Social media is everywhere, whether we like it or not…

And you may remember past articles warning of the temptations that online interaction can pose for unhappy couples.

Perhaps you recall the trouble that smartphones and an endless newsfeed can cause for couples that should be spending their time interacting and connecting with each other

Those are both very real concerns, but some recent research has shed light on a way that Facebook and other social media can actually have a positive effect on marriages.

The concept is called “public commitment theory,” and social sites like Facebook have certainly become a new “public place.” The idea is simple to understand – and the research backs it up – couples who post photos together, write positive posts about their relationships, etc. are more likely to stay together.

When people put their marriage “out there” in a public way, a few interesting things happen psychologically.

Facebook can actually help your marriage!

Facebook can actually help your marriage!

• The relationship becomes a larger part of the individual’s identity, reinforced by “likes” and positive comments.

• By putting the image of “happy couple” out into the world, people have the tendency to live up to the expectation they’ve set for others – or as the author of the study, Catalina Toma, PhD, puts it: “…we become who we claim to be.”

• When your spouse says good things about you on social media, it prompts reciprocation, further reinforcing the two points above.

Another important element here is intention.

To take pictures together, to take to social media accounts to tell your friends and family what a wonderful day you had with your spouse, to take the time to write a public-facing account of your love and appreciation for the person you married…

All of that stuff is an indication that your spouse is on your mind! It shows that the marriage is a priority in your life.

It shows your Facebook friends (and your spouse) that you’re proud to married, and that you want to show the rest of the world the bond you share with your husband or wife.

The element of reinforcement then comes back into play. Once you put that image of your marriage out there, you’re more likely to maintain it.

It’s also worth mentioning that, with all of the things we could be putting on social media, the simple fact that your marriage is getting some attention from either of you is a good thing!

It’s also a nice reminder to your spouse. If you’re apart during the day, and they see a post of yours about how special you make them feel, it will warm your heart, make you think about your spouse, and likely make you feel more connected.

There are surely some exceptions here. Posting for the wrong reasons – like making others jealous, to brag, etc. – isn’t going to have the same psychological results on the person posting, simply because it reinforces a very different sentiment.

With all of the potential problems that the internet age poses for relationships, it’s great that – with the right use – it can also do a little bit to bring married couples closer together.

In fact, the lessons here go beyond Facebook and well beyond social media altogether. Think about how this translates to real life – the more forward and “public facing” you are in your marriage, the more pride you take in it. The more pride you take in it, the better you want it to be…

So don’t just post pictures together or share status updates about your wonderful date night (though you absolutely can and should do those things), also make a point to hold hands when you walk together, tell friends and family how happy you are. Be proud of your marriage and wear it like a badge of honor.

All of these things help keep the relationship as a primary focus in your day-to-day life, meaning that you’ll put more time, effort, and energy toward making it wonderful!

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,

“When I found out my wife was having an affair, I was completely devastated. When she said it was my fault, it hurt even worse.”

Few things are more hurtful than discovering your spouse has been unfaithful, but this pain is made even worse when the blame is pointed toward you – the one who didn’t do the cheating.

Surprisingly, though, this is quite common, and when left unaddressed, it creates a rift between couples that is extremely difficult to resolve.

To the person who has been cheated on, the element of “blame” feels simple. The person who was unfaithful is clearly at fault – after all, they made the choice to follow through with the affair.

To participate in any kind of infidelity – an ongoing, secret relationship, a one-time fling, even an emotional affair – an individual person has to make a series of choices, following through with actions they know are inappropriate.

A person having an affair knows that it hurts their spouse, but they continue anyway. If we’re placing blame, they are the obvious culprit, right?

As hard as it might be to accept, things aren’t always quite so simple…

Does your spouse blame you for their affair?

Does your spouse blame you for their affair?

There’s more to placing “blame” than we see on the surface.

Let’s back up for a moment. While affairs come in many shapes and sizes, there’s a common cause at the root of almost all of them, and it all boils down to unmet needs.

