The 89th Academy Awards are coming up quick! The 2017 ceremony will be held on February 26th, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The annual awards show will honor achievements in film, feature performances, and be a star-studded evening full of some of the most talented people in entertainment!

Ok, we probably all know what to expect out of the Oscars… And even if it’s one of your favorite events of the year, what does it have to do with your marriage?

Well, if you keep up with this blog, you know how often we stress the importance of spending time together – and this is a chance to take a special event and make it even more special for you and your spouse!

You can turn the Oscars into something to participate in, not just watch on TV… Here are a few ideas:

Make watching the Academy Awards more fun with your spouse this year!

Make watching the Academy Awards more fun with your spouse this year!

1. Make Some Wagers

Pick your favorites to be the winner of categories of your choice, and make some friendly bets! The wagers can be whatever you want – freedom from chores, dinner duties, favors in the bedroom – get creative!

Write down your picks and set your terms before the show, and be prepared to pay up if you don’t win!

2. Fancy Party

If the attendees are getting all dressed up for the red carpet, you can too! This is a fun reason to break out your best clothes, and get all kinds of fancy for an Oscar party. If you feel up to it, you can host a gathering with other couples you know, ask everyone to get fancy, and sip champagne while you discuss the finer points of the nominated films.

If nothing else, it’s a chance to socialize with other couples and each other, and enjoy the eye candy of your spouse dressed their best!

3. Film Dates

The Academy Awards are also a chance to take note of some of the year’s best movies – and each and every one of them is a reason to snuggle up to your spouse and enjoy a quality film!

If you have a chance before the awards, watch a few of the nominations that seem the most interesting to you. Or you can watch the Oscars together, and agree to watch the movies that win each category!

Spend the time to watch the movies, of course, but take it a step further and discuss what you liked, what you thought of the acting, the writing, the music, the cinematography, and so on! Take this time to be a film critic!

Not only do you get the intimate time together watching the movies, you also get the “intellectual” and conversational time together talking about them. They’re likely to be some of the most interesting movies of the year – so your selection of the best material has already been made for you!

The Oscars don’t have to just be a TV show. You can make it into something special for you and your spouse to enjoy!

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

Unless you’ve built some rare type of lifestyle, you probably have to deal with the same kinds of chores and “stuff maintenance” that people the world over trudge through…

Laundry, dishes, sweeping, cleaning sinks and bathrooms - all the way through to mowing the lawn, putting up storm windows, clearing out drains, dusting shelves…

All of that monotonous stuff that we want done, but never really want to do.

Are you doing everything around the house?

Are you doing everything around the house?

It’s bad enough that this stuff has to get done. It’s even worse when you’re sharing your living space with someone else – and feel like you can’t get any help. It’s easy to understand how this can cause trouble in a marriage, especially if it goes on for a long time without being addressed. The person doing all the housework will build up a grudge, and every time they feel like they’re doing an undue portion of the work, they’ll stew on it (and every other time it has happened), slowly building resentment that drives them further away from their spouse.

This problem happens for a few reasons. The first, and most common, is simple miscommunication. Expectations are not expressed, and one party just doesn’t know that their spouse feels burdened by all the housework. It’s possible that they are just oblivious (or doing it on purpose) – but in most cases, they may not know how much resentment they are causing.

In other scenarios, it may be an old school view of gender roles, with a husband seeing housework as “the wife’s job” and being a breadwinner and handyman as his own. If this works for your marriage, great – but it’s important to understand that this view is pretty outdated… And even if you think this way, your spouse may not.

Lastly, it happens from a different kind of miscommunication: the person stressing about doing all the housework doesn’t have a clear pictures of their spouse’s contributions to the household, and therefore feels like things are out of balance.

For all of those reasons, though, the solution is pretty clear: talk about it!

Have a conversation about the “division of labor” in your home, and hash out an arrangement that works for YOUR marriage. There is no magic formula here. You just have to figure out a system that works for your family.

