Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and what better time to go above and beyond for your spouse?

This doesn’t even mean that you have to spend a bunch of money on lavish gifts…

The real point here is to make the effort to show your spouse how much you care about them.

These ideas will help you make your husband or wife feel special and appreciated, and make you feel closer together too! Give any or all of these a try this Valentine’s Day, and go the extra mile to show your spouse just how much you care!

1. Leave a Loving Message

After your spouse goes to sleep, leave sticky notes on their steering wheel or write a message in lipstick on the bathroom mirror…. You could even write a short letter and sneak it into their coat pocket.

Let them know not just that you love them, but WHY.

Try one of these romantic Valentine's Day ideas with your spouse!

Try one of these romantic Valentine's Day ideas with your spouse!

Shower your spouse with compliments about all the things you find irresistible – their looks, their talents, how they make you feel, how good they are with the kids, how they provide for the family…

It could be anything! Just think about the things you appreciate the most, and leave them a special message spelling it out!

2. Take a Day

Perfect for a “day of” Valentine’s celebration, but if it has to be another day close to the holiday, that’s fine too…

With this idea, simply take the day off of work – and everything else – to spend as a couple. No kids, no distractions, no plans with friends or family, just a day for the two of you to indulge in being a couple.

Spend some time in the bedroom, enjoy a nice meal together, go somewhere special - just dedicate the day to each other’s company!

3. Build a Scavenger Hunt

Make a fun little game for your spouse by leading them on a romantic scavenger hunt. Have them solve riddles or puzzles you’ve devised, or even hide clues around town.

This can be as simple or elaborate as you want, but it’s a good idea to have at least some of the clues/riddles involve memories you share, inside jokes, or special things only the two of you know about!

The final clue of your scavenger hunt should reveal your Valentine’s Day plans – whether that’s dinner, the bedroom, or something even more unique!

4. Kisses!

On little pieces of paper, write down every type of kiss you can think of – from a little peck on the cheek to a full blown make out session. Write down a few copies of each type you think of, and put all the little scraps in an inexpensive container (a red felt bag is especially nice).

Give your spouse the bag in the morning (or whenever your Valentine’s Day together begins), and over the course of the day, have them pull out one piece of paper at a time. Whatever they draw, give them that type of kiss!

5. Nostalgia for Dinner

If you can, plan a dinner at a restaurant you enjoyed in your early days as a couple! This blast from the past will give you a reason to reflect on falling in love, the happy memories you share, and how those things can make your future together even better!

For an extra layer, take a little time to make a list of all the positive memories and emotions that this place brings up for you, then exchange your lists to see what you have in common – and what memories your spouse thought of that you didn’t!

You’ll have a great time sharing stories, and leave feeling more connected than ever!

6. Romantic Night In

Have a dinner for two that’s all in your hands. Plan a meal together, pick up ingredients together, help each other prepare and cook, and sit down for a candlelit dinner of your own handiwork.

All the while, listen to romantic music, flirt with one another, and soak up each other’s company.

Make sure you’ve got the house all to yourself, ditch distractions like TV and cell phones, take care of the clutter beforehand so you’re not taken out of the moment, and create a romantic evening in the comfort of your own home.

Slow dance while you wait for dinner to cook, indulge in some wine or a decadent dessert, and enjoy Valentine’s Day with the kind of freedom and relaxation you could never achieve in a restaurant.

7. Leave a Trail…

Give your spouse a sexy surprise! Plan for when they’ll get home and leave note for them to follow the path…

You can lay out Hershey kisses leading a path from the entryway to the bedroom – where you’ll be waiting. This may be a little easier for wives to pull off for their husbands (at least the “waiting in the bedroom” part) – but guys, don’t underestimate yourselves!

Go the extra mile to set the mood, and plan a sexy evening to surprise your spouse!

There are plenty of other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but hopefully these ideas will get you started making your own plans – and above all, help you see the real opportunity that this holiday presents to show your spouse love and affection, to make them feel appreciated, and to truly articulate just how much you care about them.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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

When we think of affairs, our minds usually jump to the worst case scenario – sordid, physical interactions that betray trust and tear apart families, moments of indiscretion that have huge, lasting consequences…

But not all affairs are like this. In fact, some “affairs” don’t even include any physical contact at all – but can still be just as damaging to your marriage. These “emotional affairs” might not include sex, but can have devastating effects on your relationship.

What’s worse is that, unlike a physical affair, many people might not even know that they are falling to the activities of an emotional affair, or realize when they’ve crossed a line.

