The institution of marriage is nothing new. Stretching back thousands of years, couples have been promising themselves to one another in various ceremonies, under various rules and expectations, for centuries upon centuries. The specifics, of course, have changed over time and across different cultures, yet the basic idea remains the same – a couple commits to one another for mutual benefit…

But here’s the thing: marriage for love and romance is a relatively recent addition to the whole arrangement – something that rose out of the romantic era only about 150 years ago. See, before the rise of romanticism, most people didn’t get married for love at all. Tying the knot happened for many other reasons – arranged marriages between prominent families, economic stability, a “good match” determined by others, a “command” from a parent… All kinds of ways that seem pretty distasteful to us nowadays.

But let’s take a step back for a moment, and think about how those types of “historical” marriages had to function…

What They Knew Better About Marriage 200 Years Ago.

What They Knew Better About Marriage 200 Years Ago.

It wasn’t about passion, it was about stability. That means that people mostly married for protection from violence, consistent food and shelter, and well, because of a sense of duty. This “duty” carried over into the sexual parts of marriage too – it wasn’t necessarily about attraction or passion, it was about doing your duty and raising a family.

Now, somewhere in the mid-19th century, this idea started to change, and people started marrying for love and companionship in addition to the reasons mentioned above. By the 1960s, people began to see marriage as entirely optional – not just something your family (and the rest of society) required of you.

This adds a whole “new” dynamic to marriages – one that also comes with a good deal of trouble. Overall, it’s a good thing that we’re not forced into arranged marriages, that we can choose the people we fall in love with, that marriage allows two people to grow together as companions and lovers because they want to, not because they’re expected to…

But it also means that much of that “duty” can fall by the wayside, simply because we’re thinking of marriage much more personally in these modern times. We put all of the focus on love, companionship, and personal fulfillment, and perhaps forget the work it takes to build a stable life with another person.

This is NOT to suggest that we go back to the “old way” – just that, to make relationships as strong as they can be, we could all stand to think of the important pieces beyond love and passion.

Think about a marriage like a human body… Love is the heart. It is essential for survival, and the central piece of the whole system – it’s what keeps the whole thing supplied with “oxygen.” As we well know, however, a heart alone is not enough to keep a body running. We need less glamorous organs like kidneys and stomachs to do their jobs too. In a marriage, you can think of those other organs as some of those “duties” we mentioned – being patient, financial stability, a sense of commitment to one another regardless of current feelings of passion, joint responsibility for a household, and so on…

When we only focus on love and passion, some of the other, more “practical” parts of marriage can be overlooked. A marriage based only on these practical things (like they were in centuries past) isn’t ideal by any means, but it can likely offer some insight on why we see so many relationship problems here in the modern era.

We don’t just expect our spouses to be providers and partners – we also expect them to be lovers, confidants, friends, and lifelong companions. We also live longer, face more complex social and financial pressures, and have more temptations than ever before.

The point is that a marriage can’t be all things to all people – that there are many components, and having appropriate expectations will save you a lot of heartache in the long run. As a society, we’ve built up marriage into this mythical thing that combines the stability of “old” marriage with the passion and fulfillment of “new” marriage – yet many people don’t acknowledge the work (and really, lack of passion) that the “old” model entails.

There is a middle ground here, where you can have a loving, romantic relationship that also brings financial stability, shelter, provides for family, etc. – you just have to know what you’re after, and put in the effort accordingly.

If your marriage is full of passion, but lacking in stability – you know where to focus. Both of you can recognize the “duty” you have to each other and the life you’re sharing, and that means doing your part to raise kids, keep a budget, clean the house, and so on.

Similarly, if you have a marriage of responsibility and stability, but lacking romance and passion – you can put your focus there as well by going on dates, experimenting in the bedroom, and making a point to put love at the front and center of the marriage.

Both the “new” and “old” ways of viewing marriage have their problems, but by understanding the benefits of each and striving for a middle ground, you can keep your passion and build stability – and vice versa. Both are integral to the marriage, so find what needs improving, and get to work!

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

Studies show that women initiate divorce more often than men, and one of the most common reasons cited for leaving the marriage might surprise you - and come as a serious reality check.

