Fear and excitement are two terms we give to one very similar emotion. When we expect a negative outcome, we often call the emotion fear, and when we expect a positive outcome, we call it excitement.

Both are marked with an “electric” feeling, a sense of anticipation, and probably some stomach butterflies - but why do we embrace one and avoid the other at all costs?

Both are simply ways for us to deal with uncertainty, and with the right mindset, we can turn some of our fear-inducing experiences into blissful excitement. Of course, some truly dangerous situations are perfectly deserving of our fear, but most of the time, our fears are dominated by emotion, not logical thinking. There’s really no reason to be afraid of flying or riding rollercoasters – there is some danger involved, yes, but the statistics are certainly in your favor for getting through either experience unscathed.

A Little Scare Can Spice Things Up

A Little Scare Can Spice Things Up

Other common fears, like those associated with social situations, new experiences, certain animals, heights, etc., are all relatively easy to conquer with this rational approach (though it’s certainly easier to talk about than do). But the point here isn’t to talk about getting over your fears – it’s to help you understand how fear and excitement can improve your marriage.

Facing your fears is a huge accomplishment, and when you face them, your interpretation of the scenario changes to excitement! These feelings of excitement and accomplishment not only pump your brain full of happy chemicals, they also prime you for building a connection with people who are sharing in your experience, namely your spouse.

Making it through a harrowing adventure will bring you closer together. Making the choice to face something you’re afraid of (with your spouse close at hand for support) will make you feel invincible as a pair, able to face nearly any challenge as long as you’ve got each other for support.

Seeking excitement is also a great way to build your story together. In the wake of an exciting experience, you have a new memory to share with friends and family, and the improved strength of your connection to one another will remain long after the excitement has faded.

Sometimes the experiences we fear are opportunities for excitement in disguise, and perhaps understanding the value of sharing these experiences with our spouses will help motivate us to face theses uncertain situations with confidence.

In helping each other transform fear to excitement, couples show each other a deep level of support, and ultimately strengthen the relationship emotionally and psychologically… So get out there and face your fears!

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

Movie dates are an enjoyable way for couples to spend time together, especially if it’s at home where you can snuggle up. The downside of using movies as dates is that, well, if you want to actually watch the movie, you aren’t doing much interacting with each other.

But what if watching movies could have a positive impact on your marriage?

Watch a Movie and Help Your Marriage

Watch a Movie and Help Your Marriage

Recent research by the University of Rochester suggests that there is a way movie watching can bring couples closer together – but there are a couple of catches. First, it depends on what kind of movies you watch, and second, you have to talk about them!

The study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, found that couples who watched relationship-themed movies, then discussed them afterward, were more likely to still be together after three years. It’s important that the movies are about relationships, though – any old action movie or thriller won’t do.

You may write these kinds of movies off as “chick flicks,” but there’s some real value to discussing the relationships portrayed on the silver screen – even if they are dramatized and exaggerated. After all, fiction is a reflection of real life, and storytelling is an important way of presenting ideas or teaching lessons.

When you watch relationship-themed movies together, then discuss them afterward, not only do you examine your own relationship by comparison, you also dig into the details of the way the fictional couple interacts, how they communicate, their sex life, and on and on… All through the lens of how your own relationship stacks up to the one on screen.

That’s not to say that you should be playing the game of “which is better?” – because the movie relationship is fictitious, and likely the plot of the movie needs to be driven by some sort of conflict. You can, however, take stock of the details and draw lessons for your marriage.

After watching a couple-themed movie, ask yourself questions like:

  • Are we facing similar problems as the characters in the film?
  • How did the movie couple deal with arguments and conflict?
  • What was the major problem for the couple in the movie?
  • How did the characters deal with hurt feelings?
  • How did the characters show affection for one another?

Simply reviewing these kinds of questions with each other will get you talking about your marriage – and about relationships in general!

To keep things interesting for both of you, try out some different types of “couple’s” movies, from comedy to drama, even some of the more “action” type movies that still focus on the dynamics of a couple. You don’t have to do this for each and every date night, but it’s a great way to spend time together at home, a great prompt for some healthy communication, and a way to build the habit of openly discussing the best and worst parts of your marriage (and everything in between).

Give it a try, and if you must, struggle through some of the awkwardness of actually sitting down and analyzing a film – and what it says about your own marriage. The more you get used to doing stuff like this, the easier and easier it will become – and before you know it, you and your spouse will be having in-depth discussions about how to build an ideal marriage, and taking the steps necessary to make it a reality!

