A big internet scandal has been making headlines lately, as Ashley Madison – a site dedicated entirely to helping married and attached people set up affairs – had a massive security breach where hackers gathered the identities, addresses, preferences, and other sensitive, secure data of millions of members.

The scandal, which threatens to expose tons of cheating spouses, is raising important questions about privacy, about online security, and even about morality. While those are certainly important to discuss as a society, for our goals of saving marriages, it also serves as an important reminder of the dangers the internet can pose to even the healthiest relationships.

The Ashley Madison site, and others like it, offers temptation and (supposed) anonymity that didn’t exist before the internet. With the incredible wealth of information out there, it’s no major surprise that these types of sites exist, and when people are feeling lonely, desperate, dissatisfied with the marriages, etc., the promise of something new only a few clicks away can be very difficult to pass up.

There is a new way the internet can threaten your marriage.

There is a new way the internet can threaten your marriage.

Even if it’s never as extreme as actually signing up for a site like Ashley Madison or following through with any kind of infidelity, the temptation itself is still damaging to your marriage. From porn sites to adult chats, all the way to Facebook, the sense of anonymity and privacy people feel behind the keyboard (usually by themselves) can lead to conversations/actions that take the focus away from the marriage and tempt people into infidelity (or at least emotional affairs). Even if there aren’t actual conversations or behavior, there’s still an endless supply of pictures to look at, fantasies to form, old flames to “check up on,” etc. – there are more temptations online today than couples have ever faced.

Now, not everything on the internet is threatening your marriage. There are plenty of benevolent sources of information, sites like StrongMarriageNow that are actually trying to help you make your relationship stronger, and even with social media, there are plenty of positives involved. The reality, however, is that the online world is changing the way we communicate and interact, and we need to keep ourselves in check in the face of this new kind of communication.

For one, any time you’re letting your mind wander away from your spouse and fantasizing about someone else, you’re hurting the marriage in your mind. It’s unavoidable, to some degree, but controlling where your thoughts wander and making the choice to focus your romantic energy on your spouse will certainly help.

It’s also worth mentioning, as we’ve learned with this Ashley Madison hacking scandal, that nothing online is ever truly private, and nothing ever truly disappears. Every message, every click, every action is registered and recorded somewhere, and can ultimately come back to bite you.

With all that’s available online, it’s far too easy (and tempting) to wander into territory that your spouse likely wouldn’t be happy about - and whether or not you’re aware of it, that territory also damages your happiness, your ability to connect with your spouse, and ultimately, the strength of your marriage.

With this in mind, be careful where you surf on the web, be aware of the temptations that certain sites may pose, and above all, keep your marriage in the front of your mind no matter what you’re doing. If you find yourself wandering down this path, stop yourself! Remember how easy it is to fall into temptation when you’re not even aware it’s happening.

The internet is a wonderful tool, an incredible source of information, and one of the most revolutionary inventions of the last century – but like any other form of mass media and communication, it has its ugly sides. You are in control of your own actions, no matter what tools you’re using – if you focus on your marriage above all else, temptation can’t get the best of you!

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

End The Loneliness and Hurt... Watch This Video Today

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

If you’ve seen Paul Rudd, the star of the upcoming Ant Man movie, on-screen (and chances are, you have), he comes off as a charming, down-to-earth, and occasionally awkward guy that’s hard not to like! That handsome “guy next door” quality is part of what makes him the perfect choice for the superhero role of Ant Man, but he’s pretty “super” off the silver screen too!

According to pretty much all of Hollywood (at least the people that know Rudd), the good guy we see in movies carries over into real life too! His home life is remarkably wholesome, compared to plenty of other celebrities, with a happy marriage of 12+ years with Julie Yaeger (a former publicist), two young children, a strong sense of his Midwestern values, and aside from the movies, a pretty low-key lifestyle.

Take a note from Ant-Man on marriage.

Take a note from Ant-Man on marriage.

Rudd, who was raised in Kansas, told Elle Magazine that he spends most of his free time playing Words With Friends and watching sports – hardly a wild and crazy Hollywood partier. According to friends and family alike, Paul’s known among their group for his charm, his trivia knowledge, his caring personality, and above all, his consistency – which, of course, Paul shrugs off.