It’s not about money or infidelity, or even arguments. No, one of the most common reasons women decide to leave their marriages is that they feel overly responsible for the relationship. They feel like taken for granted, and that they’re the only ones putting in the effort to make things work… And based on many of the other common complaints women bring up in counseling sessions and surveys, this is an underlying issue in many, many marriages.

Find out one of the top reasons women leave.

Find out one of the top reasons women leave.

This problem may take different forms in individual relationships, but the underlying sentiment is the same. When the marriage doesn’t feel like a partnership, with both people contributing to its success, it can start to feel like a burden. Here are just a few of the ways this can happen:

● She does all of the housework
● She is the only who suggests dates and spending time together
● She initiates the sexual relationship
● She brings up issues or initiates discussions about the marriage
● She handles the finances
● She does the majority of the childcare

There are numerous other ways this problem can show itself, but it all comes down to how a wife feels about it. Some relationships function well with a clear division of labor, and couples thrive in well-defined roles - however, if most or all of the work falls to her, the likely result is burnout, stress, resentment, and ultimately, the mentality that the marriage is more trouble than it’s worth.

It’s a stereotypical image we’re all familiar with, where the husband kicks back on the couch while the wife prepares a meal and cleans up after. It’s the “honey, we need to talk” while he’s ignoring her in favor of a sports game. It’s husbands forgetting holidays and anniversaries…

While these are the kinds of problems we see in movies and on TV, the cliche relationship where the wife is the brains of the operation, and is the only thing standing between her husband and utter disaster - this kind of relationship in real life is anything but a joke. It’s not and eye-rolling punchline, it’s a one-sided marriage that is on its way toward collapse.

So, how can you resolve this problem before it’s too late?

For husbands, hopefully this is a wake up call. If you’ve been ignoring or minimizing your wife’s complaints about feeling taken for granted or being solely responsible for the marriage, it’s time to listen up! It’s really a matter of effort, and simply taking it upon yourself to help around the house, to lighten the load of chores and home management, to actually carve out time to spend with your wife will make a world of difference. Being present and engaged in the marriage is the first major step here, and the closer you pay attention to what she wants and needs, the less “on her own” she’ll feel.

For wives, ask for help! Instead of bottling up your frustrations and unleashing them when arguments happen, try to approach it calmly - without putting him on the defensive. It’s ok to be upset, but if you attack him with everything at once, you’re unlikely to get through to him. Instead, explain how you’re feeling, and how it threatens the relationship. He needs to understand that he’s taking advantage of you (even if it’s unintentional), and that a healthy marriage has got to have involvement from both parties.

Whatever the biggest pain points are, ask him for help there. If it’s about housework, try creating a method of assigning chores equally between you. If it’s about spending time together, ask him to plan some activities for the two of you…

Addressing each issue specifically will help avoid a big blowout argument, and hopefully the two of you can achieve some incremental improvement the more you talk through these problems. However, the specifics - like helping with kids or planning meals - are only symptoms. The real problem is not seeing the marriage as a two-way partnership that both parties need to be actively involved in. If she’s doing the majority of the work (either physically, emotionally, or both), it’s frustrating and one-sided - and that’s not a relationship anyone wants to be in.

If this hits close to home for you, it needs to be examined right away. Of all the reasons marriages come apart, this is among the most common - but also one of the easiest to resolve IF (and only if) the husband is willing to make a major change to his attitude.

...And this can go both ways, it just happens to be a more common complaint among women. Both of you need to see the marriage as a joint venture - something you’re both responsible for. When you both put in the effort, the relationship can truly flourish!

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

If things aren’t going so well in the bedroom, don’t fret! With the right strategies and right mentality, you can get your groove back…

In the first part of our series, we looked at 4 ways to get your sex life back on track. Ensuring that you have a healthy, satisfying sex life is an important part of maintaining a strong marriage, and even though every person is a different, we all have some basic biology that helps us connect mentally and emotionally through physical intimacy.

Here in part 2, we’ll continue with 4 more tips to shake up your boring sex life, get you and your partner back on the same page, and to help you think more about this important piece of your marriage each and every day.

Spice up your boring sex life!

Spice up your boring sex life!

Let’s get right into it!

1. Change The Menu

It’s important to remember that the world of “sex” is way more than just intercourse. If you’re having sex regularly but feeling unsatisfied, try to change things up and take intercourse off the menu for a while – even a couple of months.

