In the first entry of this series, we looked at 6 big mistakes you could be making in your marriage that are driving your husband away. Today, we’ll continue with 6 more - and these are just as important!

It’s critical that you be aware of these things - even if they aren’t currently happening in your relationship, you’ll be able to recognize them if they begin to occur.

As we mentioned in Part 1, these are framed as specific to husbands, but many of these problems are universal, and whether you’re a man or a woman, you should be on the lookout for making these big mistakes in your marriage.

Without further ado, here’s Part 2 or Fatal Marriage Mistakes:

1. You Don’t Express Attraction

Vain or not, we all like to know when people find us attractive - yes, even men! Feeling desirable has a way of reinforcing our behavior as a lover. When we feel attractive and sexy, we behave that way, which only makes us more attractive to our partner, and on and on…

Don't make these fatal marriage mistakes!

Don't make these fatal marriage mistakes!

The problem, however, is that over time, couples can become complacent, settle into habits, and stop expressing how attractive they find their spouse. For husbands, who aren’t subjected to the same social beauty standards as their wives, outward appearances may not be a very primary concern - yet a compliment in that department can be a huge boost to self-esteem!

If you think he looks good, let him know! If you aren’t at least mentioning it from time to time, he may assume you’ve lost interest.

2. You’re Keeping Score

He may rely on your memory and your organizational skills, but if he feels like you’re keeping score in the relationship, holding onto grudges, or overly concerned with “who did what” in your work and social circles (in a negative way), it becomes a little exhausting. Part of this is just a simple difference in the way men and women communicate, but if you’re focusing on the negatives (and keeping careful track of every perceived slight against you), it’s going to come off as “catty” - as terrible as that sounds.

Too much negativity and tit-for-tat thinking makes the relationship seem inflexible and under constant threat of negativity. It makes it appear like you’re looking to be offended, and that makes him feel like he has to watch his every step.

Additionally, because men often like to be problem solvers - if your problems with other people seem perpetual, and there isn’t anything he can do to help solve them, it can make him feel powerless.

3. He Feels Belittled

When you talk to your husband, even when it’s about problems in the relationship or something he’s done that upsets you, is your tone one of concern and communication, or one of authority and demanding? Or, when you’re having a disagreement, do you focus on the topic at hand or say things that attack his character and sense of self worth?

Men can be prideful (which isn’t always a good thing), and when you belittle him, it hurts. When you talk to him like you’re the boss and he’s an idiot, it either makes him feel inferior, or makes him want to retaliate. When you bring up all of his shortcomings during unrelated arguments, you’re putting a dent in his self-esteem.

If he doesn’t feel proud of who he is when he’s around you, he likely won’t want to be around you. It’s as simple as that.

4. You Disrespect Him

Similar to the entry above, but maybe more “public facing” - if you’re talking down to him in front of other people, especially his friends and family, it’s going to build a serious level of resentment. In these situations, he’s either going to get angry or, perhaps worse, shut down completely and take the abuse, feeling weak and emasculated. Both make for an unhealthy emotional state that certainly won’t yield any positive results for your marriage.

There isn’t much more to say on this point. Be respectful of one another, and treat him the way you’d expect to be treated.

5. He’s Not A Priority

Marriage is about committing to one another, and making the person you’ve chosen to be your partner a top priority. If he’s not a priority in your life, it’s pretty easy for him to tell. It shows in all kinds of ways, from the attention you give him in the average conversation to including him in your plans, from your concern with his wellbeing to your basic interest in his friends and hobbies…

You don’t have to know every detail, or make your entire life center around his, but taking the time (and putting in the effort) to show him that he’s an important, essential part of your life will help him feel committed to the relationship - and do the same for you.

6. You Judge Him

It’s one thing to help each other recognize mistakes - it’s another thing entirely to make broad assumptions or unnecessarily harsh criticisms in the face of a minor transgression or an honest screw up.

The same is true when he opens up to you - if you scoff at his feelings or make light of his problems, if you cast of his troubles as weakness or make remarks about his character… He’ll start to feel like he can’t say or do anything around you. He’ll shut you out, stop trusting you, and ultimately distance himself from the relationship.

These aren’t the only mistakes you can make, that’s for sure - but they are some of the most major (and most common) problems that go overlooked, and cause men to withdraw from their wives. He may act tough (and he is!), but how you treat him has a major effect on how he feels about himself and the marriage. Avoid these mistakes by being aware of your own behaviors, thinking about how you like to be treated, and making your “default setting” one of kindness and support!