Even though his roles can range from wacky to superhero, in everyday life he’s a consummate family man. He and Julie have been together for nearly two decades, and they’ve done an excellent job of keeping most of their private life well out of the media, splitting their time between two New York homes and raising a son and a daughter away from the public eye.

While the couple isn’t particularly candid about what keeps their relationship strong, the clues are abundant. Between Paul’s low-key, dependable persona and Julie’s all out avoidance of celebrity, we can see that this couple truly puts their family and their relationship first, and isn’t tempted by the glitz and gossip of the tabloids.

If there’s one big lesson we can learn from the success of their marriage, it’s that stability works wonders. Nearly every interview, every account of working with Paul, and even the vibe we get from watching him on screen indicates his calm kindness.

When he and Julie argue (as all couples do), it’s not too hard to imagine a heated discussion resolved with laughter and a warm embrace. It’s not hard to imagine the love and kindness in their marriage just washing over disagreements and bringing things back to the happy center.

To be a super husband, focus on gentleness, calmness, caring – these are wonderful qualities to have in a spouse. They don’t make you weak… They only make your marriage stronger.

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

You Really Can Live Happily Ever After. Watch This Video Now

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

Recently, we published a list of 5 big DON’Ts to keep in mind for your marriage. We’re back today with part 2 because, well, bad habits can have as much of an impact on your relationship as good ones.

So, to expand on the first list, here are another 5 habits to avoid if you want to keep your marriage in good shape:

1. Don’t Obsess Over Roles

Gender roles can sometimes have their place in certain relationships, and every couple will embrace different roles (gender or otherwise) as the marriage becomes more routine, but healthy couples remain flexible and don’t concern themselves with whose “job” a particular task might be. Instead, they share the responsibilities of running a household, raising a family, etc., and take care of what they have to, regardless of whether or not it’s their strongest skill or preferred chore.

This could be getting dinner ready, taking out the trash, fixing something minor around the house, getting the kids in bed… anything. Just worry about what needs to get done, not who “should” be doing it.

2. Don’t Try To Read Your Spouse’s Mind

Communication is key in any relationship, and making assumptions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling is basically the opposite of healthy communication. No matter how connected you might feel, you still can’t read each other’s minds. If your spouse seems upset, don’t just assume you know why – ask them!

The same is true about what they might think about a decision of yours, whether or not they’ll want to participate in an activity… really anything at all. It’s always better to ask, and move forward with real information, than it is to think you can read your spouse’s mind and move forward with potentially incorrect assumptions.

These five things will help to strengthen your marriage.

These five things will help to strengthen your marriage.

Just ask! Communicating will help prevent arguments, confusion, and disappointment in a massive way.

3. Don’t Ignore Finances

As you probably know, money is one of the most common things couples fight about. When financial matters go ignored or overlooked, it leads to big stresses, unwelcome surprises, and ultimately, a great deal of discord in the relationship.

Whether it’s not communicating about major expenses, not making joint decisions, or simply not keeping up with ongoing bills, financial woes keep people on edge. It can affect your ability to enjoy leisure time, and even your ability to maintain basic necessities. As those things start to fall apart, so does the stability and happiness in your marriage. Simply making family finances a priority in your marriage can make a HUGE difference in your ability to be a happy couple.

4. Don’t Nag

We can all be tempted from time to time… If we’re feeling annoyed, if we feel like we’ve asked for the same thing over and over, if we’re having rough day or week… Sometimes we fall into nagging our spouse, but it’s a terrible habit to fall into.

Nagging is essentially pressure and negative feedback. It’s making your spouse feel bad for having not taken care of something, for having not followed through. If you really want your spouse to get something done, encourage them! Words of support and motivation go so much further!

It could be something small like a chore, or something big like finding a new job or managing an illness – regardless, beating someone down makes them either feel defeated (and unmotivated) or resentful (and spiteful)… and neither of those attitudes help people get things done! If, however, you can help your spouse feel confident and energized, they’re much more likely to get things done of their own volition – or at least take your suggestions and requests more readily because you’re offering them in a positive way.