Emotional affairs are, to put it briefly, an intimate mental and emotional connection with someone other than your spouse.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have close friendships or develop bonds with other people, but when you’re seeking emotional support and connection from someone of the opposite sex, and NOT turning to your spouse for those needs – there’s likely a problem developing.

…And because of how easy it is to communicate with text messages, Facebook, and other technologies, temptation has never been higher to look to other people for support. Even casual conversation with an acquaintance or coworker can develop into something else – often without you noticing.

With this in mind, we wanted to cover five important warning signs of an emotional affair:

Are you having an emotional affair? You might not even realize it.

Are you having an emotional affair? You might not even realize it.


1. You Share Deep Feelings

If you have a friend of opposite sex, and you find yourself getting in-depth with your conversations – wandering into territory about fears and hopes, what you look for in romance, or talking about sex or making innuendo-laced jokes – you’re setting yourself up to build a connection with this friend that you SHOULD be building with your spouse.

The temptation is very real, and because it might feel new and exciting, those feelings can overshadow the underlying knowledge that the conversation is less than appropriate.

Keep yourself in check and pay attention to where you conversations are headed – no matter who you’re speaking with.

…And if there’s someone in particular that you talk to in this way, take a good look at what your actions might be doing to your marriage.

2. Your “Friendship” Is Kept Secret

If you feel even just a little bit guilty about a “friendship” you have with a member of the opposite sex, you’re likely wandering into dangerous territory. If you feel the need to keep it a secret, you may already be involved in an emotional affair.

Keeping it a secret is practically an admission of guilt because, well, it shows that you know that this relationship would hurt your spouse.

Keeping secrets from your spouse is already a bad practice, but being less than honest about a relationship is an added layer of potential hurt – and can damage the trust they have for you.

If you hesitate to be totally forthcoming about a “friendship,” there may very well be a problem. If you wouldn’t gladly let your spouse read text messages (or any other communication) between you and this other person, you’ve probably crossed a boundary into intimate territory.

3. You Think About Them Often

We all know the feeling, and at one point, it’s the feeling you had for your spouse – that romantically interested, “on your mind around the clock” feeling of a budding relationship. If you’ve got even inklings of such feelings, you’re well into an inappropriate emotional relationship.

This is a product of some of the issues mentioned above – sharing deep feelings and secretive conversations, as well as any flirty interaction, can have this effect on anyone, and if allowed to continue, you can develop something of a crush, even if you’re already married. It’s in our psychology, but we don’t have to allow it to happen…

You are in control of your actions, and the more you interact with someone tempting you into an emotional affair (intentionally or not), the more you will think about them… and this cycle will continue until it unravels your marriage entirely.

4. You Wish Your Spouse Was More Like Him/Her

This is a dangerous sign that you’re getting way too close to your “friend.” When you start wishing your spouse were more like this person, it means a couple of things:

• You’re already thinking of your “friend” in a romantic way, and beginning to imagine a romantic relationship with them.

• You’re actively comparing them to your spouse, and because of the newness of this fling, you’re likely only thinking of the complaints you have about your husband or wife.

Affairs generally happen because of an unmet need in the relationship, and these kinds of thoughts will typically highlight that missing emotional need.

Unfortunately, though, it can be easier to look for those qualities in someone else instead of stepping up and addressing the problem directly. This is a major part of the temptation for emotional affairs – in the moment, it’s easier turn to someone else than it is to face up to problems in your marriage (especially when you might have to admit your role in the issues).

If you’re having these thoughts, stop yourself and rethink what’s actually happening. The complaints you may have about your marriage will NOT be solved by looking to someone else… That will only make them worse.

5. Talking To Them Makes You “Feel Alive”

This is how you know things have gone much too far…

If you feel invigorated when you talk to this “friend,” if you look forward to it throughout the day, if you’re tempted to constantly check your phone or emails for the next correspondence, you’ve officially invested your emotions in someone OTHER than your spouse.

When you’re thinking of someone else in this way, it means your spouse isn’t currently holding that place in your heart. This compounds because your attention is elsewhere AND you’re likely neglecting your spouse emotionally because of it. This cycle will only drive you further apart, and make your emotional affair all the more tempting.

You can notice this in yourself if you take an honest look at your own behavior – and if it’s happening in your relationship, you may very well be on the road to ruin.

The good news is that an emotional affair is not a death sentence for your marriage. To survive, however, you have to stop the developing intimacy with your “friend,” come clean about it to your spouse, and take a good look at what’s missing from the marriage that caused you to seek an outside connection in the first place.

The first step is to cut off the communication you’ve been having with your “more-than-a-friend” (if we’re going to call them by a realistic name). Once you’ve ended the emotional affair, it’s time to start working on repairing your marriage – and while everyone’s scenario will be a little different, it begins with figuring what was missing that caused you to stray… and talking openly and honestly about what you can BOTH do to improve the situation.