This doesn’t mean avoid sex altogether, but try to limit yourselves to just touch and other ways of pleasuring each other. When you change things up like this, you can increase desire and being to discover other ways to have fun in the bedroom. You might be surprised how creative you can be when you break up your normal routine.

2. Talk About Your Highlights

This may be a little tough for the shy types, but a great way to rekindle chemistry is to look back on the times when it was at its strongest. Take some time and go over your sexual “highlight reel” together, and reflect on your most fun, most enjoyable, most exciting escapades as a couple.

Not only will you likely get some laughs and enjoy some fond memories, you’ll also get yourself thinking about sexual activities, particularly with your spouse. It might be some inspiration to try things again or return to certain places fond in your memories – and more importantly, a reminder of what’s possible for the two of you.

Be as explicit and detailed as you’re comfortable with, and have fun with it!

3. Make Dates

While it might not sound terribly romantic to schedule your sex life, setting aside a specific day or time to put forth the effort can actually have several benefits. First, you’ll clear away distractions and other “conflicts” that might keep you from spending that time with your spouse. You might find somewhere for the kids to be, turn your phone off, change around your work schedule, etc.

Additionally, setting a date (or dates) will help build anticipation – which can make the eventual payoff even better. If you’ve been struggling to feel interested, this kind of drawn out anticipation could be exactly what you need!

Lastly, if it’s been tough to get things going in the bedroom, if you’re having trouble feeling connected, etc., this kind of “date” is a reason to try – even if it isn’t very successful. You’re still making progress, and when you plan a “sex date,” you can’t shy away just because you’re feeling nervous or because it’s “been too long.”

Again, even if things don’t go entirely as planned, you’ve made the effort to try, and if you keep doing it, things are bound to improve.

4. Vacations and Staycations

Sometimes the biggest hurdles to a healthy sex life aren’t physical problems or emotional disconnection – sometimes it’s just time and routine! We get so busy as parents, as homeowners, as employees, as business owners, as friends, and on and on… We stop making time to be lovers. Or, when we do “make the time,” it’s hurried or almost done as an afterthought – instead of a romantic, connecting that transcends from sex to “lovemaking.”

So, take some time off! Whether it’s a getaway for just the two of you, or a “staycation” where you lock the doors, shirk responsibilities, and indulge in time spent as a couple, these are the situations where you can truly take your time, have some fun, and really develop the physical connection you share. This is a way to explore sexual chemistry, connect, talk, and anything else you may want to do – all without distractions, schedules, or even other people getting in the way.

Taking care of your sex life is an important part of marriage, just like taking care of finances, communication, and trust. Physical intimacy has a huge impact on feeling connected, and if this part of the relationship is neglected, it can pull you apart in other areas as well.

Use these tips (and the tips from Part 1) to add a little spice to your less-than-satisfying sex life, and you’ll see how the strength of that connection affects the other areas of your relationship – and remember to enjoy it!

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

Sex is an extremely important part of a healthy marriage. While we will all have some different preferences and needs, and even different ideas about what a “satisfying” sex life looks like, physical intimacy is a critical part of developing and maintaining healthy bond.

Unfortunately, many couples slip into bad habits, grow complacent, or begin to lose interest in sex over time. This happens for a variety of reasons, from changing bodies to self-consciousness, changing sex drive to general disconnection in the relationship… Whatever the cause, a “boring” or nonexistent sex life will likely lead to other problems in the marriage as well.

Because physical connection is tied to emotional connection, a waning sex life can lead to reduced emotional attachment too… If you aren’t intimate – and that doesn’t JUST mean intercourse – you run the risk of growing apart emotionally.

Spice up your boring sex life!

Spice up your boring sex life!

So, how can you get things back on track?

1. Make Your Spouse Feel Desired

We can’t assume that our partners know what we are thinking and feeling - we have to tell them! A big part of feeling aroused and engaged in a sexual relationship is knowing that the other person finds you desirable… So tell your spouse!

Offer up compliments, tell them how much they matter to you, how good they make you feel. Just as emotional connections are related to sex, the opposite is true! Make this “emotional investment” into making your spouse feel attractive and desirable, which will likely boost their confidence – and it will have an impact on your sexual chemistry as well.