This idea of unmet needs is precisely why a cheater might try to point fingers back at their spouse, with common rationalizations like:

• “He actually listens to me. It feels like he really cares, like he understands me in a way my husband doesn’t.”

• “The way he looks at me makes me feel attractive. My husband seems like he doesn’t even want sex anymore.”

• “My husband pushed me away.”

• “My husband doesn’t even want to spend time with me. He ignores me even when we’re in the same room.”

Does any of this sound familiar?

While these kinds of statements certainly don’t (and shouldn’t) absolve the guilt of having an affair, it does begin to raise some questions about what led to the environment in the marriage that made them consider infidelity in the first place.

Affairs happen because couples become disconnected emotionally, physically, or both – and that’s something that you BOTH allow to happen.

The longer the problems go unaddressed, the further apart you drift, and when one person begins to seek connection in other places, that’s when affairs happen.

So, a much more realistic view for placing “blame” in the event of an affair is to blame the state of the marriage itself – whatever the dynamic was that left one or both of you feeling neglected.

Again, this DOES NOT remove blame from the person who cheated, and it doesn’t minimize the pain you’re going through because of it. It also doesn’t put the whole burden on your shoulders. You can’t be blamed for your spouse’s decisions…

The point, however, is to make you understand that affairs are not as simple as you blaming the cheater for their hurtful and inconsiderate actions, and the unfaithful spouse can’t just push off the blame by pointing fingers.

The only way to move past the affair and rebuild the marriage is to recognize the parts you both played. Most of this will be well before any affair happened – it’s the gradual disconnection that happens when you aren’t both invested in the relationship.

It’s never going to be a cut and dry case of “who did what” because marriages and love are more nuanced than that.

It could be the tiniest things like a decline in your sex life… that leads to less affectionate interaction outside the bedroom… which leads to less time spent together actually communicating… and so on.

In most cases, we don’t realize how far along the problems are until something extreme like an affair snaps us into the severity of the situation.

Trying to determine “fault” is, in many ways, beside the point. If you want to get the marriage on track, worry less about blame and more about the problems between the two of you that allowed things to get this bad.

Be honest with each other. What’s missing? What needs to change?

Identify the problems honestly – including your own role in causing them – and get to work on fixing them together.

You can both readily admit your shortcomings (again, the person who cheated IS at fault for making such hurtful decisions), and worry more about how to develop the habits and actions that are going to strengthen your relationship – not drive you apart.

If you can understand that the overall climate of the relationship is something you both contribute to in an ongoing way, you can start to shape it into the marriage you’ve always wanted – with the person you’re already married to.

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,

What if you could see marriage trouble coming from a mile away?

Everybody’s relationship is different, that’s for sure – but even so, we can’t just ignore the trends and statistics that we might be a part of.

These factors are pretty strange, but statistically speaking, they show increased likelihood for divorce… And that’s something you can’t afford to ignore.

These don’t guarantee that your marriage is doomed – not even close!

Instead, they should just be indicators that you might be at risk, simply because other people with similar characteristics were too. In fact, being aware of these odd divorce predictors might be just what you need to avoid falling into the same problems as so many other couples!

Here are five strange predictors to be aware of:

1. You Live in Nevada or Maine

Sometimes demographics just speak for themselves, and different states certainly have different stats when it comes to divorce.

Young couple having marriage problems

Young couple having marriage problems

The highest rates come from Nevada, with a 14.6% rate of divorced people, though that could be pretty skewed by the notorious city of Las Vegas. Maine comes in second with 14.2%.

Living in either of these two states doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to get divorced, but with the highest rates in the country – it’s a good reason to be aware of the risk factors in your own relationship.

Beat the odds and put in effort to “divorce-proof” your marriage!

2. Two Daughters

This may come as a shock to some, but having two daughters in your family actually increases your likelihood of divorce all the way up to 43%!

Compare that to families with two sons (who face a 37% risk), and you might want to put some extra effort toward strengthening your relationship if you’re raising girls.

The increased risk may be because men tend to be more invested in family life and activities when they have boys, but don’t have quite the same involvement with daughters.