An emotional affair can be devastating, so be aware of the warning signs. If you’ve already started down this path, stop before you go too far!

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

Harry Connick Jr.’s New Song Inspires Couples

Songs about relationships are nothing new. Some of the most famous songs (and probably some of your favorites) are about falling in love. Others are about good times, sex, or even the excitement of budding relationships. Still others are about the other side – heartbreak, love lost, pining for someone who has left, and so on…

We almost never hear songs about marriage, though, or even about the joys and benefits of a long-term relationship. Breaking from the norm, singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr.’s latest single is all about the unique bond he shares with his wife Jill Goodacre.

The song is titled “(I Do) Like We Do” – and that’s the repeating theme throughout: “No one does ‘I do’ like we do.” He’s talking about the pride he has for his marriage, and how the connection he shares with his wife belongs only to the two of them!

He talks about going through ups and downs, uniquely shared memories, and even acknowledges his own imperfections – all of which make a marriage special! Here’s just one little section of the lyrics:

“Nobody got a you like me
Nobody got this history
Of the good times, and the hard time
And the wild times we’ve been through
Nobody got a me like you
And I ain’t much but this much is true
No one does ‘I do’ like we do”

Just that chunk says so much about marriage – you’re both unique individuals, and the story you build together is yours and yours alone! Your history, your quirks, the good times and the bad… All of those things add up to the relationship you share. You’ve chosen each other, and the pair you make up is unlike any other couple. No one does “I do” like you do either!

Let this song serve as a reminder to build the marriage you want to have. The only people responsible for the quality of your relationship are you and your spouse – and your marriage will ultimately be whatever you make it. The message in this music is one of pride and joy, and that’s precisely why it’s so important to work hard for a happy and healthy marriage.

How you and your spouse do “I do” is up to the two of you, and if you want to be proud of it, you have to create it for yourself!

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

Prioritizing is an essential part of everyone’s life – whether or not they realize that they’re doing it. Every minute of every day, we’re ranking and giving priority to the various things we need or want to do, and making decisions based on the importance we give to each option.

This is true for work projects, hobbies, health, and so on… So why would it be any different with your marriage?

However you set your priorities, you can expect to see related results. If your marriage isn’t high on the list, you can’t expect it to thrive!

Are Your Marriage Priorities In The Right Order?

Are Your Marriage Priorities In The Right Order?

You might be wondering, though, how to prioritize even the few most important things in your life… How can you be sure you are choosing the right things to focus your time and energy on?

We believe that your home life priorities should actually be pretty simple:

1. Marriage
2. Children
3. Work
4. Family and Friends

It comes down to a pretty simple idea – if you’re making a marriage a priority each day, the level of stability and satisfaction you can achieve will spill over into the other areas of your life. Many people like to think that the kids should always be top priority, but in reality, if your relationship with your spouse isn’t in great shape, your parenting will suffer as well. The same is true for your job and your relationships with friends and family…

Your marriage is the closest relationship you have. Your spouse is the person you truly share your life with, and its quality is going to affect how you interact with the rest of the world. If you’re stressing about a nasty argument, fretting because you feel disconnected, frustrated about a dissatisfying sex life, and so on – you’ll take these problems with you to work, the stress will influence how you are with the kids, and it will consume your thoughts when you spend time with friends and family.

Marriages are such a major part of our lives that if they aren’t strong and healthy, nearly every other aspect of life is affected.

When you are making your marriage a priority, though, the good feelings also spill over! You’ll be more upbeat and more energetic, you’ll feel more connected to your whole family (which helps you be a better parent), you’ll be less distracted at work, and your interactions with friends and family will be all the more pleasant - all because you are happy, satisfied, and truly connected with your spouse. A strong marriage really does have a major impact on your entire life!

Now, within the context of your marriage, there are also plenty of things to prioritize – time spent together, minimizing conflict, sex life, and so on. Only you can know the specific areas of your marriage that need the most work – but like anything else, you have to selectively dedicate time and effort if you want things to change for the better.

With the New Year just begun, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your priorities – and make sure your marriage is at the top of the list. Whatever could stand some improvement, put it front and center – and do everything you can to make your marriage the best it’s ever been!

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

It’s that time of year again! People around the world will form New Year’s resolutions with the intent of improving their lives over the next 12 months.

Unfortunately, though, most people don’t follow through!

Research suggests that, even though 52% of people feel confident that they’ll stay on top of their resolutions, only about 12% of people even come close! Those aren’t very hopeful odds as we break into the New Year, but there’s good news yet!

