You may be thinking that some things should just be expected, and don’t require an expression of gratitude – and you’re right! They don’t require gratitude by any means, but by taking a moment to show some, you let your spouse know that you are both a: paying attention, and b: acknowledging their contribution to the relationship.

No matter how many times one of you makes dinner, does the laundry, fixes something around the house, picks up the kids, etc., it’s still something that the other person didn’t have to do that directly benefits the stability of the marriage – and that’s worth being grateful for!

It’s just another way of connecting and spreading positivity. It helps you remain observant and appreciative of the little things that make your life better – or just easier. You and your spouse should both be trying to improve each other’s lives, and with it, the life you share together. A little gratitude goes a long way in encouraging each other to stay engaged in the relationship, and inspired to do the small stuff that makes a big impact on happiness.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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Set Goals To Improve Your Marriage

On July 16, 2014, in Save Your Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Nearly every married couple will go through periods of difficulty. While some may be more serious and longer lasting than others, no marriage is all sunshine and happiness at every single moment. Perhaps even more common than periods of difficulty, however, are small nagging problems that can drag on for the duration of the marriage. These little things, however, can become major problems over time.

Because just about every relationship has at least one area to work on, it’s pretty safe to say that we all want to improve our relationships in one way or another, but where do we start?

The first step is to determine what you’d like to improve – this can be anything, from the largest issues to the tiniest little annoyances. This won’t necessarily be easy, because it will involve admitting that you’re doing something wrong, or at least not doing something as well as you could be. Even though it might be tough, identifying places to focus your efforts (even if it’s just one at a time) as a pair is essential. Once you’ve picked something to work on, you have to set some clear goals – create a benchmark to strive for.

When you lay out specific, explicit goals (and agree upon them), there’s no turning back. Even if the goal is as simple as “hold hands more often,” it will be on both of your minds, set in stone, and you’ll both adhere to it – like having a “buddy” to help keep you accountable, if the goals are agreed upon beforehand, you can support each other in pursuing them.

Set goals to help improve your marriage!

Set goals to help improve your marriage!

Setting goals and sticking to them are often two very different things though. Here are some rules to keep in mind:

1. Actively think about your goal – keep it in the front of your mind
2. Take action to move toward your goal every single day
3. Allowing yourself minor relapses is counterproductive – stay vigilant
4. Work toward your goal for your spouse, for yourself, and for both of you – and know the importance of each reason
5. It’s good to celebrate your successes, but don’t celebrate too soon – it takes time and effort to form new, good habits

No goal is ever achieved instantaneously. Small victories over time will eventually lead to large breakthroughs, and this is exactly how taking steps to improve your marriage works. Little by little (with active goal setting and pursuit) your spouse will help cleaning up after pets, you will remember to turn off the coffee pot, you’ll develop a good way to resolve battles over entertainment devices, or resolve any other little issue that is tugging at the solidarity of your marriage.

The point is this: it takes practice, but if you set realistic goals and work toward them every day (not just when you feel like it), positive change isn’t so difficult at all!

Do your marriage a favor, just talk about the little stuff that bugs you (and ask what you might be doing to annoy your spouse). Once it’s on the table, you can begin the steps to solving the problem before it gets blown out of proportion. Don’t let the little things get in the way of big happiness.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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What To Do When Your Wife Says "I'm Done"

On July 14, 2014, in Save Your Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

It’s about the last thing any of us wants to hear: that our spouse has officially given up hope for saving and improving the marriage, and is ready to call it quits.

While this may seem like an utterly hopeless scenario, it isn’t. In fact, it may be a wake up call for both of you, even if she isn’t willing to do anything about it. When a marriage has gotten to this point, and you don’t want it to end, this is essentially your final chance to make the big changes required to save your relationship.

Wife says "I'm done." You have some options.

Wife says "I'm done." You have some options.

If your wife tells you she’s done, it’s your cue to get started (if you haven’t already). This means taking what you know is causing problems, and doing everything in your power to fix what’s broken, change your bad behaviors, and build the marriage that both of you want to have.

Even if she has checked out completely, you can take responsibility for the marriage. This may include tackling things you’ve been putting off for years, taking a hard look in the mirror for what you’re doing to cause problems, and understanding that while you may not be able to fix everything, doing the absolute most you can will help both of you steer the marriage back in the right direction.