This isn’t to say that dads and daughters can’t have great relationships, or that having female children guarantees that you’ll eventually get divorced!

Again, these are just the stats talking – and if you meet the criteria, it’s all the more reason to keep your marriage happy and healthy.

3. Frowning Photos

This one is especially odd, but two separate studies found some very similar findings about old photographs…

The more you frowned in yearbook photos, old snapshots, and the like, the more likely you are to get divorced later in life. The serious frowners are as much as five times more likely to split with their spouses than those who smiled often.

You certainly can’t go back and change your photos, but if you were a frowny kid or you remember a lot of sour-faced pictures, simply be aware that this bizarre factor just might apply to you – and take steps to avoid becoming part of the statistic.

4. The Wife Makes More Money

For couples who make about the same income and couples where the husband earns more, the rates of divorce are about the same. That number changes significantly, however, when the wife is bringing home the majority of the income.

In fact, in marriages where the wife makes 60% or more of the income, divorce is twice as likely as if the wife didn’t work at all…

This could be for a variety of reasons, including the fairly outdated idea that women need marriage for financial stability. If they are the majority breadwinner, perhaps marriage feels less important.

Fortunately, more modern views on shared income can help reduce resentment from a husband or external criticism about a woman earning more than her male partner…

But the divorce rates in this scenario don’t lie – so if this describes your relationship, make sure you take extra care to keep things on track, and don’t let finances come between you!

5. One Partner is a Nurse

This one is actually pretty easy to understand – though most people might not even consider the “occupational hazard” of divorce…

People in the healthcare field – nurses, home health aides, etc. – have about a 29% divorce rate, which may be a direct result of the stress, long hours, and demanding schedules of such occupations.

Other jobs face even higher divorce rates:

• Bartenders – 38%
• Dancers/Choreographers – 43%
• Police Officers – 66%

A demanding career with late nights and a lot of time away from home can certainly put a strain on a marriage, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll split up with your spouse.

If one of you works in such a field (or has any kind of super demanding job), you simply have to carve time out of your busy schedule to maintain and improve your marriage…

It’s the best way to beat the odds.

Now, divorces can happen for a huge range of reasons – far more than the few mentioned here. Whatever the reasons for trouble may be, the methods of keeping your marriage together can be implemented by any couple:

• Spend quality time together
• Make the marriage a priority
• Communicate honestly
• Make sex and physical intimacy a priority
• Keep a budget!
• Be a good listener
• Remember that you’re a team!

If the odd predictors of divorce listed here apply to you, the best thing you can do is reinforce the strength of your marriage. Don’t become another statistic – take control of your relationship and make it the best it can be!

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,

When tempers flare, it’s no good for anyone…

And when “low boiling” anger is constant in a person’s day-to-day life, not only can those flares happen at any moment – the tension you don’t see is doing just as much damage.

Before we get into what to do about anger in your marriage, let’s first explore how and why it happens.

Anger is, in many ways, a secondary emotion. It’s the byproduct of other negative feelings, such as:

• Rejection
• Inferiority
• Fear
• Embarrassment
• Guilt/Shame
• Anxiety

These painful emotions tend to be more internal, and for most people, pretty tough to deal with and/or express to their spouse.

Anger is, then, the outward projection of trying to wrestle with those tough feelings. This happens in a couple of ways:

• If one spouse says something that makes the other feel inferior, stupid, ashamed, etc., the knee-jerk response is one of anger - directed at the person they blame for causing the bad feelings.

Are you wondering why your spouse is angry all the time?

Are you wondering why your spouse is angry all the time?

• If underlying negativity is more or less ongoing, tiny things can trigger outbursts of anger. What might seem innocuous or unrelated could actual strike a nerve, bring out those painful emotions, and result in an unexpected angry reaction.

One other reason for anger – similar, but a little bit different – are feelings of frustration. This type of anger stems from feeling unheard, ignored, or ineffective.

This is the type of anger that comes from making the same request time and time again, from repeatedly encountering the same problems, and so on.