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

Today, we’re picking up with a few more simple (but often overlooked) ways to keep your marriage happy and healthy. These tips don’t cost a dime, but are so valuable for maintaining – and improving – the quality of your relationship.

Incorporate these tips into your daily life, and stick with them long enough to make them habits. If these ideas (and the ideas covered in Part 1) can become a natural, daily part of your marriage, your connection to each other is bound to blossom and grow.

Let’s get right to it!

1. Thank Your Spouse For Choosing You

Being with someone in a long-term romantic way is a choice – and we should all be making that conscious choice each and every day. In fact, we’re making the choice whether or not we realize it!

There are a few easy things you might not be doing to help your marriage.

There are a few easy things you might not be doing to help your marriage.

It’s the decision to choose your spouse instead focusing only on your own interests, choosing deep connection and true intimacy over temporary pleasure, choosing their wellbeing and happiness over your own selfishness… And all the while, they are making these choices about you too!

So, with these daily choices – say thanks! Your spouse is choosing to be with you, to spend their precious time and energy with you specifically. They are choosing to love you, to share a life with you… And the gratitude you express will help remind them that they’re making the right decision.

2. Smiles and Touches

The power of smile and touch cannot be overstated. It doesn’t just make us feel good to see someone smile or be touched – there are all kinds of subconscious and biological things happening too!

Smiles are contagious, and when you smile, you actually have a “happiness response” in your brain! You don’t just smile when you’re happy… You can actually become happier by smiling! Smiling at your spouse makes you feel better, prompts them to smile, and in a way, creates a feedback loop of happy feelings.

The same is true with touch. When you hug and kiss each other, or even just hold hands or snuggle up for sleep, you’re making both conscious and unconscious improvements to your relationship. The hormone oxytocin helps you feel more bonded and more trusting, and is produced in your body when you engage in physical contact!

Touch – especially warm hugs and kisses – is also a reminder that you’re attracted to each other, that you share a certain level of trust and intimacy, and that you want your spouse to know they are loved.

Make it a habit to touch and smile – a goodbye kiss in the morning, a touch on the leg at the dinner table, a long hug at the end of the day… It all adds up.

3. Encourage Achievement

This last tip is a little bit different. It has less to do with the physical and emotional connection between you and your spouse, and more to do with each of your individual sense of fulfillment.

When people feel accomplished, or are at least working toward goals and personal growth, they are that much more invested in everything around them – and generally feel happier too!

Having your own goals and dreams helps you maintain your individuality, and having your spouse’s support can provide the confidence and encouragement needed to face challenges and overcome the obstacles you may face. The strongest marriages are often made of two “complete” individuals who come together to make something greater than the sum of its parts – and a big part of being “complete” is being able to pursue and achieve goals.

Instead of holding your spouse back or telling them the reasons they shouldn’t chase after whatever it is they want to pursue, help them strategize and chip away at progress! If nothing else, help them remember why they wanted to pursue a goal when the going gets tough… Help them stand back up and keep pressing forward.

Even if you think the goal is too lofty or too difficult, help your spouse with whatever progress they can make, and be proud of the results they can achieve… Don’t just tell them they can’t do it.

Sometimes we all need an advocate in our corner, and as a loving spouse, you’re in a perfect position to instill confidence and work ethic in each other. If you’re both doing this, being both supportive AND goal oriented yourself, you can both achieve great things – including a satisfying, strong, and fulfilling marriage.

These are all pretty basic ways you can improve your marriage, just by adjusting your attitude and putting some focus on intentionally developing your bond. Putting these tips at the front of your mind - and putting them into practice each and every day - will draw you closer together, and make all of the other components of your marriage run more smoothly.

A strong foundation of affection, trust, encouragement, and communication is essential, and fortifies your marriage against the troubles you may encounter (or may already be dealing with). These are simple – so start putting them into your marriage today!

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

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


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

For all the complicated things that can happen in marriages, for all of the complex problems we may face, the ins and outs of everyone’s unique personality, the different facets of every single relationship…

Part of maintaining a healthy marriage is actually quite simple.

Over the course of the next two posts, we’re going to cover seven straightforward, easy ways to stay connected to your spouse and keep the relationship happy. These are all so basic, they actually get overlooked way too often!