This can’t just be talk, either – action is key. You can’t just promise to make changes to reengage your wife in the marriage. Take action and she will see the results!

Ideally, your commitment to positive change will help your wife see how much you care, and how much the marriage means to you. Even if she is resistant, the talks you have about your efforts to change may provide more crucial information about what she needs out of the relationship. Pay close attention when you communicate, and again, take responsibility for seeing changes through.

One person truly can make a difference in rebuilding a marriage, even when the other spouse isn’t putting in any effort. Not only can you improve your own life, your own habits, and your own chances for a happy marriage – your commitment and diligence may very well inspire your disconnected spouse to look at her own contributions to the problems, and begin to take action to repair them.

Stay strong and stay committed. You can make a difference in your marriage – even if you’re the only one willing to put in the work.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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Survive an Affair By Creating a New Marriage

On July 9, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Recovering from an affair is difficult – that’s the simple truth. When trust is betrayed, it can be a long, uphill battle to rebuild it, but there’s one big “secret” to not only surviving an affair, but actually improving your marriage in its wake.

You have to create a new marriage.

Most of the time, affairs happen because of dissatisfaction and unmet needs – sometimes those needs are physical, but by and large, infidelity stems from emotional dissatisfaction. No matter what the specific reasons, though, one thing is clear: affairs happen because the relationship was vulnerable.

Creating a whole new marriage can be a great way to survive an affair.

Creating a whole new marriage can be a great way to survive an affair.

If one or both of you were feeling dissatisfied, even before an affair happened, it means that, frankly, neither of you are in the marriage you want to be in. As hard as it is to recognize and accept, both parties play a role in determining the quality of the relationship – and even if one of you has crossed the line into infidelity, both of you are (at least partially) responsible for the circumstances that lead up to that point.

Now, we’re not here to talk about who’s fault it is – we’re here to talk about rebuilding. However, it is important to recognize that no matter what happened, the relationship leading up to the affair was NOT the marriage you want, nor is it the marriage you want to go back to.

And that’s the point here – going back to “how things used to be” is only a recipe for more heartache and more trouble. Instead, the decision to work on your relationship in the wake of an affair should be a decision to create a whole new marriage.

This means leaving the past in the past (though it will surely take time to rebuild trust and find forgiveness), admitting and accepting how both of you were negatively impacting the relationship, and moving forward with a clean slate.

When couples are willing to create brand new marriages with the person they are already married to, the relationship can actually grow stronger after an affair!

You and your spouse should agree to build a new marriage from scratch, with new habits, new actions, and most importantly, a new attitude toward the relationship as a whole. Chances are, you know exactly what the problems were, and by addressing them honestly, you can change the problematic behaviors and create a supportive, loving, attentive relationship you both want – and are willing to work to maintain!

It won’t necessarily be easy, and of course old habits and patterns can be hard to break, but by massively shifting your mentality toward this new relationship, you’ll keep those old ways at bay and focus your energy on building the happy marriage you’ve always wanted.

If you’ve suffered through an affair, it doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage – but it should be the end of your OLD marriage. Start fresh with the person you already married, and create a strong, new relationship with everything you’ve learned from past mistakes.

This can be exactly the new beginning you need.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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7 Signs He's Cheating

On July 7, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Infidelity can cause some of the biggest challenges any relationship has to endure, but suspicion can also wreak havoc on a spouse who wonders if their spouse might be cheating, but isn’t sure enough to approach such a difficult conversation.

Today we’ll be looking at seven signs that your husband may be having an affair. While these are definitely oriented toward the habits of cheating men, they are also red flags for any relationship. If these signs seem familiar to you, it might be time to have that tough talk you’ve been putting off.

1. Deleted History

Now, we’re not advocating that you keep tabs on everything your husband does, but if you notice that he’s constantly deleting his internet history, or more importantly, his text message and phone call logs, you may have some reason for suspicion. Most people don’t clear out text messages until their phone is full – so if he’s sweeping his message history under the rug, he may be hiding something.