5. Don’t Overshare

Healthy relationships take a little bit of tact and awareness. You can’t simply bombard your spouse with your frustrations about the relationship at the drop of a hat – this will likely only lead to defensiveness, arguments, and lack of resolution.

Similarly, your spouse is not your emotional punching bag, ready for you to just vent about anything and everything whenever you feel like it. They are also a person – with their own concerns and frustrations, their own inner struggles, and their own complaints!

If you need to talk about a problem in the marriage, bring it up calmly and ask your spouse if it’s a good time. When you’re upset about your day at work, try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before you blow up and vent your entire day. It’s important to share with your spouse, and it’s equally important to put any issues on the table so they can be resolved. When doing so, however, make sure you’re taking the other person’s feelings into account.

Sharing is important, oversharing can be a way to cause major resentment in the relationship.

With these 5 tips, as well as the 5 tips from Part 1, you’ve got a good overview of the simple things that can chip away at the quality of a marriage if left unchecked. Take special care to avoid falling into these traps, and if you see your spouse picking up these habits, talk to them about it and do your best to stop them before they do too much damage to your marriage.

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

Fall Back In Love, Watch This Entire Video Today

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

When things are at their worst, you might feel hopeless. You might feel like there isn’t anything left to be done – but even when you feel like you’re at the end of the rope, there are still a few steps you can take to avoid succumbing to divorce.

Before you throw in the towel, follow these five steps and make every effort possible to get your marriage back on track:

1. Get Your Spouse to Communicate

When couples are truly considering divorce, it can be difficult to even be in the same room, much less communicating effectively. Saving your marriage, however, depends completely on both you facing up to difficulty and having some tough conversations.

For this to work, you have to remain calm. This can’t be a shouting match, or a blaming session, or just a conversation dredging up all of the past hurt and problems. It has to be a productive conversation because, as harsh as it might sound, it might be your last chance.

2. Ask What Needs to Change

A big part of the conversation is going to be about what has to be different to make the relationship work. Talk about hypothetical scenarios – what does the happy, functional version of your marriage look like?

Again, this conversation has to remain calm and productive. It will likely take effort on your part – but so will saving your marriage, and this is the very beginning of the process. You’re going to have to face up to what you’ve been doing wrong, and be willing to hear suggestions for how your behavior could be different.

At this point, you’re not asking your spouse to agree to stay married – doing so may just push them further away. Instead, ask them to put these ideas about divorce on pause. Make it clear that you understand how bad things have been, and that while you can’t change the past, you can both shape the future into a much healthier marriage.

Now, you might receive some tough answers if you start asking about what needs to change because, well, from your spouse’s point of view, it’s likely you that needs to change. Don’t get defensive – just listen. This isn’t the time to argue, it’s your chance to find out what your spouse is truly looking for.

Lastly, ask how they will know that a change has happened. What “evidence” are they looking for? How will they be convinced?

After you know the answers to these questions, end the conversation, thank them for taking the time to talk to you, thank them for remaining calm, and move on with the next step.

Do these things to help stop divorce!

Do these things to help stop divorce!

3. Make A Plan

Now that you know what your spouse wants to be different, it’s time to get to work.

Start forming a detailed plan for how you can change for the better, how you can approach your marriage differently, and how you can make those changes stick.

This needs to a researched, detailed plan, not just something you talk about or put on the back burner. For example, if your spouse says your temper is a problem, enroll in anger management classes. If finances are the issue, start studying money management and get help making a budget. If there are problems in the bedroom, start taking the steps to understand why they happen and what to do about it…

This is your chance to tackle an issue (or multiple issues) in your life. Fixing your marriage may the incentive, but it won’t be the only reward for having the courage and determination to face up to your shortcomings and take steps to improve. Regardless of how this immediately affects your marriage, these steps toward becoming a better, happier you will absolutely make an improvement in your life.