These things don’t cost money, and they barely even take up your time! They might seem tiny, but these small actions can have a huge effect on the quality of your marriage, and how you feel about in an ongoing way.

There are lots of easy things you could be doing to help your marriage.

There are lots of easy things you could be doing to help your marriage.

Make a point to take these tips to heart, and you’ll be amazed at how much they can help!

1. Listen

So many people have bad habits when it comes to truly listening to others. Instead of actually absorbing what another person has to say, it’s all too common to start thinking about your response, essentially just waiting for your turn to speak - and not giving someone your full attention.

In marriages, this can get worse over time simply because you spend so much of your life together. You may become more impatient, think you can predict what the other person is going to say, or simply get so used to their company that your mind starts to wander.

Real listening, however, takes effort and intent. It means focusing on the other person, not your response. When you actively listen, you’ll be able to provide feedback and thoughtful commentary, but even more importantly, it shows your spouse that you are willing to give them your time and energy, and that their thoughts are important to you.

When people feel like they’re truly being listened to, they tend to open up, place more trust in those good listeners, and develop deeper bonds. This is no different in a marriage! Just making the effort to really pay attention shows that you care, and strengthens the emotional bond you share.

2. Spend Quality Time Together

You can’t be connected as a couple if you aren’t spending quality time together – away from distractions. This isn’t just sitting in the same room while you both do other things. It’s actually participating in activities together, talking to each other, and creating the joint experiences that are at the core of your relationship.

It could be nearly anything, as long as it’s together and distraction free. You could play games, take a bath, go for a walk, talk about your goals, discuss your day at work, cook a meal… Anything! This is a time to put the phone away and turn off the TV, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or an hour at a time.

The time you spend focused on each other, even if it seems fairly mundane, is the time when you’re truly connecting. Make a point to spend at least four hours together every week, even it means scheduling times, and watch the connection you feel grow!

3. Compliment Your Spouse

This is about as simple as it gets: compliment each other!

Healthy relationships involve building each other up and making each other feel good, and this is the most direct way to achieve that. If you think your spouse looks nice, tell them! If they did a great job on a project or dealt with a sticky situation, compliment their skill or patience.

If they cook a delicious meal, are putting in extra effort, even if they remember some little detail about you or make your day a little bit easier, offer up your admiration!

Receiving compliments, especially from the people who know you well, is a big boost to self-esteem and confidence, and helps make you feel loved and appreciated.

4. Say “I Love You”

This can be an easy one to forget or gloss over, especially if you aren’t feeling very connected in the marriage, but saying “I love you” is an important reminder that you are connected, that you’ve committed to sharing your lives with each other.

In person, on the phone, in a text message or a little note left on the table… It all adds up. Being reminded that you are loved makes you feel good, and makes you want to reciprocate – to love in return.

Say it every day. Say it often. Say it with conviction.

Make sure your spouse knows how you feel about them!

Next time, we’ll look at three more easy ways to improve the quality of your marriage that you might be overlooking. Take each of these tips to heart, and incorporate them into each and every day.

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

Affairs are one of the most devastating things that can happen in a marriage. It’s a breach of trust that can be extremely difficult to recover from, and even if a couple decides to stick it out after one of them has cheated, it’s a long road to resolving the problems that lead to the affair in the first place.

That said, it is absolutely possible to recover from an affair – if you’re willing to have the tough discussions and put in the work necessary to get your marriage back on track.

It often means a slow process of forgiveness, which will include a discussion of what happened and how, expressing genuine regret, a commitment to making things better, and assurance that it won’t happen again…

But within that “commitment to making things better,” there are plenty of things to consider. You’ll have to discuss the environment of the marriage that led one of you to seek someone else, and you’ll have to make a plan for improving each of the problems you identify…

But what if the person who cheated (or really, either person) isn’t willing to commit to making those kinds of improvements? What if they won’t even entertain the idea that the marriage can be saved?

What can you do if he had an affair and doesn't want to work on it?

What can you do if he had an affair and doesn't want to work on it?

Well, this is a tough situation to approach – and the unfortunate reality is that a spouse who flat out refuses to work on the relationship is condemning the marriage to failure… And if you can’t convince them to even try, especially after an affair, you might be headed for divorce.

But wait! There are ways to help them see the value of working on the relationship, and to help them understand that a marriage is worth saving, even if it has been ripped apart by infidelity.