2. Picking Fights

Tension and arguments can happen, of course, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything suspect going on – but if he seems to be more and more critical, looking for every little way to cause problems or spur an argument, he may very well be covering for his own transgressions by lashing out at you. This is a classic behavior of people feeling subconsciously guilty.

3. His Routine Changes

Many men (and people in general) are creatures of habit, following their preferred routines when it comes to meals, showering, departure times, etc. If his routine changes drastically, or seemingly overnight, with little explanation, he may be making concessions (or time) for someone else.

Deleting internet history is a common sign of cheating.

Deleting internet history is a common sign of cheating.

4. He Pays More Attention To His Appearance

If your husband is taking an increasing interest in his appearance, whether that be his hair, his physique, or even the clothes he chooses to wear, but the “new looks” don’t seem to be for your benefit, you definitely have a reason to be suspicious. It is fairly rare for men to take a new interest in their appearance on a whim – they usually have a reason, and it may be to impress (or continue to impress) someone else.

5. Dodging Questions

If he can’t account for where he was, who he was with, or what he was doing, you have every right to be suspicious. Again, we’re not advocating keeping your husband on a leash, but if he’s dancing around your questions, giving you vague answers about how he spends his time, or getting overly defensive when you ask, it’s pretty likely that he’s hiding something.

6. A Change In Affection

If your usual goodbye or welcome home kiss is now absent, if he edges away from you in bed at night, if it seems like your warm, loving spouse has gone cold, it’s a sure-fire sign of a problem. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s infidelity involved, but this kind of drop-off in affection, especially if it’s sudden, should raise questions about your connection to your spouse, and may be an indicator of an affair.

7. Laying It On Thick

Some of the most telltale signs of dishonesty are the overzealous and even overbearing attempts to cover up dishonest behavior. Sometimes it’s with an overabundance of false affection, sometimes it’s with elaborate stories and over-explanations, and sometimes it’s less specific – but it just feels like they are trying way too hard.

People behave this way for plenty of reasons, but if your husband is going out of his way to explain every single detail or his late night at the office or Saturday’s outing with the guys – and he doesn’t normally do that kind of thing – he’s likely covering for something else. This is the kind of behavior that causes people to get caught up in complicated lies and loopholes in their stories. If this sounds too familiar, you may need to ask you husband what’s really going on.

Infidelity is painful and very difficult to overcome, but if the issue goes unaddressed, it will only cause a deeper and deeper rift in your marriage. Know that an affair does NOT mean the end of your marriage, but instead is a massive red flag that things need to improve. You can build a stronger marriage after an affair, but if you don’t summon the courage to ask about your suspicions, the behavior will go unchecked and the problems will continue.

If you’re experiencing these telltale signs – say something!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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Is There Freedom In Marriage?

On July 2, 2014, in Marriage Advice, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

As we approach he 4th of July weekend, we can’t help but think about freedom and independence as the cornerstones of American ideals, and about how we can exercise those principles in our own lives.

Marriage can be the freedom you're looking for!

Marriage can be the freedom you're looking for!

But what about marriage? Is it possible to find, and even increase, your freedom through marriage? With the right mentality, the answer is a resounding YES!

When we talk about freedom, we’re talking about the ability to pursue happiness, to not be hindered by undue stress or pressure, and to have a hopeful outlook for the future. So, in terms of your marriage, this kind of freedom is absolutely attainable – if you put the time into building and maintaining a strong, healthy relationship.

In strong marriages, both members of the relationship offer each other the support to be the best person they can be, and encourage one another to find and pursue the things that lead to a fulfilling life. Don’t think of freedom as something that has to happen individually – with the support of a loving spouse, you can actually enjoy more freedom, simply because you have another person watching out for you, helping you overcome challenges, and there to keep you steady when you stumble.

There’s also tremendous joy in providing that kind of unwavering support for the person you love!

The kind of happiness and stability you can achieve when you share your life and love with another person is incredible! When you truly connect with your spouse, the freedom you feel to be yourself, to expose your vulnerable side, and to share you biggest hopes and dreams is amazing!

The power and strength that people gain from happy, healthy relationships is virtually unparalleled, and represents a whole new kind of “independence” – it makes you feel like you’ve always got a backup, a person in your corner, a cheerleader, and a place to turn for help.