The pieces of your plan will, of course, be totally unique to your specific scenario, but there’s always something that can be done. Maybe it’s booking a therapy session, maybe it’s finding ways to better show your feelings, maybe it’s a matter of changing your schedule to spend more time together - it may even be a combination of these steps and others. Whatever it is, invest yourself in it completely – your marriage likely hangs in the balance.

4. Tell Your Spouse The Steps You Plan to Take

Once you’ve identified what it is you need to do, let your spouse know! This isn’t an opportunity to brag about what you plan to do, but rather a chance to illustrate just how serious you are about saving the relationship and becoming the spouse they want. Ideally, you will have already begun to take the steps of your plan, and you can share precisely what steps you still plan to take.

Remember, you asked your spouse to put divorce plans on hold while you carried out your plan. Sharing the plan isn’t asking them to dive back into the marriage, it isn’t asking for promises – it’s more of an update to let them know that agreeing to pause the divorce was the right decision, that you are putting your best efforts toward improving, and to show them that change is possible.

These changes are ultimately good for you, whether or not your spouse decides to continue the marriage – and letting them see that is part of the point. It may even inspire them to also work on themselves. You can even let your spouse know that you’re going to follow through with your plan regardless of what they decide about the marriage. Your personal issues are going to affect this relationship or your next – there’s no reason not to tackle the problem now.

5. Be Patient

Stay the course with your plan, continue to grow on your own, continue to become the best version of yourself you can be, and be patient for your spouse to come around. This is definitely the hardest step because once you’re working on your plan, you likely just want things to get to some kind of resolution, but that can take time. You may be tempted to beg and cling, but that will likely make matters worse and just push your spouse away. If you’ve agreed to put any divorce plans on hold, they will remain on hold – and that’s ok.

You don’t need to force things, and you shouldn’t. Change takes time, resolution takes time, and even if you’re both taking great strides toward self-improvement, there will still be elements of your marriage that need work. This is a long process, and really, one that you should continue working on for the rest of your life – especially if you get your marriage back on track!

Maintaining a strong relationship, and even developing healthy habits of your own, is a constant work in progress, but the results will speak for themselves. Improvement IS possible and hard work will be rewarded. Stay dedicated to being your best self, and no matter what happens, you’ll ultimately be ok.

This may not seem like the resolution you were looking for, but this is a realistic view of how such things unfold. There’s no magic cure, there’s no perfect thing to say or switch to flip to get your marriage back on track. The best you can do is ask what your spouse expects, take that information to heart, and do everything in your power to work on yourself.

Be patient, be calm, and walk the walk. Your actions will speak for themselves and your spouse will see how important the marriage is to you. Let them know you’re working to save the relationship and leave it at that – you can stay the course and let your spouse come back to you. Remember, be the best you, and things will ultimately be ok.

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, StrongMarriageNow.com

We spend a good deal of time going over what types of behaviors and habits make for stronger marriages. Things like spending quality time together, practicing communication skills, understanding the importance and methods of forgiveness…

All of these are important components of maintaining the health of your marriage. This time, however, we’re looking at something a little different –what NOT to do.

These practices can chip away at your marriage and poison the way you think about yourself, your spouse, and the relationship. If you want to stay happy and connected, follow this list of don’ts:

1. Don’t Play The Victim

When things aren’t at their best, take responsibility for your own thoughts, actions, and mood. If you cast yourself as the victim, you paralyze yourself from taking steps to change the situation. Your life and happiness are what you make them, not simply the product of what happens to you.

Self-pity and blaming others (especially your spouse) doesn’t help to make things any better, simply because they prevent you from taking action for yourself.

2. Don’t Criticize

Focusing on the negative aspects of your partner, your situation - even the room you’re in – can have unintended consequences. This negativity starts to become normal, and eventually you end up with a pessimistic view of yourself, your marriage, even the whole world! This makes you more irritable, harder to satisfy, and on the lookout for problems and things to complain about at every turn.

Don't do these things if you want a happy marriage!

Don't do these things if you want a happy marriage!

Instead, try the opposite – look for the good in every situation, focus on your favorite things about your spouse, and try to spin irritating situations into positive lessons.

3. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

We’re all going to have times when we are too emotional, stressed, making mistakes, doing embarrassing things, etc., but if we can’t shake them off or laugh at ourselves later, they can become a long list of damaging experiences that chip away at self esteem – and ultimately drive a wedge between you and your spouse.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves or own up to our mistakes (without beating ourselves up too much), that low self-esteem can affect the way your spouse sees you, the amount of joy you’re able to bring to the relationship, and even your ability to be happy on a day-to-day basis.

We all make mistakes, we’re all human, and forgetting how foolish we can all be is a sure fire path to stress and unhappiness.

4. Don’t Complain About Your Marriage To Others

No one is going to truly understand what your marriage is like except for you and your spouse. Complaining to friends and family is asking for biased advice, damaging people’s opinions of your spouse, and enabling you to avoid dealing with problems directly.

The ins and outs of your marriage should stay private, and if you have an issue – talk to your spouse! There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice if you’re in trouble or don’t know how to proceed, but don’t make a habit of using your family or friend time to complain about your marriage. You’ll also be hurting your own perception of the relationship, and those opinions will be reinforced by the people you complain to – even if they are just trying to empathize.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

No two marriages will be exactly alike. We all have to figure out the nuances of the dynamic we share. Additionally, what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story of another couple’s relationship. Instead of comparing your marriage to others (usually the ones you deem to be “better” than your own), look to making yours the best it can be.

This type of comparison is not just unrealistic; it’s also unfair to your spouse as well. It can make you both feel insecure about yourselves, and about the relationship you share. Instead of making comparisons, take note of what seem to be good ideas or good practices, and try to incorporate them into your marriage.

Make your decisions with confidence, be proud of each other, and don’t let the illusion of some “better” marriage make you doubt your own.

Take great care to avoid these bad practices, and you can prevent your marriage from spiraling into negativity. So much of how we treat each other (and how we think of ourselves) comes from having a positive outlook, the courage to tackle issues as they arise, and taking responsibility for how we think and feel. Stay positive and make the most of your marriage!

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

End The Loneliness and Hurt... Watch This Video Today

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

Over the course of a long-term marriage, you’ll likely experience a range of ups and downs. Some periods of time will feel more connected, more romantic, and generally happier…

And even the “bad times” can have their own range, whether you’re arguing more than usual, experiencing a lull in your sex life, or simply not feeling very excited about the marriage…

All of this is perfectly normal, and even the most blissful marriages can go through periods of difficulty.

For some couples, though, these rough patches can lead to negative thinking, concentrating on the problems, and sometimes even mulling over the idea of divorce. They may even surprise themselves when these thoughts arise, and begin to worry that simply thinking about divorce is a sign that the marriage is doomed. If it becomes more than thoughts – and that dreaded D-word finds its way into your conversations with your spouse, it can be even more worrisome.

Are you considering divorce?

Are you considering divorce?

The good news, however, is that just thinking about it doesn’t make it inevitable – in fact, rolling it over in your mind is just a sign that there’s work to be done in the marriage, and that now is the time for action!

While it IS normal to consider divorce on occasion, especially if things haven’t been going so well lately, it’s also important to recognize these thoughts as a giant, flashing warning sign. Whatever the trouble at hand might be, if it’s making you even imagine divorce, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed right away.

You can admit to your spouse that you are having such thoughts – though you should make it clear that they are only thoughts at this point – and let them know how much having those thoughts worries you.

The next step is to take a good look at why you might be thinking that way. What have the two of you been arguing about? Why are you feeling dissatisfied? There’s likely a specific issue (or several specific issues) that has you thinking about divorce in the first place, so that’s where you start.

Feeling neglected? Talk to your spouse about spending more quality time together. Fighting about money? Plan to sit down together and develop a budget. Trouble in the bedroom? Look into ways to keep the spark going and explore trying some new things. Arguing too much, but don’t really know why? It could just come down to communication skills, and seeing a marriage counselor might be the best option for you.