2. Take The Lead

Too many couples let their sex lives crumble because they are both waiting for the other person to act, to initiate something, to be the driving force in the sexual relationship. When you both wait for the other person, however, nothing happens!

Take matters into your own hands, and be the initiator! Most couples fall into some kind of routine when it comes to beginning a sexual encounter, so try to change it up! If you’re usually the less assertive one, take the lead!

Try to free yourself from whatever the “same old” way doing things might be. Give yourself some freedom, embrace your sexual confidence, and don’t just wait for the same routine to unfold again. Do something exciting!

3. Send Flirty Texts

Foreplay can happen all day long, even if you have to be apart. Thanks to text messages (and phone cameras), you and your spouse can enjoy playful, sexy banter that will have you both excited to get home and into each other’s arms.

This extends into your day-to-day interactions, not just messaging. The more you flirt with each other, build sexual tension, and take a playful, fun-loving approach to your sex life, the easier it will be to want to whisk each other away into the bedroom. It won’t feel like a chore, it won’t feel like only one of you isn’t interested, and it certainly won’t feel like an “all of the sudden” desire from one of you.

Keep the chemistry alive by feeding it throughout the day!

4. Talk About It

No, we don’t mean have a serious discussion about the importance of sex and getting on the same page (though that’s certainly a good idea too) – we mean actually talk about what turns you on!

You may think you know exactly what your partner likes, but you might be missing some things – and the same is true for them. Have an open talk about what you like, what works the best for you, and don’t skimp on the details. Get over the idea that you should both “just know” what each other want, and be explicit about it!

Not only will you get some important insight into the way your spouse is thinking about sex (and some details about their favorite things), it’s also foreplay in its own right – talking about sexy things will get you thinking about (and likely picturing) the pleasures your spouse is describing.

Have a talk, then put your newfound information into action!

Next time, we’ll cover another 4 points to get your sex life out of a rut. Remember, the connection you share is part mental, part emotional, and part physical – if the physical connection is lacking, the others may very well follow. Make it a priority to keep your sex life healthy, and it can strengthen those other connections too!

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

No matter how careful or connected they may be, couples fight sometimes – it’s just a reality of being in a long-term relationship. We can’t expect to see eye to eye on every single thing, to never make a mistake and upset our spouse, to never fall victim to being snappy or short tempered with the person we spend so much time with…

It’s not the end of the world, and a little disagreement from time to time can actually help strengthen the relationship – as long as you’re “fighting the right way.”

To help you understand what we mean by that, we’ve compiled six tips that keep your arguments contained and productive, instead of letting emotions run wild, saying hurtful things, and doing damage to the marriage.

These are the tactics healthy couples use to keep themselves in check, to keep the argument on track, and to make sure they both grow from the experience. Employ these in your own marriage to make arguments something you can actually learn from – something that ultimately brings you closer to your spouse.

1. No Name Calling

This is principle number one: be civil! There’s no place for insults and personal attacks here, especially name calling. This is the person you love! Calling someone names, insulting their character, resorting to personal attacks, etc. doesn’t actually do anything to resolve the problem you’re facing, and only serves to make the other person feel bad about themselves.

Learn to resolve conflict with your spouse the right way.

Learn to resolve conflict with your spouse the right way.

Even if you’re angry or frustrated, avoid this at all costs. It will make your spouse defensive, derail the discussion, and do little but push you further apart.

This goes beyond just name calling too – the same applies to exasperated eye-rolling, harsh sarcasm, or any other “dirty tactics” that don’t propel the discussion and ONLY serve to insult your spouse. Just don’t do it.

2. Rules of Engagement

Perhaps a precursor to the tip listed above, setting some ground rules for your arguments is something that many couples have to learn through experience. No one is entirely immune to saying regrettable things, but we can notice what makes an argument go south – and remember what NOT to do next time.

The “rules” could be specific to behaviors (not raising voices, not interrupting) or larger principles (it’s not about being right, but both being heard and resolving the issue, etc.).

If you’ve had some nasty fights in the past, think back to what pushed your buttons – and ask your spouse to do the same. Think about what sent the argument spiraling into a full-blown fight, what caused the most hurt, etc. – and resolve to leave these things out of future arguments.