For some couples, it’s deciding which chores are the responsibility of which person – and sticking to that method whenever the task needs completing. Other couples share the load, taking turns by week or day. Still others figure out a system that allows them to take care of the things they do well, and avoid the chores they hate…

Some people don’t mind doing laundry, but can’t stand doing dishes… Others are happy to take out the trash, but refuse to mow the lawn…

The point here is to take the time to figure it out – instead of just going along with the habits you’ve fallen into, letting resentment build and a rift in your marriage grow. Whatever division of labor that works for your unique marriage is exactly the method you should use – and you may have to try a few to find the right one!

If your spouse comes to you with this kind of complaint, be receptive to their experience. Even if you feel like you’re doing your fair share… If they don’t, it’s still an issue worth resolving. If you feel overwhelmed by your share of the chores, don’t hesitate to say something. The only way to resolve this problem is to hash it out and find a “division of labor” that you can both live with – and accomplishes everything you both deem important.

When in doubt, just talk about 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

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

Of all the things that can come between people, of all the reasons tensions flare and couples fight – from petty little things to major blowouts – one thing is at the center of more arguments than anything else:

Money.

More than in-laws, kids, who said what, who looked at who… Money is the thing that comes between people, and it isn’t hard to understand why.

We all stress about it at one time or another. Sometimes we don’t have enough, and sometimes we have “enough,” but not as much as we want. Even for the well to do, money can be a source of anxiety - or at the very least, a matter dealt with very seriously. Keeping track of accounts and bills is a complicated task for everyone, and for most people, financial jargon, taxes, assets, and the like are confusing – even cringe worthy – to navigate.

Can't stop fighting about money?

Can't stop fighting about money?

If it’s not the dollars themselves, we stress about the jobs we work to earn the money, the necessities that eat that money up, and as couples, we argue about where that money should be going.

To get a better understanding of how these fights happen, let’s take a quick look at a few of the major categories of conflict in this arena. These aren’t all encompassing, but are some of the more common scenarios that cause couples to argue about money. Let’s get them on the table, and then we’ll look at what to do about it.

Friends, Family, and Helping Others

While we might like to think that we’re all charitable and helpful, many fights about money happen when it comes to, well, giving it away to other people.

It could be a loan to a friend, helping a parent, giving a sibling a large gift, helping a close relative during tough times, or anything else of this nature.

It feels like the right thing to do, or you might feel obligated because of your own financial circumstances, but your spouse might feel differently (or see something about the situation you don’t).

If you and your spouse don’t share the same relationship dynamic with the person you’re helping, you might not see its importance (or that it’s a mistake) in the same light.

Power Makes People Tense

More and more commonly, both members of a couple are “breadwinners” and contribute the overall income, but this isn’t always the case. Or, for many couples, there’s a huge gap in wages, so one person is bringing in a significantly larger portion of the income than the other person.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a problem, but it can be – even below the radar. The divide makes us a little uneasy because there’s some strange sense of “power” involved in producing the majority of the income (even if you don’t act like it).

This can make one member of the couple feel in control of the money, and the other like they have to get approval for any spending. It doesn’t usually play out to those extremes, but that underlying inequality can lead to some conflict.

Kids Cost Big Bucks

Having children is expensive – as most people are well aware – but managing those expenses can be a source of tension for many parents. Even for people considering having kids, the financial commitment is no doubt part of the conversation.

Whether it’s figuring out allowances, saving for college, what food to buy, what clothes to buy, picking up toys or special treats… The list of potential expenses is staggering. Any disagreement on what to get or how much to spend could lead to an argument, especially if making that decision also involves a cranky child.

Financial Personality

All expenses aside, people simply think about money in different ways. This “financial personality” is going to have a pretty large impact on the way you deal with money in a general way. It might be lessons you learned when you were young, or simply the methods you’ve found that work for you, but people certainly have a range of approaches to money management.

Some people are savers; others are investors. Some people shop within strict parameters; others rack up the credit card bill to deal with down the line. Some live on a steady and carefully managed income, and others thrive in a “feast or famine” approach to finance.
If a couple is made up of clashing financial personalities, things can get a little messy.