The point is this: it’s fine to have these thoughts, but it’s not ok to ignore them – or to let the problems continue unchecked. If you’re thinking about divorce, but aren’t saying anything to your spouse or taking any action to resolve the problems, you’ll continue to experience the anger and frustration, continue to think about divorce, and ultimately, allow your marriage to move further and further away from a place of strength, happiness, and connection.

If you’re having these kinds of thoughts and feelings, don’t just let them happen…

Do something about it before it gets any worse!

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

You Really Can Live Happily Ever After. Watch This Video Now

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

One of the main components separating a marriage from a close friendship is physical intimacy – it’s the element of romance, sex, and physical connection that makes the relationship special, and not just a mental and emotional bond that you could also share with a friend of family member.

Most of us know this to be true, and understand intuitively that sex and physical intimacy are crucial parts of a marriage. Unfortunately, though, this element of married life can sometimes fall down the ladder rungs of importance…

It’s all too common for couples to have less sex as they settle into the marriage, or even if they are still having sex, it’s not with the same passion and excitement it once had. This is perfectly natural as we become more comfortable with our spouses, as we shift our energy toward raising kids, as we age, and as we simply fill our days with more and more responsibility.

The problem, however, is that if we let sex fall off our of priority list, the other areas of the marriage can suffer too. The connections we build through physical intimacy also influence the emotional bond we share, and are a key component of a healthy, satisfying marriage.

Today, we want to cover a few ways you can bring lovemaking back into the forefront of your marriage – how you and your spouse can stay excited and passionate about each other no matter how long you’ve been together.

Now, before we get into this – if sexual problems in your marriage are the result of medical issues, consult your doctor about ways to get back into the swing of things.

For everyone else, the following tips can help you get the spark back in your marriage!

1. Unplug

One of the biggest modern culprits driving a wedge between married couples is the immediacy of our modern technology. With infinite selections on TV, the endless scroll of social media, and the simple fact that most of us have smartphones in our pockets (making us “connected” all day, every day), it can be tough to peel your eyes off the screen to see what’s right in front of you.

Don't wait to want it!

Don't wait to want it!

It distracts us, takes up our time and energy, and makes us all but ignore the people right in the same room. Such media saturation can also give people unrealistic expectations for how their spouse should look or act.

Try unplugging for a little while. Leave the TV off in the evening and put the phones away. You might be amazed how much more attracted to your spouse you’ll feel after some genuine interaction.

2. Tease and Flirt

All throughout the day, keep the sexy anticipation alive by sending each other flirty messages, by teasing each other, or by fooling around a little in the morning (but stopping before things get too serious). You can keep each other – and the things you’d like to do to each other – on your mind all day. This kind of anticipation builds desire, and makes the moments when you are finally together all the more special.

Just give it a try, and you’ll see the benefits for yourself!

3. Try Something New

We’ve all got our habits, our preferences, and our hang-ups…

But sometimes trying new things in the bedroom (or even trying another room) can be the catalyst that gets the two of you excited about your sex life again. It could be toys, positions… anything out of the ordinary. If you’re feeling embarrassed about going into that kind of store, there are plenty of online sources that will ship discrete packages!

You can start small, of course, but be open to trying new things with your spouse, and talk honestly about what you like, what you don’t, what you might be interested in trying. Chances are, you’ll find something that excites your passions and gets you more actively thinking about your sex life – and the more its on your mind, the more you’ll act on it!

4. Plan Your Time

This might not sound very romantic, but if you’re too busy, too tired at the end of the day, too worried about kids being around, etc., figuring out when you have time to get intimate might be your best solution.

Even if you just know when the best window of time will be, you’ll be more likely to anticipate that time of the day, and be raring to go when the time comes.

This doesn’t mean you have to turn your sex life into a series of carefully scheduled moments. It’s more about making the time for intimacy, and being aware of your ideal times and days – instead of being disappointed when you’re too tired at the end of the day or not being able to find the right moment.

5. Get Away

Change your scenery! Take off on a trip, go camping, stay at a local hotel for a few nights… You don’t have to break the bank, but getting out of your routine, away from kids and chores and anything else around the house that might distract you from getting intimate with your spouse, can make the whole relationship feel fresh and exciting!