According to a study published on USA.gov ranked the following as the most common resolutions:

1. Drink less alcohol
2. Get a better education
3. Get a better job
4. Get fit
5. Lose weight
6. Manage debt
7. Manage stress
8. Quit smoking
9. Save money
10. Take a trip

You might notice that not ONE of these common resolutions has anything to do with improving relationships… And that’s a big problem!

Make a New Year's resolution to improve your marriage!

Make a New Year's resolution to improve your marriage!

We think that the other areas of your life, from the enthusiasm you have for self-improvement to your commitment to developing new habits, can all stem from (and be supported by) a healthy relationship with your spouse. Think about it – if you and your partner are rock solid, offering each other encouragement and holding each other accountable throughout any challenges you may face, you’re that much more likely to stick to plans and follow through on your goals.

A strong marriage can fill you with confidence, give you a reason to be a better you, and perhaps most important - it means that someone will hold you accountable for what you want to accomplish.

What does all of this mean?

Well, instead of making resolutions to lose weight or develop a new skill, resolve to work on your marriage – and it will build a foundation for achieving your other goals as well! Not only will improving your marriage set you down a path toward improvement of all kinds, you’ll also be tackling this resolution with a partner – and that’s all the more reason to stick to it!

Here are a few great places to start:

• Develop communication skills – learn more about emotional triggers and communication styles (especially your own), and resolve to be more open, honest, and conscientious in your communication.

• Make a budget and stick to it – remove arguments about money from the equation by making a detailed budget, then making it the law of the land! Make sure you both agree on it, and once it’s set – it’s set.

• Spend more time together – simply enjoying each other’s company away from distractions - without burying yourselves in TV or technology – will do wonders for you marriage. You’ll feel more connected, get back in touch with each other’s sense of humor, and so much more…

• Improve conflict resolution – disagreements are going to happen from time to time, but how you handle them makes a world of difference. Spend some effort learning about conflict resolution, effective apologies, and controlling your temper – allowing little spats to pass without causing too much damage.

• Jumpstart your sex life – the physical connection you share is hugely important, and can be worked on and developed just like any other area of your marriage. Talk openly about sex with your spouse and make sure that you’re both getting the most of out it.

Each and every one of these marital resolutions will have a positive impact on your relationship – and ultimately, on your whole life. You’ll feel more secure in the marriage, and happier in a general kind of way… Which usually translates into the confidence and energy to tackle other areas of self-improvement, as well as an important support structure – your spouse.

Start with your marriage. Focus on improving that first, and just see what kind of difference it makes throughout the rest of your life. Happy New Year!

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

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

The holiday season a perfect time for love, connection, and feelings of good cheer.

For many couples, the holidays are as much about romance as they are about family – and it’s no wonder that December is one of the most popular months of the year for new engagements.

Around this time of year, people may be feeling especially aware of what they have to be thankful for (like each other), and because of special events, beautiful holiday lights, family gatherings, and the like – there are usually some great opportunities for a memorable proposal!

We wanted to bring you a little extra joy today, so we’ve put together this short collection of holiday proposal videos. Let these moments of budding romance warm your heart, and have a wonderful holiday!

    1. Proposal Prank
Christmas offers one of the best times for a unique marriage proposal!

Christmas offers one of the best times for a unique marriage proposal!

This couple obviously has a sense of humor, and this prankster husband-to-be really wanted to make it a challenge. Nested boxes (lots of them) are only the beginning of this funny video!

  1. Help From Santa

With the assistance of an in-store Santa Claus, this proposal meant one woman got exactly what she wanted for Christmas! Fortunately, they had a news crew on hand to document the special moment. 

  1. Elaborate Party Game 

All of the friends deserve some special recognition for staying quiet throughout the ordeal, an elaborate, blindfold-driven party game that makes for a fantastic surprise proposal. What a fun party!

  1. A Romantic Production

With his girlfriend’s favorite singer on hand to play “their song,” a full video crew, and a beautiful background of Christmas lights, this romantic proposal is an evening this whole group of friends will never forget!

  1. Family Photo

It started as family photo shoot, and the bride-to-be didn’t think anything of it. With a little creative rearrangement, though, this family made a new photo asking a very special question. This romantic idea got the whole family involved, and her reaction is priceless!

We hope you enjoyed these proposal videos, and found some inspiration to make this holiday season extra romantic for your spouse. Think back to the time when you were first engaged, and bring that excitement, love, and hope for the future back into your marriage.

Have a wonderful holiday, and do everything you can to fill it with love!