But to dig a little deeper, we have to understand why our spouses might feel the way they do… Why the things we say or do (or in many cases, don’t do) contribute to their negative feelings and eventually make them angry.

To do this, we have to think about unique, individual triggers.

First, think about what pushes your own buttons. Are there things you feel self conscious about? Ongoing problems (in any aspect of your life) that make your blood boil just thinking about them?

Well, everyone has those types of issues!

Your spouse has their own unique set of triggers too, and even if they can’t articulate them very well, these triggers are the source of all their anger. Reducing the amount of anger in your marriage starts with identifying and admitting to them.

Once you have a good idea of each other’s triggers, you can work to avoid them – or at least change the way you approach the “problem topics.”

One effective way is through the use of “I statements.”

Instead of saying “You didn’t call me! Why are you so forgetful?” – instead use a statement that focuses on the way it makes you feel.

“I feel neglected and worried when you don’t call. It makes me feel like I’m not a priority to you.”

Phrasing your frustrations in such a way does two important things:

• It removes direct blame
• It helps mitigate your own anger because you have to consider the complex emotions you’re feeling in those moments

Instead of making your spouse feel inferior or ashamed for not calling (which may provoke anger and defensiveness), you’re making your feelings the focus – not their shortcomings.

This also helps you focus on the problem… Not the person.

Triggers can be nearly anything, from certain phrases (like being told to “calm down”) to name calling, from eye rolling and dismissive attitudes to tones of voice…

And while it may take some time and effort to identify these things in yourself and your spouse, any progress you can make is well worth it!

Most of these triggers are rooted in earlier experiences, whether from childhood or past relationships, or even from earlier stages of the marriage. Ask your spouse to think about these things (while you do too), and when one of your buttons gets pressed… STOP!

Take a moment to let your spouse know how it makes you feel, and ask that they do the same. This can stop so many arguments before they spiral out of control, and drastically reduce the amount of anger that happens between the two of you.

If you can both be aware of why you’re feeling the way you do, you can focus on those “source feelings” instead of just reacting with outward anger.

It might not be perfect, and it might not work every single time, but when tempers start to bristle, when tensions start to run high, focus on the why of the issue:

• What specifically happened? (stick to the singular issue at hand)
• How does it make each of you feel? (evaluate yourself and be honest)
• Is anger masking another emotion? (get to the root of how you feel)

When you step outside yourself a little – and understand some of your spouse’s core emotions – you can make conflicts about the issue in front of you, not about every issue you’ve ever had…

If you can keep anger in check, you can avoid saying hurtful things, overreacting, blaming, name calling, insulting, and making things much worse than they already are.

Anger doesn’t solve problems. It only clouds the issue and makes things worse. You have the power to control it, though – you just have to understand why it happens.

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,

Who needs counseling? Short answer: everybody.

Marriages of all kinds can stand to benefit from good counseling, but there are a few important things to watch out for…ThinkstockPhotos-533904407

To make the most out of each and every counseling session (or if you’re on the fence about going in the first place), these five facts can make all the difference:

1. It Can Help Even If You Don’t Both Go

The info and insight provided by a marriage counselor is beneficial even if you go by yourself. It certainly can’t hurt.

Look, think of your marriage like a dance – the common saying is that it “takes two to tango,” but is that really true?

If you learn some new moves, a whole new set of dance steps, the dance itself is bound to change. Even if your spouse is doing the old steps, they’ll start to follow your lead.

It is possible to save your marriage even if you're the only one working on it.

2. The Average Success Rate Is Only 25%

ThinkstockPhotos-187621262It might come as a surprise that only one in four couples stay married after counseling…

Counseling fails to save marriages for a few different reasons:

• The therapist is no good. Plenty of people call themselves marriage counselors, but don’t really know what they’re doing – or have proper training. More on this below…

• One member of the couple wasn’t committed to saving the marriage. If one person never intends to stay married in the first place, they’ll just go through the motions without changing their attitude or behavior.

• The couple went too late. The longer you wait, the harder it is to reconnect. You may have settled well into habits of fighting, forgetting what the original problems even are. The longer the relationship is filled with trouble, the more appealing it might seem to just scrap the whole thing. But you don't have to! It is possible to stop the divorce.