The pursuit of “freedom” is not about a lack of responsibilities or a lack of commitments. Instead, it’s about finding the things that resonate with your personally, and having the time, health, and ability to dedicate yourself to the things most important to you. A loving spouse will help you do just that, and you can do the same for them!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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3 Ways To Get Your Wife To Listen To You

On June 30, 2014, in Communication in Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Communication lies at the heart of many different problems that couples face. Barriers to effectively communicating tend to take a toll on numerous aspects of the marriage - simply because couples don’t have a good sense of what’s going on with one another.

This can lead to ignoring ongoing issues, mistakes based on miscommunication, and frustration and anger when it feels like your spouse just isn’t listening to what you have to say.

There can, of course, be other roadblocks to communication – from problems trusting to personal difficulty opening up, from insecurity to simple lack of communication skills – that can make these situations even more difficult, but for now, we’ll look at simple, behavioral ways to think about our own ways of speaking to help our spouses be better listeners.

1. Promote Dialogue

No one likes to be “talked at.” When conversations are totally one sided, it can cause people to shut down, and all but stop listening – no matter the topic. As the speaker, it’s easy to get on a roll and make point after point, or recount every detail of a story without considering how it might be affecting your listener.

With a little bit of conscious awareness, though, we can stop this problem from happening. By simply slowing down and making a point to pay attention to the other person, we can prevent ourselves from steamrolling them with a monologue. To encourage a real conversation, we need to promote dialogue – and this is done by asking questions (or at the very least, allowing space for response and comments).

There are 3 simple ways to get your wife to listen more.

There are 3 simple ways to get your wife to listen more.

2. It Can’t Be All About You

Similar to the point above, another way to shut down true communication is to make the entire conversation (or series of conversations) all about you. When you just talk about yourself, what’s going on in your life and in your own head, you are showing your spouse (without actually saying it), that your personal concerns are more important than anything else that might be going on around you.

Even if you don’t mean it, your spouse might feel like you aren’t interested in their problems or successes if you spend all of your energy talking about your own. Even further, it will make them feel like you don’t value their input if you aren’t ever asking for opinions or advice.

Whether it’s talking about “third parties” or allowing your spouse to guide the topic of conversation, getting away from focusing primarily on yourself will open up plenty of new avenues for dialogue, and likely help your spouse be more interested in listening and responding.

3. Control Your Tone

If your conversation is a contentious one, that is, if you’re talking to your spouse about something they’ve done wrong, something that has upset you, or something you would like them to change – tone is everything!

There’s a massive difference between a concerned talk about a problem that affects the stability and strength of the marriage, and an outright attack on someone’s behavior or character. By keeping anger in check, avoiding absolutes, sarcasm, personal attacks, etc., you keep the conversation on the topic at hand, instead of pushing emotional buttons that can make people shut down, grow defensive, and ignore any criticism directed at them.

Again, good communication is essential for any healthy relationship, and taking steps to improve the way you communicate with your spouse will actually improve the way they communicate with you as well! Just remember to be aware of the listener when speaking, and imagine what it’s like to be in their position. By putting yourself in their shoes, you can keep your own bad habits in check and promote better communication for everyone involved!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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The Science of Cheating

On June 25, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Most people agree that infidelity – whether emotional or physical – is inherently wrong. No one likes to have their trust violated, and it’s safe to assume that no one wants to be cheated on – so why do people do it?

Studies show that while 90% or more of people disapprove of infidelity, 30-40% of people cheat at some point in their relationship! If so many people think it’s wrong, why does it happen?

The answer to that question is actually quite complicated, and is rooted in biology, psychology, and a whole range of human behaviors. In fact, there’s some contention in various scientific communities about why people participate in a behavior that is almost universally condemned by conventional society.

From a biological standpoint, abundant testosterone plays a role in driving men (and women) to cheat. Our animal brains are still hardwired, in some sense, for the survival of our genes and – again from a purely biological perspective – men have a better chance of passing on their DNA by pursuing multiple partners.

There is a science behind cheating.

There is a science behind cheating.

Now, this is NOT a clear-cut reason for men to cheat. It is, however a little bit of insight into why men are more prone to infidelity, particularly of the physical/sexual variety.