It mostly comes down to one realization – that the marriage can be even better than it was before. This might sound crazy, but in the wake of an affair, couples have a very rare opportunity to reevaluate the whole relationship, and rebuild it from the ground up.

If an affair has happened and trust has been broken, you both have to face some very harsh realities. It won’t be pleasant, but it will force you to look at what you’ve both been doing that could have contributed. You’ll have to take stock of your feelings, probably dredge up some old pain points, and if nothing else, be extremely vulnerable with one another while you open up and talk about mistakes that were made and needs that may have been neglected.

It will be messy and painful, but if you can hash out some of your problems – because they’ve essentially been thrown into your face – you can actually experience a ton of growth. You won’t be able to avoid or dodge issues, or simply go on with important things left unsaid. In the wake of an affair, pretty much everything is on the table, even things you may have avoided talking about for years…

That means that you’re almost forced into using your very best communication skills (perhaps even building more), which can create whole new level of honesty and transparency between you and your spouse – and that’s a good thing! Even if it’s a less-than-ideal way to achieve this newfound way of communicating, breaking through barriers is still a good sign for the future of the relationship.

Many couples also find that, after they’ve had to stare down the prospect of splitting up, they grow closer together. After experiencing the risk of losing each other, they find a whole new level of love and connectivity that didn’t exist before the affair. It can even re-awaken sexual desire and boost intimacy to new heights!

Affairs are still devastating – there’s no getting around that – but if you can explain to your spouse the possibilities for growth and a “new and improved” marriage after some core issues have been addressed, you may be able to help them see the value of working through the problems and committing to making the relationship better than ever.

Don’t give up, even if it seems like your spouse is. You can help them see the potential for your future together, even if you’re in the aftermath of a painful affair. It is possible – even probable – that if you can get through this painful time, you’ll be an even stronger couple in the long run.

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

It’s easy to worry… Sometimes we fixate on a problem or a particular interaction, and our minds let it spiral into imagining the worst-case scenario. Other times, we go so focused on one problem, we fail to see all of the good things around us…

In marriages, this can have fairly disastrous results. Fixating on a minor issue in the relationship can breed resentment, as people overlook their spouse’s great qualities and only see the problem – because it’s all they’re looking for. Similarly, problems with your own self-esteem can make you worry about whether or not your spouse finds you attractive, make you question their motives, and so on.

Here are some clues that your marriage is safe.

Here are some clues that your marriage is safe.

All of this, even if the problems are very real, can overshadow the good things in your marriage if you don’t strike some kind of balance. So, with that in mind, we’re looking at a couple of clues that your marriage is doing okay – even if some aspects of it are not. If you’ve got these two things going for you, your relationship is likely more stable than you think.


Do you and your spouse frequently touch each other? This could be snuggling up to go to bed, holding hands, even just a familiar touch on the shoulder or lower back as you pass each other in the kitchen…

Physical touch is an essential part of remaining attracted and connected to one another, and if you’re touching one another often (and without much thought that it’s something you’re supposed to do), that’s a great sign! It means you unconsciously desire the physical contact that’s helping sustain your relationship.

Touching each other – and that includes everything from sex and intimate touching to a warm embrace, a light touch on the knee to walking arm in arm – produces oxytocin in your brain, a hormone directly related to feelings of love and connectedness.

Beyond “general” touch, intimate or sexual touches also help reinforce feelings of passion and attraction to one another. This doesn’t mean you have to be having sex every single day, but a flirtatious touch is a reminder of the chemistry between the two of you.

If this is a regular part of your relationship, you’re strengthening your bond – even if you don’t know it!


Romance takes many forms, and every couple has a different idea of what they find “romantic.” That said, we know it when we experience it!

From date nights to a good morning kiss, leaving each other sweet little notes to surprising your spouse with their favorite meal, showing each other that you care – and that you’re thinking about one another – does so much to keep the relationship “top of mind,” and makes you both feel special and loved.

Even if you’ve got some troubles, if acts of romance are a regular part of your marriage, you’re in pretty good shape!

It shows that you’re still focused on each other and the marriage, despite the ups and downs you may be facing. Without these kinds of romantic acts – even saying you love each other, offering compliments, or doing each other little favors out of care and kindness – you fall more into the category roommates, just sharing a space and groceries side by side, instead of truly living your lives together.