3. Take Turns

If you’re to the point of arguing, you both likely have plenty to say – but if you interrupt and talk over each other, no one gets heard and nothing gets resolved.

This is a simple tip that goes all the way back to the most basic sharing you were taught as a child. Simply listen while the other person speaks, take in what they have to say, and wait your turn. If you’re not giving each other that basic courtesy, there’s no way the discussion will get anywhere productive.

4. Benefit of The Doubt

We’ve touched on this in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating here. Giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt means, at the very least, not assuming that they are doing things to intentionally hurt you. It means not jumping to conclusions in the middle of what they have to say, and generally coming to the table with the idea that your spouse is doing the best they can, that their intentions are well meaning.

It might not always be the case, but you can discover that over the course of your discussion. Start with a baseline of trust and respect, giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt instead of presuming they’re out to get you.

5. Valid Points of View

Even if you disagree about how something happened, remember that you’re each remembering and experiencing things in your own way. You’re both always victim to your own subjectivity, where you interpret the way things happen and the way things are said through your own experience and bias…

And that means that even if you can’t be sure who’s “right,” or when you have disagreeing versions of an event, there’s validity to both points of view. If you can remember this when you get into a fight, you’ll be able to understand and appreciate where your spouse is coming from – even if you’re not quite on the same page.

The same goes for feelings. Just because YOU don’t think your spouse should be upset about something, it doesn’t invalidate the fact that they are upset. Acknowledge the validity of each other’s feelings and point of view, and you can focus on the issue, instead the differences in your interpretations of what happened.

6. Cool Down

When things get too heated, when the tips laid out above stop working because emotions are too high or the problems are too large, STOP! Give yourself (and each other) some space to cool down, let your temper settle, and come back to the conversation when you can focus on productive resolution, not just your emotions.

It’s ok to walk away from a fight when it has a purpose. Don’t just leave things unresolved because you were getting too angry… But if you feel yourself losing your temper, call a time out! You stand a better chance of coming to some kind of agreement, resolving a problem, or coming up with a compromise when you aren’t fuming mad.

You’re bound to get into arguments from time to time, but the more self-control you can manage, the more you can be open and understanding to your spouse’s point of view, and the more patience you bring to the table, the more likely these “fights” will end up teaching you new things about maintaining a happy, strong marriage – and ultimately make the relationship better in the long run.

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

Over the last several posts, we’ve been working our way through a series on signs you’re in a healthy marriage. As we mentioned in previous entries, these points serve two main purposes: first, to help you see the good parts of your marriage you may be overlooking, and second, to serve as warnings that your relationship may be missing an essential component.

We’re rounding out the series with Part 5 today, so let’s get right into it!

Showing and proving your commitment is a sign that you're in a good marriage!

Showing and proving your commitment is a sign that you're in a good marriage!

Part 5 - Commitment

Over the course of this series, we’ve talked about a whole range of topics, but today’s is an overarching quality that all healthy marriages absolutely need to have. Simply put, commitment is what makes marriages last through thick and thin. No other relationship quality will help your marriage withstand the test of time.

Commitment is the promise you make to one another on your wedding day, and every day after, to be there for each other, to work together, to “make it work” no matter what ups and downs life might throw at you.

This kind of commitment is actually a larger ideal than your day to day happiness, or even your current level of feeling “in love” - in fact, it’s what comes into play when those other things aren’t going very well. If you have a stressful day, are feeling disconnected from your partner, just got done arguing about something - or any other scenario where it’s not necessarily easy to feel excited and involved in the marriage - this is when commitment is so important!

It’s sticking to your promise to stay by your spouse’s side that allows you to overcome momentary setbacks. It’s the mentality that says, “we can get through this together.” Instead of threatening divorce when things get bad or running away from problems, commitment to each other and the marriage drives people to address issues, resolve them, and carry on together - because they know they want the marriage to last, and they’re willing to do whatever’s necessary (even if it’s difficult) to make sure that happens.

Commitment is what allows couples to come back from affairs, to trudge through the often difficult process of counseling, to make financial sacrifices for each other, to do things they’re not thrilled about because it makes the other person happy… The list goes on and on, and it doesn’t only pertain to big problems or huge hurdles.