Women have an equal (but opposite) biological predisposition for seeking a provider and protector – again for the sake of the survival of offspring – and may be more prone to commit emotional infidelity to meet this instinctual need.

With this in mind, it makes sense that men report feeling more hurt by their wives’ sexual infidelity, and women report being more hurt by their husbands’ emotional infidelity. Both men and women recognize their predispositions (in some unconscious way), and take particular offense when confronted with them.

Of course, this deep-seated, biologically driven stuff is overpowered by our ability to make conscious, rational decisions. It may drive some of our desires, but it doesn’t drive our actions.

The real reasons behind cheating are almost always emotional and psychological.

In a 2009 study by Gary Neuman, 92% of cheating men reported that unmet emotional needs, feeling underappreciated, and not feeling desirable were the reasons that drove them to cheat.

This is not to say that men don’t sometimes cheat for sexual reasons, but there is likely an undercurrent of emotional dissatisfaction driving them along.

For women, a survey by an affair/dating website found that 73% of women said they cheated because of a sense of annoyance or anger at their husbands’ behavior.

Two of the largest offenders are feeling neglected and feeling controlled.

Women sometimes cite sexual desire as a reason for cheating, but again, most of these cases have an underlying emotional component. Women also report seeking affairs as a way to claim independence from overly controlling husbands.

Everyone’s situation is unique, but it’s pretty clear to see that the largest driver of infidelity – for both men and women - is a sense of dissatisfaction and disconnection in the marriage, prompting people to seek those missing pieces of feeling wanted, respected, and independent in the arms of another person.

All of the evidence suggests that as our connection to our spouse becomes weaker (whatever the specific reason may be), we become more and more likely to seek solace from someone else – even when we know it’s wrong.

Feeling distressed can make people act erratically, and when we wear away our ability to make rational decisions, those biological desires for connection are more likely to take over.

It should also be noted that affairs, secrecy, and the knowledge of doing “something bad” can also provide a thrill for people feeling stagnant in their relationships. Seeking this kind of “excitement” is also a symptom of dissatisfaction, feeling underappreciated, and feeling stuck in an unhappy relationship.

So, with all of these psychological, physical, and emotional factors that can drive people to cheat, what can you actually do about it?

Because so many of the problems stem from feelings of disconnection and under-appreciation, talk to your spouse before these problems get out of control!

If you are feeling neglected, speak up! If you think your spouse may be struggling with such feelings, ask them about it directly and do everything in your power to change the behavior that’s making them feel that way.

You can do regular “check-ins” on the state of your marriage – you should be generally aware of how your spouse is feeling about the relationship anyway, but it’s a good idea to stop from time to time to make sure you’re both on the same page.

For both husbands and wives, it’s important to also view your own behavior with as much objectivity as possible. Are you pushing your spouse away? Ignoring them? Being too controlling? Overlooking time spent together?

We can safely assume that the vast majority of all affairs stem from unmet emotional needs, and that means we know exactly where to start to prevent them from happening.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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10 Marriage Danger Signs

On June 23, 2014, in Save Your Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Relationships often change over time, but how can you know if they are changing for the worst? In many cases, we don’t see how bad things have become until we’re overwhelmed by problems, until we’re fighting every day and can’t seem to remember where things went wrong.

It’s important to give your marriage something of a “check up” from time to time, where you try to step outside yourself and really evaluate how the relationship is going (not just your opinion of it). The following list contains ten scenarios that may indicate some serious trouble in your marriage. If these seem familiar, or accurately describe a facet of your marriage, it’s time to stop, reevaluate, and make some attitude and behavior adjustments for the good of your relationship.

Here are ten warning signs that your marriage might be in danger:

1. You’ve Become Roommates (Not Teammates)

Teammates work together, roommates simply take care of their own. Instead of functioning like a unit, some couples settle into a divided approach to everything. Like roommates, they do their own laundry, wash their own dishes, worry about their own finances, and only when the responsibility HAS to fall on both people, do they come together to find a solution.

More than just household responsibilities though, roommates share a space, but not always their time. If you’re making separate plans, eating separate meals, and beginning to live separate lives, this poses a serious threat to the strength of your marriage.

There are several signs that your marriage could be in danger.