Debts

Unfortunately, financial “baggage” is the norm today. From student loans to car payments, credit card debt to the mortgages, debt is just a part of life for many people. In a marriage though, some debts will be taken on as a couple, while others may still be lingering around from well before.

These debts, particularly the old ones, will be a drain on income that doesn’t seem to result in much tangible reward, and that simple fact can cause some stress – especially if money is already tight.

Yours vs. Mine

Most married couples end up combining finances, but this can lead to some murky territory for what “belongs” to you, your spouse, or both of you. This can be something major like a car, or something minor… Like who ate the last cupcake.

This division of ownership will rear its ugly head sometimes, even if you’ve agreed to share everything. It just happens as part of our own subjective impulses. It’s tough to divide everything right down the middle, and eventually things will tip one way or the other – and that can lead to conflict.

So, with all of these potential financial pitfalls, what can a couple do to minimize disagreements about money?

In a word: BUDGET.

With a robust budget, you have a system to fall back on. The key is to make your decisions together, and then STICK TO THEM!

This way, when disputes arise about what’s being spent where, you don’t have to make it about momentary opinions or personal feelings. Instead, you just refer back to the budget. If you didn’t account for it in your planning, then it’s likely an unnecessary expense.

The point is that you have an impartial “third party” in the form of the budget you agreed on. You just have to go back and compare the financial disagreement at hand to the blueprint you set out for your joint finances. Stick to the plan, and it will resolve arguments for you!

Money is going to be a little different for every couple, but the need to manage it effectively is the same, no matter what your tax bracket might be. Avoid many of the problems couples face by taking the financial guesswork out of your day-to-day lives. Make a budget and stick to it.

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

Despite what the advertisements, store displays, magazine headlines, and the marketing machine would have you believe, Valentine’s Day is about one thing above all others:

Love.

Use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to make your marriage even better!

Use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to make your marriage even better!

And real love is about connection, compassion, and sharing your personalities with one another. Things like flowers, candy, gifts, fancy dinners… all of that stuff is extra. It isn’t required for a happy Valentine’s Day, and certainly isn’t required for you and your spouse to celebrate the love you have for each other.

They also aren’t required if you’re looking to make improvements to your relationship this Valentine’s Day, either.

If you can swing those kinds of things, great! But don’t, even for one second, feel guilty if they don’t fit into the budget or the schedule, or make your spouse feel guilty if they aren’t providing the material things society has mistaken for signs of affection.

When people get too caught up with that material side of things, it can make this lovers’ holiday take a turn for the worse. Couples can start stressing about money, arguing about who bought what, or worry more about making dinner reservations than expressing their gratitude for each other.

All this does is distract them from what’s truly important – the relationship they share.

Now, if it isn’t going to cause trouble, by all means splurge for a fancy dinner or a romantic getaway – but make sure your heart is in the right place, that you’re doing it because you can and because you want to, not because you think you’re supposed to, or because you think that’s the only way to have a good Valentine’s Day.

In fact, before you even give any thought to gifts or dates, why not start with a very simple exercise. Use the instructions below to write your spouse an honest and direct love letter. This kind of message means more than flowers and sweets ever will.

Step 1- List the top five things that you’re thankful for about your life together:

  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________
  4. _______________________________________
  5. _______________________________________

Step 2- List your spouses’ five best qualities today:

  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________
  4. _______________________________________
  5. _______________________________________

Step 3- Sit down and write it in this form:

Dear ____,

This Valentine's Day I wanted to tell you how thankful I am for our life together and tell you all the things I love about you.

I am thankful for ___________, ______________________, _____________________, _________________,  and __________________.

I love you because you are _________________, _________________, __________________, ____________________, and __________________.

Happy Valentines Day!

I love you,

{Signature}

This “gift” will do more to strengthen your relationship than flowers or a fancy dinner… Remind each other of the love you share!

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

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and there’s no better time to go above and beyond for your spouse!