• One person is secretly cheating. Most marriages can be healed after infidelity but if the person cheating has not come clean, the healing can not begin. It's extremely difficult to reconnect when there's a hidden person in between the two of you. However, there are signs you can look out if you suspect your husband or wife is cheating.

The success rate of counseling may be pretty low, but as you can see, the “failure factors” can be overcome.

Finding a good counselor is key, but it’s only the first step. If you are fully invested in getting your marriage back on track, don’t waste any more time!

3. There’s A Ton You Don’t Know

Some (stubborn) couples like to think that they can simply fix the problems on their own…

ThinkstockPhotos-114274111And still other couples are too embarrassed to admit faults or reach out for help.

In reality, though, there’s a TON of information about relationships, about how human beings interact, and how to make your marriage work better that, well, most people just don’t know!

Maintaining a happy marriage is a skill that can be learned, but developing it can take some expert guidance.

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing things… And the only way to learn is to admit you need help, open your mind, and absorb the knowledge and wisdom available to you.

4. Counseling Can Actually End Your Marriage

ThinkstockPhotos-176982113As mentioned above, a bad counselor can be terrible for your marriage. If someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about, the advice they provide can wind up doing far more harm than no counseling at all.

An unqualified therapist may have you focusing on your complaints, which usually just leads to further resentment.

Additionally, if they aren’t providing couples with the proper tools, it can make things feel even bleaker – simply because the advice isn’t working.

Worst of all, a bad counselor may even suggest that a couple split up! If they can’t figure out how to fix the problems, their last ditch effort is to recommend a divorce…

Be sure to choose a therapist very carefully.

5. Marriage Counseling Is For Happy Couples Too

Think about it:

ThinkstockPhotos-508629405• Great musicians practice daily
• People in great shape work out often
• Successful business people constantly pursue new opportunities

So, what makes a marriage any different?

Most people walk down the aisle, sign the paperwork, and never think to work on their marriage until things start going bad.

Again, maintaining a happy marriage is a skill that can be learned and developed – and marriage counselors are a tremendous resource for doing just that.

It doesn’t have to be all about solving problems. Counseling sessions can be geared toward new habits and practices to make an already great marriage even better!

We can (and should) be working on our marriages all the time. Counseling gets a bad reputation as something reserved for relationships on the rocks…

But in reality, the expertise of a good marriage counselor can benefit nearly any relationship, as long as the people involved are receptive to the information.

Armed with this knowledge, you and your spouse can make the best of marriage counseling.

You can avoid some of the pitfalls (including selecting a subpar counselor) and go into it with an open mind. The whole point is to gain new information, to grow, and to make your marriage the best it can possibly be!

Animal lovers rejoice! Having a pet can actually help improve your marriage!

But how?

There are a few direct benefits that having a pet can bring to your marriage – and we’ll get to that soon – but first, let’s think about how most people treat their pets…

With most animal lovers, pets are the recipients of a TON of affection.

We bring them toys and treats. We shower them with pets and scratches. We feed them, walk them, pick up after them…

They have it pretty good!

But do we treat our spouses in anywhere close to the same way?

• Do you rush home to see your husband or wife?
• Do you bring them little gifts or treats just because?
• Do you show them affection because YOU enjoy it too?

So, before we even dig into some of the other reasons, you can see how caring for a pet helps you understand your own capacity for love.

The first real benefit, then, is the reminder that we can treat our spouses in a similar way – loving and appreciating them for their companionship… And showing it!

Pets can help your marriage!

Pets can help your marriage!

Even the act of showing your pets affection can help prepare you for a more loving and connected life.

When you bond with your pets, your body produces oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”), which helps prime you for connection with others, feelings of love and being loved, and helps build trust.

This is just the beginning though…

Taking care of a pet together can teach you and your spouse some important lessons about teamwork and patience as well. You’ll have to share some responsibilities, and you’ll likely encounter some tough situations, messes, or problems that will test your resolve and your temper!