Commitment also comes into play when you’re just feeling “blah.” It’s doing the chores you said you would, simply so your spouse doesn’t have to. It’s making dinner when you’re tired because it’s “your turn” and you know your spouse had a long day… It’s thinking for the best interest of BOTH of you, not just yourself.

When this kind of commitment is missing in a marriage (or just not as strong as it should be), that’s when we start to see things like selfishness take over. When problems arise, uncommitted couples will fight tooth and nail to be “right” - instead of working to actually resolve the problem.

Similarly, a lack of commitment is present when people do intentionally hurtful things to their spouses - whether that’s telling lies, neglecting household responsibilities, or anything else in the spectrum of very minor to very severe.

Now, that’s not to say that committed couples don’t make mistakes or hurt each other’s feelings, or that commitment itself can’t be practiced and grown (like any other part of a marriage) - just that when a strong sense of commitment is absent, other problems are sure to follow.

If you’re experiencing a lot of problems in your relationship, could a general lack of commitment between the two of you be to blame? Take an honest look at how you treat each other on a daily basis, even when you aren’t in the middle of some kind of conflict. Does it seem like the marriage comes first? Are you making decisions with your spouse in mind? Are they doing the same for you?

If not, it’s time to have an important discussion about where the marriage is on each of your priority lists, and the problems you could resolve simply by putting commitment to each other at the top!

This concludes our five part series on signs you’re in a good marriage. If you’ve got the things we’ve mentioned going for you - great! Embrace them. Take pride in the relationship you have and do everything you can to maintain these positive qualities.

If any of these things are missing from your marriage, don’t fret! Every last one of these things can be improved with time, patience, and some effort in the right direction. Talk to your spouse about these things - not to accuse them, but to ask them for help in building up these strong marriage qualities. Work together, and you can make your marriage the best it’s ever been!

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

As we’ve been going through this series, we’re covering five different signs that your marriage is on the right track. These are useful in two important ways. First, if you’re overlooking the value of these marital qualities, you might be taking some of the elements of your relationship for granted… And this is your chance to reflect on how good you’ve really got it!

Second, these qualities can serve as warning signs that your marriage may be missing some of the most important pieces it needs to thrive. If any of these “signs” are missing, you’ve got a problem that needs addressing if you want your marriage to stand the test of time.

Let’s get right into today’s topic.

Part 4 - There’s Give and Take

When two people share a relationship, there will always be some level of difference in the way they approach maintaining it. This can shift over the years, month to month, or even on any given day, depending on all the other things each individual is dealing with. In healthy relationships, though, both members of the couple do their part to contribute to the success of the whole, and even when one person might not be in their best form, the other person holds up their end of the bargain.

One sign you're in a good marriage is that you have good give and take with your spouse!

One sign you're in a good marriage is that you have good give and take with your spouse!

This is precisely what we mean by give and take… In an ideal world, you’re both excited and committed to the relationship every single day - but we know that’s not actually the case! Everyone has bad days, and being there to support your spouse (and put a little extra energy into the marriage that day) can make a world of difference in keeping you both happy.

This goes for stressful days, illness, or anything that may come up. The two of you should be functioning as a team, and that means “covering” each other as needed! It might mean taking on some household responsibilities you don’t normally take care of, pulling double duty to get the kids to school AND get to work on time, or whatever else might need to happen. Your spouse will do the same for you…

This idea goes beyond just responsibilities, though. This “give and take” can (and likely should) also be present in your personalities, the way you deal with problems, and the strong suits you bring to the marriage. Similarly, it can mean some patience for eccentricities or habits. The whole point is to use your best traits to complete the other person, to come together as something greater than the sum of its parts, and to know each other well enough to pick up where your partner leaves off - and being able to rely on them to do the same for you.

If this is missing from the relationship, however, it may indicate a distance between you, a hesitance to fully commit, or even a degree of selfishness than could cause further problems down the road. If you and your spouse aren’t cooperating, aren’t picking up each other’s “slack,” aren’t working together to make both of your lives better, it’s time to have a serious discussion about what’s motivating you in the marriage, how focused you each are on the relationship as a whole, and how you can take steps toward improvement.

So much of this “give and take” is about being aware of your spouse’s needs, personality, and really, their shortcomings. You should be doing your best to help each other every step of the way, not leaving each other out to dry or feeling resentful about doing something for your spouse’s benefit. Marriage, after all, is a team sport!