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

The real point here is to show love, to make the effort to show your spouse how much you care about them. It’s also a great time to be super affectionate!

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

1. Kisses!

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

There are a lot of great Valentine's Day ideas to share with your spouse!

There are a lot of great Valentine's Day ideas to share with your spouse!

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

2. Leave a Loving Message

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

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

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

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

3. Leave a Trail…

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

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

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

4. Build a Scavenger Hunt

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

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

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

5. Take a Day

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

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

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

6. Romantic Night In

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

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

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

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

7. Nostalgia for Dinner

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

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

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

8. Sexy Games

Whether it’s something you buy (from an adult store or online) or something you come up with yourself, a steamy – and sometimes silly – way to spend intimate time together is to play games with some grown up rules. Think things like strip poker… Or anything else you can imagine.

The point is to switch things up a little bit, make a whole event out of it, and have some fun! Lock the doors and indulge.

9. Mini Vacation

This one might cost a little more than the others, but a truly romantic getaway for an evening can help you feel more connected than ever. Book a nice hotel room, enjoy dinner and/or drinks together, take advantage of whatever hotel facilities you like, and retire to your room for some fun!

This is especially romantic if you find a hotel with a Jacuzzi tub, a balcony with a view, or other special features.

10. Go Explore

If the two of you aren’t into the traditional dinner date, spend your Valentine’s Day exploring the wilderness or a new town! If it’s still wintry in your area, maybe that means a snowy hike… Or if you live in a place with lots of small towns, it could mean bouncing through the countryside checking out little eateries, shops, and entertainment.

You only need a loose plan – let your explorations guide you! As long as you’re spending this time together talking and laughing, feeling connected as a couple, it’s a fine way to spend this lover’s holiday.

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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


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

Over the last two articles, we’ve been looking at the problems alcohol can cause for your health and for your marriage. Today, we’ll finish up this three-part series by discussing another area of your life threatened by alcohol abuse: your family.

Much like the ways drinking can damage a marriage, the social and psychological impact of such behavior has a way of causing trouble with members of the immediate (and even the extended) family.

If someone is drinking too much, too often, they have a tendency to check out of their day-to-day lives, and this means checking out of the lives of family members as well. This distance can lead to family members feeling isolated from a person they love, or worse, feeling completely unimportant.

Is drinking ruining your marriage?

Is drinking ruining your marriage?


If causing family members to feel isolated and unimportant wasn’t bad enough, missing family events and being generally uninvolved in family affairs can also breed resentment and anger – which damages relationships even further.

On the behavioral side of things, people struggling with alcohol problems also have a tendency to lash out at their family members, and even blame them for the problems instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. In some cases, this can lead family members to blame themselves, damaging their self-esteem. This misplaced sense of responsibility can do lasting damage, and will likely impact future relationships.

As we discussed last time, being under the influence of alcohol impedes the ability to make rational decisions, and when it comes to parenting, this can have devastating consequences. Beyond endangering the safety of young ones, consistently poor decision-making can spur a cycle of problematic behavior. Our children learn from us whether or not we are teaching them directly, and if they observe a parent drinking heavily, making bad decisions, etc., they may very well follow suit.

The problems associated with alcohol abuse are numerous, and there are many more that we haven’t even touched throughout this series. The main point, however, should be absolutely clear: excessive drinking threatens more than just personal health and safety – an individual’s behavior can have consequences for people beyond themselves, namely the people closest to them, like family members and spouses.

If you think you may have a problem, or know someone who does, help is available through counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous, and many other organizations dedicated to helping people overcome alcohol addiction and getting their lives back on track. Know that you’re not alone – help is out there!

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

In the first part of this series, we touched on how alcohol consumption (especially in excess) can damage your health, both physical and emotional. Most of Part 1 was focused on how alcohol can affect you as an individual. This time around, we want to discuss how can negatively impact your marriage.

Now, the health risks associated with frequent heavy drinking definitely pose some problems for a marriage, from the financial burdens of medical costs to the emotional burdens of seeing a loved one suffer with an illness.