For dog lovers, having a pet can also help you stay in shape – since dogs likely require some walking, you’ll have to walk too!

If you and your spouse walk the dog together, it helps you both burn some calories AND spend some quality time together.

For each of you individually, interacting with pets is a great form of stress relief. It can calm you down, improve mood, trigger positive thoughts… Even reduce blood pressure!

Spending time with pets – taking care of them, building a bond with them, etc. – is just good for your heart and mind in a general kind of way. It has a way of bringing out the best in people.

Who can resist those warm, fuzzy feelings when they’re playing with a cute kitty or snuggled up with the family dog?

Now, we can also learn some pretty important lessons from our animal companions about how to treat one another. Think about it…

Pets are:

• Accepting of imperfections
• Always happy to see you
• Quick to forgive
• Glad to give and receive affection
• Attentive
• Happy to spend time with you

Each and every one of these qualities – when expressed from you to your spouse – can have a hugely positive impact on your marriage.

The simplicity of a pet’s adoration is something we could all bring to our relationships, and simply love our spouses despite their shortcomings…

To help them grow and be their best, instead of getting mad or holding grudges.

And besides, wouldn’t it be great if your spouse were ecstatic to see you at the end of a long day?

Of course, talk to your spouse before you go out and get a pet…

If you aren’t both sold on the idea of pet ownership, it’s going to create more problems than benefits. It is taking responsibility for another living thing, after all!

If you do, though, it could be a great way to grow closer together, and an even better way to gain some insight on unconditional 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,

Could ADD be to blame for your marriage woes?

When we think about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), we often associate it with young people, namely rambunctious kids, and largely overlook the number of adults who live with ADD every day – many of them undiagnosed.

Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of ADD can have a negative effect on a marriage, especially if the couple isn’t aware of how it might be working against them.

Even if your spouse has been diagnosed with ADD, it’s possible to overlook it as a cause of problems and assume they are just being inattentive.

Here are three major ways ADD can negatively affect relationships:

1. Forgetfulness

For many people who struggle with ADD, it can be difficult to keep thoughts straight, and the result is that somewhere in the jumble, some things get lost.

From a spouse’s perspective, this can be extremely frustrating if it means forgetting to pick something up, forgetting to pay a bill, etc.

Is ADD affecting your marriage?

Is ADD affecting your marriage?

It can feel like they simply don’t care enough to remember, or that they just aren’t trying hard enough – but for sufferers of ADD, that’s simply not the case.

They may be trying very hard, but these slips can still happen.

2. Impulsivity

One of the other defining characteristics of ADD is the tendency for rapid-fire, seemingly random thought patterns.

This is partly why it can be difficult for some people to concentrate or remember specific instructions – because their thoughts are moving at 100 miles an hour!

Because of this tendency, people with ADD can seem very impulsive and scattered, jumping from one activity to another, running out the door to do something without consideration for much else.

It can even cause them to say things without thinking them through – all leading to frustration for their spouses.

3. Lack Of Follow Through

Because it can be difficult to stay on top of multiple tasks or concentrate on multiple things, people with ADD may have a tough time completing projects or following through with promises.

Unfortunately, this can come off as a lack of responsibility, a lack of ambition, or worse – a lack of intelligence.

The problems don’t come from a lack of intelligence or ambition, but rather from difficulty finding and concentrating on the next step long enough to take it.

If your spouse has been diagnosed with ADD, or even shows many of the symptoms, it’s important to understand that these “bad” habits are not entirely under their control, and that getting angry or upset does little to improve the situation.

Instead of getting frustrated, try to take a step back and think about how a condition like ADD could be affecting the your spouse’s thoughts and behaviors, do you your best to support them through tough times, and work together to find coping mechanisms and systems to help them address the problems at hand.

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,

Still reeling from an affair?

Affairs are devastating to marriages – there’s simply no getting around that.

Trust has been betrayed, any sense of “normalcy” has been disrupted, and perhaps worst of all…

The people who were cheated on now have to face this haunting mental image of their spouse getting intimate with someone else.