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

Before we even dig into this two part series on fatal marriage mistakes, it’s important to make something perfectly clear: we are NOT assuming that all men (or even all people) are the same. Each and every one of us is going to have a different set of needs and desires, hot buttons that upset us, and give different levels of importance to the whole spectrum of topics that can make or break marriages…

That said, we want to focus on some typical male characteristics that many husbands display - and many wives overlook - to warn you about some of things you may be doing (or not doing) that unintentionally drive him away. Men can be notoriously bad communicators, and even though some of them are more open than others, it’s enough of a trend to be concerned about potentially unspoken problems in your relationship.

It’s also worth noting that many of these points are universal - and not JUST things women do that drive their husbands away. Whether you’re male or female, be aware of these serious mistakes that could be doing damage to your marriage - but ladies, pay extra close attention.

Be on the lookout for these potentially “fatal” marriage mistakes:

1. At Odds With His Family

This, of course, will depend on the nature of his relationship with his parents, siblings, and extended family - but if you’re at odds with (or bad mouthing) his family members, he’s likely going to harbor some resentment, even if he doesn’t say anything.

Don't make these fatal marriage mistakes!

Don't make these fatal marriage mistakes!

It puts him in a tough position of feeling like he has to choose sides in a conflict, or at the very least, act as a buffer between you and the family member(s) you have a problem with. To say the least, this can be exhausting. If he has a good rapport with his family, he wants you to too.

If you don’t get along with his family members, he might be hesitant to go to family gatherings, feel on edge when you’re in a room with them, and so on. All of this will chip away at the closeness he feels with you. You don’t have to love them as your own (and there’s no telling what kind of people they might be), but avoid being overtly critical and do your best to keep the peace. You risk alienating him if you don’t.

2. You’re Too Needy

While many men like to feel like providers and protectors, there’s a point where it becomes too much, and crosses over into the territory of annoyance and feeling like a burden. Even if he’s an action-oriented, decisive, “leader” kind of man, he still wants you to be able to hold your own.
If he’s constantly stopping what he’s doing to help you, making the vast majority of the decisions for you family, responding to your calls and text constantly throughout the day (and it feels like a chore), he may begin to resent just how much you seem to “need” him.

This one is something of a balancing act, and will depend a great deal on your husband’s personality. However, nearly every man will have a balancing point of feeling like he’s adding value to your life… Somewhere between you dismissing his help entirely and relying on him for every little thing.

Pay attention to his body language. If he seems exasperated or annoyed when you call him for the third time that day or ask him to solve a problem for you, you might be acting too needy.

3. He Can’t Be Himself

If he feels like he has to stifle his personality around you - or worse, if you specifically ask him to - that’s a BIG problem. This could be anything from pursuing his interests to the way he likes to dress, his sense of humor to the people he spends time with… If he feels under scrutiny for his choices, that feels like control, not a relationship. If he feels like he’s walking on eggshells and can’t say what he thinks or feels, or he has to regularly stop himself from doing what he wants to do, it will build a rift in the relationship that is extremely difficult to come back from.

Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t speak up if he’s being destructive or unsafe, or that you have to sit idly by while he does “whatever he wants” (in a way that hurts you) - but be reasonable here. He’s going to have his own interests and personality, and trying to squeeze him into a box of exactly how you want him to be is a sure fire way to force him into breaking out of whatever parameters you’ve set.

4. You Don’t Appreciate Him

Feeling useful, appreciated, and perhaps most importantly, not taken for granted is paramount for many men in a marriage. He wants to know that he is loved, that you recognize what he brings to the relationship and the life you share, and that you aren’t just expecting him to do things as a matter of course - that you’re thankful for his contributions.

You don’t need to dote on him with praise every day, but if you’ve all but stopped thanking him for help around the house, don’t seem concerned with his thoughts and feelings, or voice your expectations more like demands, he might start to feel like you don’t need (or want) him around…

5. He Doesn’t Feel Good About Himself Around You

Whether or not they express it, many men see marriage (and the company of the woman they love) as a sanctuary - a safe, comfortable place away from their professional and social lives where they can relax, be vulnerable, and stop thinking about the pressures of the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, this feeling can come crashing down if his home life is fraught with criticism. If he feels on edge, that you’re scrutinizing his every move, that he’s going to come home to negativity or hostility… That idea of “sanctuary” is all but shattered.

He may be more sensitive to these kinds of things than you think, especially after a long day of work. You should be building each other up, not tearing each other down - and for men in particular, those knocks at his confidence and self-esteem stack up. Instead of feeling warm and fuzzy when he’s around you, he’ll start to feel like the person he thinks you see. Consciously or not, he’ll equate feeling bad about himself with being around you - and that does not bode well for your marriage.