Having an ongoing romance in your marriage is also an important indicator that you can overcome problems, arguments, and even major fights. If you’re both making an effort to show love and kindness, then it means you care enough to also put in the work needed to recover from even the most serious issues.

Now, in the midst of major problems like financial issues, arguments about the kids, trouble in the bedroom, and so on, it can be tough to keep that romance alive – and a little lull is not a death sentence for your marriage. Even little glimpses, however, are still a strong sign that you can overcome the problems and move forward with an even stronger marriage.

Don’t take what you’ve got for granted! If you’re happy to see each other every day, if you can still enjoy a date night, if you still feel the urge to surprise each other with little gifts or special attention… All of these mean that you’re still committed to one another, even if other areas of the marriage aren’t perfect.

The next time you’re worrying about your relationship, especially if you find yourself focusing on a singular, specific issue, take a moment to reflect on the good things you’ve got as well. This isn’t to say the issues aren’t working through – in fact, it’s the opposite! If you can still engage in physical touch (without even thinking much about it) and still enjoy some romance, it means that things like money, trust, and communication are absolutely worth working through and improving.

Recognize the problems you face, but don’t overlook the clues that the marriage is worth fighting for.

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

The two major types or relationship we have, outside of blood relations, are friends and romantic partners – and while they might seem like two separate categories altogether, they are more closely connected than you might think.

Even if you don’t realize their influence, the relationships (or sometimes, lack thereof) you have with your friends have a direct impact on the quality of your marriage. Here’s what we mean:

Having good friends can make or break your marriage!

Having good friends can make or break your marriage!

Everybody Needs Friends

Ultimately, you want your spouse to be your “best friend” – the person you know you can rely on through thick and thin, turn to no matter what, and do the same for them without so much as a second thought…

But even if this is the case, maintaining friendships outside the marriage is a critical part of keeping your relationship happy and healthy. Of course you should make spending quality time with your spouse a priority, but spending time with your friends – especially a “guy’s night out” or “girl’s day” or what have you – is an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, gain perspective, and perhaps most importantly, have a confidant other than your spouse.

Now, the relationships you build and share with your friends are important in their own right - but in terms of your marriage, having these people around to talk to, to learn about their lives, to let them know about the good and bad things you’re going through… All of that helps you build some perspective about your marriage, and can help you realize where you might be making mistakes, things you should be concerned about, or just the opposite – they can help you remember how good you’ve got it!

Without those things, however, you risk living in something of a “feedback loop” – where the only person you confide in is your spouse, and you never get any outside perspectives or experience to guide you beyond that of the person you spend most of your time with. This is also a potential fast track to feeling sick of each other…

Spending time with others that share your interests, sense of humor, etc. (qualities friends tend to have) helps make you feel connected and fulfilled, can improve your mood, and so on. All of these things make you a better spouse – simply because they make you a happier, more active person!

The Dangerous Side

Now, having friends IS a good thing for your marriage, but beware – not all of friends are good for you. Some types of friends can actually be a very terrible influence on your marriage, whether or not they’re doing it intentionally.

First, your friends’ individual behavior can rub off on you, even if you don’t realize it. Are they constantly badmouthing their spouses or significant others? Are they flirting with other people behind their partner’s back? Are they engaging in dangerous or destructive behavior?

All of those are “bad influences” that can creep their way into your marriage simply through “exposure” – that is, hanging out with people who do these things can slowly (and unconsciously) chip away at your resistance to such marriage-threatening behavior.

There’s also the “wrong kind” of couple to spend time with, and we’ve probably all seen marriages like this…

One type is where apathy and complacence seems to the theme of the relationship. These are couples who appear stable, but don’t engage with one another, do everything by routine, who don’t seem angry, but don’t seem very satisfied either. This is dangerous because, well, it can make you settle for placid discontent instead of seeking to constantly grow and improve your marriage.

The other type is the “trouble couple” who can’t seem to make it through a social occasion without a public argument. In the same way that individual friends (and the type of couple mentioned previously) can rub off on you, these types of couples make it seem normal to blow up on each other, to drag other people into the problems, to make a big scene or act irrationally… All of which only serves to make the problems more difficult to resolve down the road.

And not every couple (or every individual friend) will fit conveniently into one of these descriptions, but it’s a good idea to keep some of the “extremes” in mind when spending time with others, and be aware of how it may be affecting your own relationship.