More specifically, however, alcohol can harm one of the most intimate and important components of your marriage: your sex life.

Is drinking ruining your marriage?

Is drinking ruining your marriage?

While there is some truth to the idea that alcohol reduces inhibitions and can increase sexual desire, the physical downsides (especially in the long-term) are very serious. Despite a psychological feeling of increased arousal, the physical reality is that alcohol actually reduces arousal response in both men and women, and for men, can lead to long-term problems with sexual performance – because alcohol directly inhibits testosterone production.

When it comes to drinking and sex, there’s also another major risk factor. Because alcohol impairs our decision-making abilities, there’s a huge increase in the risk for infidelity while intoxicated, especially if other problems already exist in the marriage.

Other psychological effects can also harm the bond you share with your spouse. For some people, drinking can lead to depression or anger, and this means more arguments – or if nothing else, a much more difficult time spending happy, quality time together. Over time, alcohol abuse can lead to depression and irritability when a person is not drinking, and this raises another entire set of problems for connecting and sharing good times together.

Intoxication can make people “check out” of reality, and with it, their marriages. This not only hurts their spouses and leads to more fighting, but can actually make the hurt spouse lose respect for their partner entirely. It comes off as a lack of self-control, a lack of responsibility, and makes them feel as though their partner just doesn’t care about the marriage.

As you can see, the impact of alcohol abuse (and even general over-consumption) impacts more than just the individual partaking in the behavior. The problems can ripple out into a marriage, and have lasting effects that go far, far beyond a single instance of being intoxicated. In fact, these problems are usually amplified with frequency.

In the third installment of this series, we’ll talk about how these issues can hurt the rest of your family – a very serious problem of its own.

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

There’s no disputing that alcohol has a prevalent role in our society. From widespread availability to being a staple at many social events, alcoholic drinks are never very far away, but could they be the root cause of larger problems in our lives?

In this series, we’ll take a look at how alcohol can impact your life, your health, and ultimately, your marriage.

Excessive drinking can become a habit in many ways. For some, it’s simply an unchecked social behavior that gets out of hand – what starts as relatively harmless, casual drinking can become more and more frequent, and because of a growing tolerance, more and more alcohol is consumed to achieve the same effect. This kind of social drinking can be particularly problematic because it’s generally reinforced by peers, and pushed aside as “not a big deal.”

For others, alcohol can be a way of escaping or self-medicating. It can be used to avoid thinking about something painful, a way of neglecting responsibility, or just a method of escaping fears or frustrations. The largest problem here is that it can be impulsive and self-destructive, and sets a precedent for abusing alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Is drinking ruining your marriage?

Is drinking ruining your marriage?

Now, the “reasons” for excessive alcohol consumption can be very broad, and regardless of the motivation, the negative effects eventually catch up with heavy drinkers of all kinds. But what are these downsides?

First, drinking has an effect on your moods and thought processes, even when you’re not intoxicated. Drinking can make you tired and irritable, shorten your temper, and make it difficult to concentrate. While under the influence, some people experience wild mood swings or make irrational decisions.

When decision-making is impaired, people engage in much riskier behavior – which can lead to drunk driving, criminal charges, or personal injury. Such risks endanger lives, and could lead to job loss, jail time, and tremendous financial burden.

Even beyond all of these potential problems, drinking increases the risk of heart disease, causes people to gain weight, and damages the immune system. Long-term heavy drinking leads to all kinds of gastrointestinal problems as well, including liver failure and pancreatitis.

Studies show that cancer risk is increased with large amounts of alcohol consumption, and the physical damage alcohol abuse does to the brain can lead to psychiatric problems like depression and anxiety.

Unfortunately, almost all of this information is pretty common knowledge, and the people at risk just assume that it won’t happen to them (or fail to recognize when it’s already happening).

We urge you to examine your own habits, as well as the habits of those around you, and look for some tell tale signs that maybe you (or people you care about) are drinking too much. You can also evaluate the stress factors in your day-to-day life, and see if alcohol is playing a role in the problems you deal with regularly – you just might be surprised!