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

Over the course of this series, we’ve been exploring the signs that your marriage is on the right track - qualities that indicate your marriage is healthy, but might be overlooked! These can also serve as warning signs that your relationship needs some work. As we cover each of these five signs, think about your own marriage as objectively as possible.

In our previous entry, we covered the importance of being able to speak freely with one another, and today’s topic is right along the same lines. Let’s get right into it!

Part 3: You Trust Each Other

As we mentioned last time, trust and comfort are incredibly important in any marriage. Looking at the idea of trust beyond just feeling secure around one another, it gets even more important! In an ideal world, relationships would just go along through time without facing problems, unaffected by temptation or unexpected problems, free from financial struggles or outside influence…

Trust is a great sign that you're in a good marriage!

Trust is a great sign that you're in a good marriage!

But in reality, we know that simply isn’t the case - and because of that, we need to be able to trust each other to have loyalty, integrity, and commitment even when the chips are down.

A truly trusting relationship is one where you don’t feel the need to “check up” on each other (unless it’s just to say hi, to see how their day is going, etc.)... You (mostly) don’t second guess decisions your spouse makes or scrutinize every penny they spend… When they tell you where they’ve been, you believe them… You don’t default to jealousy or suspicion if they are spending time with friends…

Now, this kind of trust isn’t just given - it’s earned through trustworthy behavior, and that goes both ways! It’s something mutual between the two of you that builds upon itself - you don’t behave in ways that betray each other’s trust, and treat each other with trust… and it grows and grows until it’s the overall dynamic of the marriage.

This kind of trust affects things large and small, and stays strong even in the face of mistakes or things that go forgotten. If you ask your spouse to pick up eggs on the way home, and they forget, it’s not that you don’t trust them to keep their word, but the very opposite - you trust that they made an honest mistake and give them the benefit of the doubt. A big part of a relationship based on trust is a “default” position of best intentions and forgiveness - but again, this can take time (and effort) to develop. If you want to be trusted, you have to a) show your spouse the trust you want to receive, and b) behave in a trustworthy way!

This standard of trust can (and should) permeate every aspect of your marriage, from the tiniest mistakes to the biggest problems, allowing you to communicate openly and know that you can rely on each other in any situation.

A lack of this kind of trust, however, may be one of the biggest problems a marriage can have. If you’re lying to each other, suspicious of everything, always assuming your spouse as ulterior motives, etc. (or you’’e on the receiving end of this kind of behavior), there’s a massive piece missing from your relationship.

Trust CAN be built, fortunately, but it will take work for both of you. As mentioned previously, it’s something of a two-way street. You have to offer your partner a trusting attitude, and they have to behave in ways that don’t betray that confidence - and vice versa!

If trust is missing (or not as strong as it should be) in your marriage, the first thing is to talk about it! Don’t make accusations, just observe the state of the relationship and address the problem for what it is. Spending time together will help. Check your own behavior and make sure you’re not doing anything to betray your spouse’s trust, be honest about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, and ask that they do the same. You’ll slowly get closer and closer to a truly trusting marriage.

It’s an essential part of any marriage - so make sure you’re giving trust the attention it deserves!

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, StrongMarriageNow.com

Welcome to Part 2 of our series on signs that your marriage is healthy and strong. We’re looking at various qualities that show how good you’ve got it (but might be overlooking). These signs can also serve as warnings for things that may be missing from the relationship - and provide a place to start working on making your relationship better!

Let’s get right into it!

Part 2: You Can Speak Your Mind

The strongest relationships are rooted in trust and familiarity - two qualities that can help us feel our most comfortable around another person. In a strong marriage, you should feel at ease saying whatever’s on your mind - good, bad, or indifferent. From passing thoughts to strange observations, bringing up serious problems to opening up about insecurities or fears…

You shouldn’t feel like you have to hesitate to tell your spouse something, whatever it may be.

Being able to speak your mind is a sign you have a good marriage!

Being able to speak your mind is a sign you have a good marriage!