Friends are an essential, fulfilling part of life, but because they have such a direct influence on our marriages, it’s important to know who you’re spending time with – and what kind of influence they are having on you. Encourage each other to cultivate healthy friendships and spend time socializing, and understand that it’s an important part of being a fulfilled, happy individual… Which will ultimately benefit the marriage.

Together and separately, spend time with the important people in your lives. Don’t shut them out, and don’t assume that you have to spend ALL of your time together. Cutting friendships out of your lives will do little to strengthen the marriage, and may end up leading to resentment.

Build your marriage by building up your friendships too!

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

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


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

It’s pretty safe to say that when is someone is being critical and impatient with you, it’s easy to notice. You can hear it in their voice, see it in their body language, and even if they aren’t being totally direct about it, it’s not too hard to sense when someone just seems irritated by everything you do.

It’s not a good feeling, right?

In a marriage, it’s even worse. When you love someone, you’re more likely to treat them in the opposite way – that is, be more patient, overlook flaws and mistakes, and give them the benefit of the doubt as often as possible. So, when your spouse is consistently critical, it’s a sign of some serious problems in the relationship.

Find out what it means when your husband is being hypercritical.

Find out what it means when your husband is being hypercritical.

This type of criticism comes in a few forms, and can indicate a few different issues in the marriage.


One of the most common – and easiest to identify – comes as overt criticism centered on a specific topic. It could be doing the dishes or the money you spend, you going out with friends or how you fold the laundry… The actual issue could be just about anything, but if it seems like a point of particular irritation with your spouse, it’s because they’ve begun to fixate on it as an annoyance, and now they’re basically laying in wait for it to happen. They’re primed and ready to be mad about it each and every time.

This is also the simplest solution. If you see this happening, ask them about it directly. It should ideally lead to some kind of compromise, where you realize that a lack of follow through or your specific way of doing something bothers them, and take action – and also talk with them about the unhelpful (and often unrealistic) nature of simply being angry without offering solutions or attempting to help improve the situation.


This might be the most obvious way to tell your spouse is being overly critical – when they don’t really listen to you, don’t respond to what you have to say, or most of the communication is terse and matter of fact. This is first a sign that communication – in a general way – has come off the rails. Second, it’s a sign that there’s something missing from the intimate, tender, affectionate part of the relationship.

When spouses feel truly connected, they don’t treat each other this way – and if it goes on long enough, it can start to lead to a total breakdown of communication, avoidance of addressing issues, and an ultimately “loveless” relationship.

This can be a tough problem to fight back from, but it all starts with communication and breaking through that barrier of impatience/closed off way of speaking. Ask your spouse to open up, to tell you specifically what’s bothering them so you can both get to work on improving.


To separate this from the other two scenarios covered, this means almost ongoing, unprovoked criticism, impatience, and even cruelty that seems to permeate every interaction you have with one another. This kind of criticism is the most concerning because it’s much more a reflection of the state of the whole relationship.

In order to mask larger issues, people can (intentionally or not) resort to petty remarks and ongoing belittling, focusing on tiny annoyances or invented mistakes instead of addressing a marriage-threatening problem like feeling “out of love,” feeling neglected, feeling disconnected, and so on.

It can also be a product of “overload” – that is, being dissatisfied with many parts of the relationship, and instead of articulating those problems, they behave in a generally disgruntled, emotionally apathetic way. The hypercriticism may be a way of deflecting blame away from themselves, as well as the culmination of many complaints they just can’t find a way to bring up.

As we mentioned in the beginning, when couples feel connected and in love, they don’t tend to treat each other in such a way. This isn’t to say that all is lost, just that if this is the current state of your relationship, you may be more disconnected than you think.

As with so many other relationship problems, the solution begins with communication. You’ll need to dig into what’s really causing the problems and address them one by one. If you’re having trouble talking to one another in a calm, civilized way, it’s likely because you’ve gotten out of the habit of doing so – and haven’t been spending quality time together.

If you want to rebuild your existing marriage into the relationship you’ve always wanted, the tools inside the StrongMarriageNow system can get you back on track. You can learn about what conscious and unconscious motivations may be driving your actions and emotions, learn how to communicate and forgive, and rediscover the importance of time spent together, physical intimacy, and shared expectations.

An environment of hypercriticism is toxic to a marriage, and will only drive you further and further apart the longer it goes unchecked. Address the problems head on and start rebuilding 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, StrongMarriageNow.com

Former Grey’s Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey (often referred to by his onscreen nickname, McDreamy) was on the path to divorce from his wife Jillian, who filed in early 2015, but it seems that the couple has reconciled and won’t be splitting up after all!