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

It’s awfully close to Christmas, and even with gifts wrapped and stockings stuffed, even with all the meals planned and in-laws accounted for, you can still give a gift to your spouse that will mean the world.

…And it won’t cost you a penny.

That’s right, the most impactful and heartfelt gift you can give this year is your gratitude.

Taking the time to show your appreciation in a direct and specific way will do far more than just brighten your spouse’s day – it can help them see the relationship through your eyes, help them understand how much it means to you, and fill them with a sense of pride and purpose that lasts throughout the year!

The best gift you can get your spouse this Christmas isn't what you think.

The best gift you can get your spouse this Christmas isn't what you think.

Too many couples just settle into their marriages without ever stopping to consider how it positively influences their lives. Or, even if they do think about it, they rarely take the time to tell each other!

This holiday season, take some time to really think about all of the good things in your marriage. To share these thoughts with your spouse, write them a letter detailing the things you think of.

This is your chance to describe your love, to thank your spouse for making you feel safe, to praise their parenting skills, to let them know how much you love that thing they do in the bedroom, how it makes you feel to wake up next to them everyday, or anything else you may want to include!

The whole point is to let your spouse know, with no amount of uncertainty, that you cherish and appreciate the qualities they bring into your life.

A handwritten letter is something they can keep, and if things are getting rough, you can both refer back to it to remind yourselves of the depth of your relationship. In the process of writing your letter, you’ll also have the chance to choose your words carefully. This means you can be as artistic as you want, as detailed as you want, and have the opportunity to write things down that you might not quite be able to say in person.

This is a gift that will fill your spouse with joy. Unlike some knickknack or a piece of clothing, this is truly a present from the heart. You’re not giving them an object, but it’s something they can carry with them everywhere they go – and will ultimately bring you closer together.

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

Wondering if you should keep trying to make it work in your marriage or move on? Matt and Angie were struggling with that very same question. Watch this tearful and emotional video as Dr. Dana helps them make that difficult decision.


Get Free Marriage Help Today

Please comment below the video to ask your own questions or just to let us know what you think. We’re frequently shooting new videos and will answer the top questions as part of our ongoing marriage video series.

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

Have you been struggling with communication in your marriage? Matt and Angie had been fighting with each other for years and not getting anywhere. In this video, Dr. Dana helps them end the pain and connect again.


Get Free Marriage Help Today

Please comment below the video to ask your own questions or just to let us know what you think. We’re frequently shooting new videos and will answer the top questions as part of our ongoing marriage video series.

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

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Can't get on the same page with your spouse? Frustrated that your partner won't listen to you? Watch the video below to discover how to improve the communication in your relationship and make everything easier.

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

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Video Transcript - Dr. Dana's Help to Improve the Communication In Your Relationship

Hi, I’m Dr. Dana. Thanks for taking our survey! The results indicated that you and your partner struggle with communication. Are you having trouble getting through to your spouse? Do you talk about the same issue over and over again? If so, you’re not alone. In our survey of married couples, communication ranks as one of the top marriage problems.

There are so many components to communication that is difficult to talk about them all here. However, one of the first things I talk about when helping couples with communication is actually the importance of listening. Most of us do fairly well when it comes to talking. We can come up with charts, graphs and long lists of why we’re “right,” but most of us don’t listen worth a darn. Listening is, in fact, the most important part of communication in any relationship. In the history of marriage, the ping-pong form of arguing, the back-and-forth of debate, has never resolved anything; until someone stops and listens, the match never ends.

Most of us know that listening is important but why is it so hard to do? A common barrier to listening is that many people feel that by listening and understanding, they’re somehow conceding and giving in, ultimately losing power and control in the relationship.

Let me tell you, Listening is Not the Same as Agreeing


How often have we heard, “Listen to me,” when what they really mean is, “Agree with me!” For those of us with children, when we say, “You’re not listening to me,” what we really mean is, “You’re not obeying me.” And trust me, our children know exactly what we really mean when we’re saying it. So, the first thing we need to establish is that “listening” is not the same thing as agreeing, “hearing” is not the same thing as obeying, and “giving your spouse the opportunity to state their case,” (without arguing or interrupting), is not the same as giving in. Listening is, actually, just hearing and understanding what someone is trying to tell you. That’s it.

So, if you’d like to improve the communication in your relationship and resolve issues, take the time to truly listen and try to understand your partner. Interestingly, a pleasant side-effect of patiently listening to your partner is that they’ll be more likely to listen to you!

If you feel like you need more information or help with communication, I teach these skills and many more in a series of videos called Effective Communication for Couples.

So, if you’d like to improve the communication in your relationship and resolve issues immediately, click on the button below and check out our Communication video series today!