Recovering from an affair, for these reasons and more, is a tough battle.

Now, we won’t dig into the entire process here because there are several components – from agreeing to start your marriage over with a new approach to working toward effective forgiveness – but one of the pieces we will deal with today is understanding how and why the affair happened in the first place.

One of the hardest parts, however, is that talking through these things can mean facing some painful realities and trying to hold some awkward, even embarrassing conversations.

Even if you can get into what the state of the marriage was before the affair...

...if you can talk about unmet emotional or physical needs...

...if the “guilty” party can admit to temptation and do their best to explain why they felt what they did...

It still leaves a huge amount of details unspoken: the specifics of what actually happened.

It's important to talk about an affair.

It's important to talk about an affair.

There’s actually quite a bit of disagreement among marriage counselors about this very topic.

How many of the “gory” details should one spouse share with the other after an affair?

Does knowing exactly what happened make things better or worse?

First, let’s try to understand why such details get left out, even as couples are openly admitting to fault and trying to rebuild their marriages.

• For one, it’s embarrassing. For anyone (but especially men), it’s an admission of weakness, lack of self-control, etc.

Men tend to crave the admiration of women (a factor that contributes to how affairs begin too), and describing the details of how they were unfaithful can feel like risking any respect or admiration their wives still hold for them.

Even when it’s common knowledge, the specifics are difficult to admit.

• It can feel like discussing those particular details (where, what happened, etc.) can pose a threat to any possible reconciliation – so people shy away from them, even if they’re willing to talk about all of the other factors of the affair.

• They are trying to save their spouse from further heartache – and that’s the very reason it might be a better idea to leave the details of the physical encounters unspoken.

While it’s important to reconciliation to know who, where, and why, asking for the details of what actually happened may only be setting yourself up for unshakable mental images that inhibit your ability to move forward with the marriage.

It’s fair to know how long the affair went on.

It’s fair to know if there are any health risks or if there may be a pregnancy to worry about…

But details about the acts themselves won’t do anything but make the whole situation more painful. They will NOT provide relief, no matter how much someone thinks they will.

If you’re facing this very situation, instead focus on:

• the future
• solutions
• moving forward with your marriage
• ensuring that the environment that made an affair possible doesn’t happen again

If your spouse is asking, you can explain to them that you are willing to share the details they ask about (and you should be), but that you want to make sure that things are moving in a positive and improving direction...

Explain that those “gory” details may have the very opposite effect.

It won’t be easy to come back from an affair, but it is possible – and couples who focus on the relationship they have, making it the best it can be, building trust and love, and creating happiness for the future are best suited to save their marriages.

Are you taking the right approach to overcoming the affair that damaged your relationship?

Focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past.

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,

Those "end of summer" blues are upon us...

With the warmest months of the summer coming to a close, the school year getting ready to start back up, and for many of us, our annual vacations already in the past, going into the autumn months can be less than exciting.

There’s still time, though, to get in some outdoor and summery date nights before the weather turns cold.

Even if it seems like you have to get back into the swing of the things and set aside summer fun, there are plenty of opportunities for dates with your spouse – keeping your marriage strong and healthy no matter the season.

There's still time for these great Summer date ideas.

There's still time for these great Summer date ideas.

Spending quality time together (away from distractions) is one of the most important components of a happy, connected marriage.

These dates, no matter how small or how extravagant, are your opportunity to connect as individuals, to share your thoughts, to continue to fall in love with each other day after day, year after year.

And because we do have so may other responsibilities, from kids and jobs to simple odds and ends around the house...

It’s far too easy to put your relationship on the back burner, deal with things as they happen in the day to day, and let your marriage suffer because of it.

You have the power to prevent this from happening, though, and it all starts with spending time together.

To get you started, we’ve put together a few ideas for late summer/early fall dates – both indoor and outdoor. This is by no means and exhaustive list, though.

You and your spouse can be creative to come up with fun ideas of your own, share your hobbies with one another, and of course, explore your own local area for fun and exciting things to do.