You may need to incorporate a combination of these tips to get the ball rolling, but once you do, the benefits to your sex life – and really, your whole marriage – will be quite noticeable. You’ll feel more connected, more romantic, desire more closeness, and above all, your marriage will be much, much stronger!

Try these tips out right away, and watch your sex life transform for the better.

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

Fall Back In Love, Watch This Entire Video Today

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

Every year, the 4th of July is a time for cookouts, fireworks, and fun with friends and family. In celebrating our country’s independence, we may gather around the barbecue or the pool, sharing quality time with our loved ones, but how often do we stop reflect on the larger ideas of independence and freedom?

Beyond just reflecting on our history, and what the claim of independence meant to the earliest Americans, what about independence and freedom in your own life and marriage?

A major part of our country’s founding values was the freedom to pursue personal happiness – but many of us have obstacles in our own lives that prevent us from realizing this freedom. In most cases, these obstacles are bad habits or unaddressed issues that get in the way of your ability to find day-to-day happiness.

Watch the fireworks with your spouse this 4th of July!

Watch the fireworks with your spouse this 4th of July!

In terms of your marriage, your “freedom” is restricted by anything that’s keeping you from a strong, happy relationship, whether that’s communication problems, trust issues, trouble with finances, household responsibilities – anything that “oppresses” your happiness.

In a similar vein, you can think of problems in your marriage as being restrictive to your independence as well. When you and your spouse are enjoying a happy and healthy relationship, that happiness comes from within – independent from the ups downs you may experience and unaffected by the little hiccups you may experience over the course of the marriage. If every little problem or disagreement causes a crisis, your happiness is NOT independent.

So, with 4th of July and freedom from oppression in mind, this holiday is a wonderful opportunity to find the inspiration to tackle the tough issues that are keeping your marriage from being the best it can be.

Just like the men and women who sought independence more than 200 years ago, it will take some bravery and a good deal of hard work, but you can overcome the obstacles that stand in your way to create a marriage free from bad attitudes, miscommunication, and unnecessary fights.

Just remember that Independence Day is the remembrance of a first step toward a new life and a new country. Let this rich piece of history inspire you to find freedom from arguments and the “old” way of doing things – and transform your marriage into one of happiness, independence, and lasting strength.

Happy 4th of July!

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, StrongMarriageNow.com

Concerns about infidelity plague many couples. People might be suspicious of their spouses, worry that trouble in the marriage might tempt their partner into looking elsewhere for affection, or be susceptible to falling into an affair themselves.

Because this very painful potential exists, couples often wonder what conditions might make their partner cheat, or want to know what signs to look for – to find if their spouse is cheating already.

While every couple is different, there are definitely some common symptoms that can lead to affairs. In fact, a recent study from the University of Connecticut found a surprising factor that most people will be totally unaware of. In looking at economic factors related to infidelity, professor Christin Munsch found that financially dependent spouses have a higher probability of being in an affair.

According to the research, both men and women who are economically dependent on their spouses are more likely to cheat.

For women, the study found that those who are “totally economically dependent” have a 5.2% probability of infidelity, outweighing equal income (3.4%) and breadwinners (1.5%).

Who is more likely to cheat in your marriage?

Who is more likely to cheat in your marriage?

For men, the numbers are a little more worrisome. Financially dependent men showed a 15% probability of infidelity, compared to sole breadwinners (4%) and the lowest probability for men - 2.9% likelihood if they earn around 70% of the couple’s combined income.

For a little context: as of 2011, 15% of married mothers out-earned their husbands.

It’s tough to know what to think of this study’s results. It definitely doesn’t mean that, if you’re the major breadwinner, your spouse is guaranteed to cheat. It doesn’t mean that, if you’re financially dependent on your spouse, you’re guaranteed to cheat…

It does, however, raise some interesting questions about why the numbers came out as they did. Do the financially dependent members of these marriages somehow feel less valuable in the relationship? Is there an underlying sense of inferiority there? Are these people seeking approval, power, or appreciation some place else?