There are several signs that your marriage could be in danger.

2. One-Sided Decisions

If you used to ask your spouse for their opinions – on things major AND minor, for their input on big decisions and because you wanted to know what they thought about the little things – but it feels like you’re making decisions without so much as considering your spouse’s input, there’s been a big breakdown in communication.

It means you and your spouse are either no longer considering one another’s opinions, or there’s so much tension that it’s easier to simply not ask. Both present major problems.

3. Sex Life Stasis

Sex is an important part of staying physically and emotionally connected, but if other problems are damaging the way you see one another, sexual attraction can just keep slipping further and further away. We don’t really want to jump into bed with people we see as an impediment to our happiness.
Alternatively, one of you may be withholding sex as punishment, disinterested because of self-esteem issues, or any of a wide range of reasons that can cause your sex life to come to a standstill.

4. Tit for Tat

The moment you start quantifying mistakes made or contributions around the house, comparing your spouse’s numbers to your own to find out who’s “more right” – you’re walking down a dangerous road. This kind of scorekeeping is always a bad idea. You wind up with a list of mistakes to dwell on, instead of a list of positive qualities to be thankful for, and inevitably a list of things your spouse DID NOT do, instead of what they’ve done right.

This kind of behavior almost always comes from a place of anger, frustration, or resentment, so the only things we keep track of are negative. This reinforces our viewpoint, and does little but make us more frustrated.

5. Seeking Connection Elsewhere

It can be emotional or physical, “harmless talk” or a full blown affair, but no matter how it unfolds, if you’re seeking connection from someone other than your spouse, your marriage is in trouble. If you’re even tempted, stop yourself and think about your actions (or even your thoughts). What’s preventing you from reaching out to your spouse for that connection? How can you solve the problem?

6. Button Pushing

After enough time spent together, it’s pretty safe to say that you and your spouse know each other’s “buttons” for anger, embarrassment, etc.

While you may have pushed those buttons by accident in the past, it’s a real sign of trouble if you’re pushing them on purpose to get a rise out of your spouse. If you’re taking pleasure out of this kind of control and manipulation, the problems run even deeper.

7. The Mental Vacation

If you’re constantly imagining a life away from your partner, it means that you’re both ignoring whatever problems are making you feel that way, and likely not letting your spouse know what’s troubling you. This kind of “checking out” is both unrealistic and unhealthy. If your mind is somewhere else, you’re just going through the motions of a marriage, which will only lead to further disconnection.

8. Dateless Days

When the romance was alive and well, chances are good that you and your spouse went on “dates” of some kind. This doesn’t even have to be an extravagant, dinner-and-dancing type excursion – just that you made a point to plan to spend time together. You did fun things together, and made an effort to be nice to each other. Maybe it was just bringing home your spouse’s favorite snack or leaving a sweet note on the bathroom mirror. The point is, you took the time to make each other feel loved – not because you felt like you were supposed to, but because you wanted to.

If that behavior has fallen by the wayside, part of the spark is surely missing.

9. The Talk Is Gone

Did you used to sit up all night talking with each other about anything and everything? Was it easy to lose track of hours and cover all kinds of topics, to talk openly about your hopes and fears?

If that kind of conversation seems missing from your marriage, and the talk now seems limited to a few short words about who’s picking up the kids or what you need from the store, something has definitely changed for the worse. Conversation with your spouse shouldn’t feel exhausting.

10. Looking Out For #1

Ideally, you and your spouse should be making decisions based on your combined needs as a couple, or what best suits both of your individual needs. If you (or your spouse) are starting to make decisions based only on individual needs, however, and not even considering the potential needs of the other person, the “team” dynamic of your marriage is in jeopardy.

These “danger signs” can come in varying severity, in combinations, or in slightly different forms than you see here. The point is to be aware of the little breakdowns in connectivity that can happen gradually, and by the time you notice, there has already been significant damage to the health and strength of your relationship.

If you notice these things happening in your marriage, don’t let them continue! Stop and look for the root of the problem, and be brave and honest enough with your spouse to get this stuff out in the open. You can work on it individually or together, but if these issues go unaddressed, they will only chip away at your happiness and lead to even more difficulty.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders,

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