Here are a few “end of summer” date ideas to get you motivated:

  • Have a cook out for just the two of you
  • Shoot pool (billiards) at your local bowling alley or pool hall
  • Play yard games with neighbors or another couple
  • Have a themed movie marathon
  • Get together with friends for drinks and board games
  • Visit a farmers market for late season veggies
  • Go fall hiking to explore the changing colors
  • Attend a local sporting event
  • Enjoy a backyard bonfire together
  • See a play by your local theater group
  • Visit a driving range
  • Explore your area’s antique shops and flea markets

These are just a handful of ways you can spend quality time with your spouse.

The actual activity you choose is only a small part of the date – it’s much more about getting out of your daily routine to do something special together.

Feel free to use any of these ideas for your next date night, come up with variations, or use ideas all your own. You can cater your dates with your husband or wife to meet your own financial means, your own interests, and your own local attractions.

Don’t get bogged down with the end of the summer season.

Even if the days are shorter and the weather is colder, even if the kids are back to school and your schedule is getting hectic, you can still make your marriage a priority and enjoy some quality date time with your spouse.

The strength of your marriage depends on it.

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,

Why is the first decade of a marriage so important? What's so special about the 10-year mark?

Big studies have a way of providing insight about broad trends that we just can’t see from close up...

It may take years to collect the information, but once it’s in front of us, the findings can help us understand major concepts and long-term trends that we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.

When it comes to studies about marriage, it also offers a look at marriages in a broad way – not just the subjective view we get of our own relationships.

One such study, conducted by Brigham Young University, examined 2000 married women over the course of 35 years, and the results provide a lesson we can all take to heart!

In the study, researchers found that at the 10-year mark of a marriage, problems tend to be at their worst – even when the couple sees a happy marriage as a product of actual efforts to keep it healthy.

A decade into marriage, for many couples, is when things start to settle a bit. By that point, there might be a couple of kids to raise, some stability achieved, and the “honeymoon phase” is long over…

It’s easy to understand why this might lead to problems for many couples. It’s the closing portion of the first real “phase” of the marriage. They met, the fell in love, they got married, the started a family…

Now what?

Married couples could be in danger after 10 years.

Your marriage could be in danger after 10 years.

By this point, routines have likely been established, and that can mean resentment for one member of the marriage who feels overburdened by certain duties.

Many of the women in the studied cited an undue share of household responsibilities as a source of their frustrations.

It’s also worth noting that, around 10 years into a marriage, couples might also be facing some of the most difficult and exhausting chapters of parenthood.

The kids are at their most energetic and most troublesome – and parents might feel like they’re running ragged just to keep up.

This hardly leaves time to focus on the quality of the relationship.

Of course, not every marriage will experience the height of its difficulties at exactly a decade (there are always exceptions), but this study shows a trend that, once we start to examine why it happens, is pretty easy to understand.

Fortunately, the study also uncovered some good news:

After another 5 years – that is, 15 years into marriage – reports of dissatisfaction begin to decline sharply, and continue to decline steadily over the next 20 years.

That means that couples who can make it over the 10-year hump tend to get happier as time goes on.

Not only can we see that experiencing problems about a decade into the marriage is completely normal, there’s also evidence to support that it’s a hurdle couples can jump if they’re willing to stick it out.

The best defense against this 10-year problem zone is a strong marriage that you work to maintain and grow every single day.

Programs like the StrongMarriageNow System, and even the advice and information we offer here on this blog, will help prepare you if you haven’t hit that 10–year point.

...Or if you have, the information can help you get your marriage on track for a happy future.

The major lessons are:

• communication
• spending quality time together
• and perhaps most importantly for those struggling after a decade of marriage – lighten up!

Seriously, learning to laugh at yourself, not taking things so personally or seriously, and focusing on positives can make such a major difference in how you interact with each other and the world around you.

If you can learn to roll with the punches, lean on each other for frustrations, and really, just take things a little less seriously, you’ll be amazed at how much calmer your whole relationship will be.

Don’t let the “10 year itch” scare you – it’s only natural, and with the right approach, you can have a great relationship all year, every year!

Start improving your marriage today.

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,