Next time, we’ll look directly at how alcohol use and abuse can affect relationships, and the damage it can cause in a marriage.

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 hard to turn anywhere recently without being bombarded with some kind of political talk… It’s all over the news, all over social media… It’s likely what your friends and coworkers are talking about…

And even if you’re really into this kind of stuff, it can be a little exhausting – especially because there seems to be so much conflict in the air. Maybe you’ve gotten into some heated arguments with people you know – but what if you and your spouse keep fighting about politics?

The ongoing tension in this one area can wreak havoc on the whole relationship if you don’t keep things in check. Here are some steps you can take to ease some conflict and avoid political infuriation:

Help! We Don't Agree On Politics!

Help! We Don't Agree On Politics!

1. Learn the Value of Disagreement

Frist, this is NOT about fighting or arguing. This is about calm, thoughtful discussion when you and the other party don’t share the same opinion.

Approached the right way, it’s actually an opportunity to learn a TON about the other person, where they come from, and why they think they way they do… And in the process, you’ll likely learn some things about your own opinions and way of thinking too.

The key is to stay calm and never let it turn into personal attacks… Which brings us right to the next tip.

2. Don’t Ever Let It Turn to Hate

People feel strongly about their opinions – especially political ones. One someone doesn’t see things the way you do, it’s easy to assume that they’re just stupid, don’t see what you see, or can’t understand the info that’s informing your stance.

DO NOT let yourself resort to such personal attacks – or even such thoughts about the other person. If you disagree, that’s fine… But always keep your discussions focused on the issues, on information, on what you can do to find middle ground and increase your combined understanding…

As soon as it starts getting personal, STOP! You’re going to say things in the heat of the moment that you might not mean, and if you’re getting angry, you’re probably not having a productive talk at all. Stop, walk away, and let your temper settle.

3. Separate Politics from Personality

Your political opinions (and anyone else’s) are but a small part of the person they are. Difference of opinion – even on the hottest button issues – does NOT mean you can’t be friends, lovers, or spouses! You just have to remember all of the other things you love about your spouse – and not focus on this particular point of contention.

In fact, you can carry this with you into ANY political discussion. The other person… IS A PERSON! They have loves and fears and hopes and dreams, and chances are, they aren’t so different from you if you can get past some ideology.

With your spouse, this is the person you married! You already know that there’s so much more to them than these political ideas – so don’t let disagreement cloud your judgment of their character.

4. Make Discussion a Couple’s Activity

If you both feel very passionately about the topics you disagree on, and have plenty to say about them… Make it a date! Maybe it’s not the most romantic way to spend your time together, but it will bring you closer together – IF you make it a civil, educational discussion, with the intent to learn more about each other.

If you can’t seem to stop bringing this stuff up, set aside a time to really dig into it. It could be over a meal or a drink, but like any other time you dedicate to one another, make sure you’re away from distractions and can give each other your full attention.

5. Designate a “No Politics” Zone

Maybe it’s part of the house (or the whole thing) or certain times of day… But if the political disagreements are getting out of control, set some ground rules to keep yourselves from falling into it too much. If you can both agree to this, it will be easy enough to offer each other a quick reminder – and stop a brewing argument in its tracks.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever talk about it, but you can save yourself the ongoing debate by establishing a “no politics” zone at the dinner table, in the bedroom – wherever and whenever you need a break!

You and your spouse may never fully agree on politics – but that’s ok! With these tips, you can ease some of the tension, and hopefully find some ways to learn from each other, expand your own understanding, and practice your patience in the face of differing ideology. Good luck!

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

The healing process after an affair is often very slow and very painful. Trust has been broken, emotions are running extremely high, and there’s often doubt that the marriage can ever survive such a blow.

If you’ve made it to the healing stage (whatever that means for you), it means you’ve at least acknowledged that the affair happened, and have decided to try to get things back on track.