This could be the case for some, but again, it’s too tough to make those kinds of broad assumptions. What these figures really tell us is that the couples experiencing a disparity in their financial contributions to the household may also have other gaps in their marriage.

A difference in income isn’t enough to drive people to infidelity, but because the factors that lead to an affair build up over time, resentment over financial disparity can certainly play a role.

If nothing else, we take this information as a reminder that marriage is a complex, nuanced thing, and that even factors we might not consider (like difference in income) can play a role in the success of our relationships. With this in mind, we can take extra efforts to further “affair-proof” our marriages by voicing any concerns or resentment we might feel, and openly communicating with our spouses to get it sorted out right away.

The best way to avoid an affair is to make the connection you share as strong as possible. This comes with communication, positive (and new) experiences, and of course, spending quality time together.

If you’re focusing on building up these practices in your marriage, and creating an environment where concerns, problems, or anything else can be openly discussed, you’re setting the stage for a virtually affair-proof marriage, where issues are resolved before they spiral out of control, and where your connection to one another is so strong, you’ll be opening up about problems long before either if you is tempted to infidelity.

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

End The Loneliness and Hurt... Watch This Video Today

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

All great relationships have one thing in common – solid communication. It is the pillar that supports marriages over the long-term, as people grow and change, as outside factors affect the relationship, as the relationship itself changes… The one thing that holds it all together is real, genuine communication.

But what, then, does real communication consist of?

Of course we know that talking is big part of it, that we should have the courage to be open and honest with our spouses, to bring up concerns even if it might mean an uncomfortable conversation, to be willing to talk about touchy subjects or share our real feelings…

That, however, is only part of the equation. The other half is the real challenge, and the most important part: listening.

We often think of communicating as sharing our own thoughts and feelings – but true communication also depends on entirely on your ability to listen, understand, and absorb what your spouse has to say. Without an effective listener, what’s the point of sharing all that intimate, personal information?

It's so important to have effective communication in your marriage!

It's so important to have effective communication in your marriage!

Being a good listener is what makes any of that talking worthwhile. It’s the act of absorbing each other’s concerns, hopes, worries, and all of that stuff – and putting that information into action – that makes communicating so important.

Even in an argument, until one of you stops and listens to what the other person has to say, you don’t get anywhere. It’s listening that makes any and all communication work. No issue can ever be resolved if you don’t understand the problem. Similarly, no great positive changes can be made if you don’t know what your spouse wants!

Now, it’s important to remember that listening to your spouse with open ears and undivided attention is not the same as agreeing with everything they have to say. You can still hold your opinions, you can still disagree, but in the spirit of real, genuine communication, you should both be listening to each other’s opinions intently, and continuing to listen to the reasoning you each present for disagreeing.

You will both feel like your opinions, memories of a particular scenario, and ideas are “right.” And to you as an individual, they are – but unless you can calmly listen to why each other feels the way they do (and why they feel “in the right”), you won’t be able to understand what aligns with your own opinions and what doesn’t. Stopping that train of “I’m right” long enough to actually absorb your spouse’s position is essential to successfully and productively resolving conflict.

Another similar scenario is when people complain that their spouse consistently dredges up the same story, that ONE time that they felt wronged in some way…

This happens because each time it comes up, they feel like they aren’t being heard – it still hurts, and until they feel like you’ve really listened and understood how they were affected, it will continue to be a sore spot.

Even for things that aren’t problems – just talks about what to have for dinner, how each other’s day went, and so on, listening is still important. In fact, it can help bring you closer together. Just the presence and attention you give your spouse by listening – not necessarily because what they have to say is important, but because the person is important – shows how much you care!

Be patient with one another, no matter what the conversation is about. Listen to what your spouse has to say, and ask that they do the same in return. Simply making the time and effort to open your ears can bring you and your spouse so much closer together. You’ll be more in tune with how each other is feeling, what might be missing from the relationship, and what’s going well!

Make a point to communicate – and make sure you’re doing it effectively. Everything else hangs in the balance.

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

You Really Can Live Happily Ever After. Watch This Video Now

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