If you feel like you have to bite your tongue, however, it could be a sign of some larger problems in the marriage. This could be the case for a variety of reasons - maybe your spouse has a short temper and you need to actively avoid upsetting them… Maybe your spouse is insecure and they take any issues in the relationship way too personally… Maybe they aren’t a good listener and you hold back speaking simply because you never feel heard…

It could even be a basic mismatch in communication styles, where you just aren’t very communicative because you don’t quite know how to connect with each other. Whatever the reason may be, if you’re holding back from talking to your spouse, it’s not a good sign.

This is the person you live with, sleep with, share a space and an income with… And if you can’t talk to them openly and honestly, you can’t solve the little problems that are bound to come up. If you aren’t addressing the small issues, they eventually become much, much bigger, reaching a boiling point that can be very hard to come back from.

Fortunately, problems with communication, temper, listening, confidence, and the like can all be improved upon! It will take some analysis on your part - not just to recognize that you aren’t freely communicating, but to look for the causes of why you feel that way and what pieces of your personalities might be standing in the way.

Now, if you have trouble to speaking your mind with your spouse, it’s likely going to be tough to even approach this topic - but it’s essential that you do. Even if it means creating some temporary waves as you begin to address what exactly is going wrong, you’ll be better off for it in the long run.

It may mean helping your spouse seek help for anger or control issues, it may mean harnessing your own bravery or examining your own discomfort, it may mean talking to your spouse about feeling ignored or unappreciated, and on and on… Only you can identify what’s really happening - but one thing is certain: if you don’t feel comfortable even bringing up the issues, they’re only going to get worse over time.

If, however, you can be vulnerable with your spouse, it shows how much trust you put in them. If you can be goofy and not even experience a twinge of self-consciousness, it shows how safe you feel with your partner - and those two qualities should NOT be underestimated! These are signs of serious strength!

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle - where you don’t walk on eggshells, but you aren’t totally free to speak your mind either, this is a great reminder to push for some improved communication in your marriage, too. Things can always get better! Because so much of this is based on trust and comfort, just spending quality time together can make a huge difference…

Take a good look at how you’re communicating with each other, and pay close attention not just to how “effective” it is, but how comfortable you are too - no matter the topic.

Join us next time for Part 3!

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, StrongMarriageNow.com

Over the course of the next several posts, we’ll be covering five signs that your marriage is healthy and strong. These are meant to help you evaluate two things - what you have in your marriage that you might be taking for granted, and what your marriage might be missing.

If one (or more) of these five signs is missing from your marriage, it’s not a death sentence! In fact, if these things seem absent, it just means that you have some new insight into what you should focus on.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Here is one sign you're in a good marriage!

Here is one sign you're in a good marriage!

1. You Feel Good About Yourself

Self-esteem is a tricky thing. Some of it comes from within us, and some of it can hinge on the way we’re treated by others, the environment we grew up in, and so much more...

While the causes (and fine details) of how we feel about ourselves are extremely complex, there’s some very simple connectivity in “feeling good when things are good.” If you feel good about yourself - if you feel loved, important, safe, and stable - there’s a very strong chance that your marriage (and other things in your life) are going well!

If the opposite is true, however, it’s time to examine the possible causes. Just as the sources of high self-esteem can be complicated, so can a lack of confidence or feelings of perpetual insecurity. You can, however, examine things in your life to look for causes.

If you feel hesitant to spend time with your spouse, if they berate you or belittle you, if you feel like less than yourself when you’re around them, that is a serious problem. If marriage is a source of self-esteem issues, it does not bode well for the long-term success of the relationship. Your partner SHOULD lift you up, not bring you down.

Even if you struggle with self-confidence in a general way, it’s a great sign if your spouse helps give you a little boost. If they see you as smarter, more attractive, more talented, etc. than you generally feel, you may eventually start to believe them!

A strong marriage is about coming together to make something greater than the sum of its parts, and if you can make each other feel confident, then you’re doing just that!

We all have things we’re self-conscious about, and a loving, supportive spouse will recognize those insecurities and try to help you overcome them - just as you should be doing for them. A marriage is a team, and part of that teamwork is showing each other the path to personal growth - and offering support every step of the way.

Think about how your spouse makes you feel, and how that factors into your overall self-esteem. If they lift you up, great! If not… It’s time to have a serious discussion about the way you’re being treated.

Join us for Part 2 next time!

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, StrongMarriageNow.com