Congratulations! That’s a HUGE first step. It means that you’ve decided the marriage is worth saving, that the affair doesn’t instantly mean that the marriage is over, and that there’s still enough of a connection between the two of you to make it work.

So – assuming you’ve made those difficult decisions already – moving forward is going to be a rough road. You’ll have to face up to some very painful truths, dig into the dynamics of the relationship you’ve created, and work toward forgiveness. Today, we’re covering some facts that can help.

These facts might not necessarily make you feel better, but if you know these things going in, perhaps you’ll face fewer surprises, be in more control of your emotions, and be able to approach solutions more rationally.

There are steps to take that will help you heal after an affair.

There are steps to take that will help you heal after an affair.

This might not be pretty, but they are essential to understand as you work through the aftermath of an affair.

1. Your Spouse Is A Liar… And They Can’t Prove Otherwise

At some point during an affair, your spouse lied to you. Maybe it was to cover their tracks, maybe it was to “protect” you, maybe it was something more serious – one way or another, though, no affair can take place without a certain amount of dishonesty.

Unfortunately, that means that you can’t really trust what they say, no matter what promises they make. That is, you can’t trust them UNTIL YOU CHOOSE TO.
No amount of begging, pleading, promising, or “proving themselves” will solve the problem entirely. You have to choose to reinvest your trust. They can’t convince you – they can only help make your choice easier. Trust is generally earned through actions, and your spouse’s actions have betrayed your trust. It’s going to take time to rebuild it, and it’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.

2. Details Hurt

You may think you want to know all the gory details, but if the emotional wound is still fresh… You don’t.
The specifics of when it started, where things happened, and even what happened won’t do much but give you more to think about, more to feel hurt about, and more to demonize your spouse over. The more you know, the more you’ll have to forgive.

Now, if you still want to know the ugly details after some time has gone by, after you’ve patched things up, then you have every right to ask – but understand that it won’t make you feel any better. It might even be a good idea to only bring up such questions when see a counselor or in some kind of mediated conversation. Dredging up the details can send you spiraling back into pain and distrust, even if the affair is long over.

3. Your Spouse Is The Source Of Your Pain

As tough as it is to admit – it’s true. Your spouse is the one who wronged you, and right now, they are the source of all the hurt you’re going through. This is important to understand because it helps you shift away from blaming yourself, searching for outside “reasons,” or making excuses for them.
Also, once you internalize that they are the source of the pain, you can take the necessary space to think long and hard about rebuilding trust with them. You won’t be tempted to fall back into old patterns right away.

4. You Can Still Make It Work

In the worst moments, this may be another fact that’s extremely hard to accept, but it’s true! You can still make your marriage work – it will just take time and effort.

Your marriage isn’t over unless you decide it is. You can find ways to forgive your spouse, reconnect emotionally, and move forward. The key is to recognize that your OLD marriage wasn’t a relationship that worked, but that you can embark on a NEW marriage with the person you’re already married to. You have to put the past behind you, own up to faults, and agree to start fresh. It won’t be easy, but it IS possible.

5. You Likely Can’t Do It Alone

When your spouse cheats on you, the emotional impact is devastating. In the face of such hurt, it’s difficult to make rational decisions, to communicate effectively, to even be in the same room as your unfaithful spouse…

Your judgment is clouded, you might be acting out of hurt or anger, and you can only see the situation from your own subjective position. With some professional help, though, you can understand the whole issue in a little more context, understand the conditions in your marriage that led to the affair, learn about forgiveness, and hopefully get some of those emotionally charged thoughts and actions under control.

A properly trained third party can make all the difference in getting you and your spouse talking again, helping you avoid destructive conflict, and teaching you tactics for rebuilding the damaged connection.

Our How To Survive An Affair video series is a great place to start!

It will likely be a slow process, but armed with the right attitudes and a commitment to one another, you and your spouse can rebuild your marriage after an affair. In fact, your “new” marriage can be stronger and healthier than the old one ever was! Get to work, be strong, and rebuild your relationship into the marriage you’ve always wanted!

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