In an interview with the British magazine ES, Patrick opened up a bit about the strain on the relationship, focusing on the important things, and making sacrifices for the good of his family.

Patrick Dempsey and his spouse, Jillian.

Patrick Dempsey and his spouse, Jillian.

Outside of his acting career, which included multiple television roles and film appearances, Patrick is an avid auto racing enthusiast – a hobby that became a full-fledged professional career for several years. The demanding schedule, however, took a toll on the marriage, and Patrick’s racing “obsession” was among the reasons cited for Jillian’s divorce filing.

Now, with the apparent reconciliation with his wife, Patrick told ES that, “you have to work at everything, and you cannot do everything. Something has to be sacrificed.”

After a great season in 2015, Patrick has taken most of the 2016 racing season off to focus on his family, including rebuilding the relationship with his wife. Jillian and Patrick parent a daughter and twin sons, and he says where he was putting 110% into racing, “Now it’s time to put that personal philosophy into my kids, allowing them to find their goals, their passions.”

This idea that “you have to work at everything” is an important takeaway here – as well as the lesson that if you want your marriage to remain intact (or rebuild it, in Patrick’s case), you have to focus that work on the relationship and the family. It’s a matter of priority and what you’re willing to sacrifice to make the marriage work.

Court documents show that the divorce has stalled, and the couple – who married in 1999 – seems to be back on track, at least partially due to Patrick’s reprioritizing… And sacrifice.

Relationships take work, especially when careers and other interests can pull you away from one another, eat up time, and demand your attention. We can all take a cue from Mr. Dempsey and examine our priorities, where we’re spending our time and energy, and how those efforts are helping or hurting our relationships. It’s not too late to get your marriage back on track, but to do so, you have to make it a major focus – each and every day.

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

Plenty of us (in fact, probably most of us) have stressful lives. For one reason or another - from finances to pressures at work, health concerns to unfinished projects – most people have things that keep them on edge.

These are the things that keep us awake at night, that worm their way into our thoughts and turn good moods sour… It’s what drives our sense of perpetual responsibility – that we need to get stuff done, be productive, be “adult,” and well, make us less than patient for the things we deem frivolous, silly, or “immature.”

It will help your marriage if you and your spouse can lighten up!

It will help your marriage if you and your spouse can lighten up!

While some of these are just facts of life, we don’t need to be so serious all the time!

Stress and “adulthood” don’t have to make us sticks in the mud, too concerned about status and responsibility to cut loose, too worried about how others perceive us to act goofy or risk a little embarrassment… Especially around a spouse!

In fact, having fun, making each other laugh, and being generally lighthearted can do wonders for all of those “serious” parts of your life, especially the overall quality of your marriage!

A recent study published on Science Daily says, “People who spent more time laughing with their partner felt they were more similar to their partner. They had this overlapping sense of self with the other person. We also found that the more people laughed with their romantic partner, the more they felt they were supported by that person.”

How’s that for a reason to embrace your sense of humor?

When you don’t take yourself so seriously, you can both shrug off some of the stressors you face and find joy in simple things. You can do something silly just to make your spouse laugh without feeling embarrassed or that you’re being “too childish.”

This also extends into the activities you can do together as a couple. Don’t worry about what anyone else might think, and just have fun with the person you love! Go mini golfing, ride go-karts, see silly kid’s movies, goof around in a costume store, do whatever makes you laugh and feel good – and it will help your relationship flourish.

This isn’t to say that you should shirk your responsibilities or crack jokes in every situation. Seriousness can have its place – but you’ve got to make room for some silly stuff too! You’ll be amazed how lighthearted, fun interactions can help you feel attracted to each other, how it can fight off feelings of boredom in the marriage, and rekindle other areas of communication, affection, and the desire to spend time together.

Every interaction you have with each other sets the stage for the next – and the more often those interactions are filled with smiles and laughter, the more you’ll come to expect (even subconsciously) a positive experience when spending time with your partner.

Make a point to bring some laughter into your relationship, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. Tell some jokes, embrace your goofy side, do silly things to get a smile out of your spouse. It will help relieve the stresses you face in many areas of your life, as well as pull you and your spouse closer and closer together. Give it a try today!

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