6. You Don’t Care About Your Appearance

This can be a bit of a touchy subject, so let’s clear the air right away: this DOES NOT mean you have be finely dressed at every moment, that you need to always have your makeup done, that you can’t let him see you in grubby clothes or with bags under your eyes…

He doesn’t expect you to be a supermodel, he doesn’t expect you to perfect… He just wants you to care about how you look because he does. When you put in some effort, from getting dolled up on a special occasion, taking an interest in diet and exercise to stay fit, or surprising him with a special outfit in the bedroom, it feels (to him) like a you’re doing it for him (and maybe you are!).

Most men can’t help but be visual creatures, and physical attraction is just part of their biology. When you care about your appearance, he feels like you’re making an extra effort for his benefit. It makes him feel sexy and important that you want to look your best for him!

The opposite is also true, unfortunately, even if it isn’t intentional. If you aren’t making any efforts to maintain your appearance, he may start to interpret it as a lack of interest in him, or that you don’t care about his perception of you. Surely there’s a balance to be found, and every marriage will be a little bit different… But you’d be surprised how far a little bit of effort in this department goes!

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at another 6 mistakes that can have devastating consequences for your marriage. Until next time, keep these things in mind, talk to each other, and work together to build a better, stronger marriage!

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

We all know that it takes a concerted effort on both people’s part to keep a marriage healthy and strong. We know that spending time together is important, the communication is critical, and that patience and kindness are virtues essential to a happy relationship....

But there are plenty of other little things that go into keeping each other happy, and because men and women often have pretty different psychology, each of you are going to have different subtleties that make you feel connected.

Spend some quality time with your wife to help make her feel loved!

Spend some quality time with your wife to help make her feel loved!

Here are a few ways to make sure your wife feels loved and appreciated, and in turn, happy and and engaged in your marriage:

1. Top Priority

Everyone wants to feel important. When you agree to get married, you are saying to one another: “I choose you to be my partner, my number one” - but unfortunately, many of us lose sight of the promise as the years go by. Eventually, we’re only half paying attention to what she says, choosing other projects over spending time together, and so on. This is NOT a good way to keep your marriage intact.

To make her feel loved, make her your top priority! This doesn’t mean you have to give up everything else, just that you make the effort to choose her first! Her happiness and wellbeing should be a primary concern - more than your friends, your mom, your job, your hobbies. Each day, make the effort to maker HER life better, and ideally, she’ll be doing the same for you!

2. Eye Contact

Communication is paramount in relationships of all kinds, but in a loving, romantic relationship, it’s not enough to just speak and listen. To have a serious impact, to let her know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re listening and that you care: look her in the eye!

Eye contact is incredibly powerful, and lets your wife know that you’re not just listening, but actively taking in what she has to say, paying attention to her expressions and body language, and are fully engaged in the conversation.

It may seem like a minor thing, but the importance of eye contact cannot be overstated. It shows a level of attentiveness and intention that can’t be achieved any other way.

3. Compliments

Just as people like to feel important, they also love to feel good about themselves. So many of us are self-conscious, struggle with confidence, etc., and sometimes a simple compliment can be just what we need to brighten our spirits and boost self-esteem.

Whenever you can, compliment your wife! Tell her she’s beautiful, let her know how much you appreciate her efforts around the house, tell her she’s a great mother, anything! Don’t just offer up hollow praise, though - make it specific to her, be genuine, and don’t just focus on physical appearance. What about her values or personality do you love?

Let her know!

4. Support

As part of those differences between men and women, the idea of support from a spouse takes different forms. For women especially, it’s important to feel heard. They don’t necessarily need you to solve all of their problems (a mistake men commonly make), they just want your support and empathy.

She wants to tell you how she feels, and by just letting her vent, you’re being an important source of support. When she’s upset (even mildly), you can be the pillar she leans on - and that simple fact will mean the world to her.

5. Affection

What better way to show love that acts of affection! Hugs and kisses, holding hands, a gentle touch or a passionate embrace - it all shows how attracted to her you are, how you want to connect physically, and that you enjoy closeness with her. All of that adds up to her feeling loved, attractive, protected, and cherished.

It can be the smallest thing, like a soft caress on her face as you both wake up in the morning, and it will mean the world to her. Don’t just tell her you love her, show her!

All of these things are relatively small and easy to do - you just have to put in the effort. Taking steps to make your wife feel loved and appreciated will put her in a better overall mood and make her feel more connected to the marriage - which likely means she’ll put forth more effort to make you feel loved and appreciated… And the cycle will continue on, strengthening your marriage every step of the way!

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

We’re all busy. From kids to jobs, hobbies to projects around the house… Friends, family, church, school, chores… There’s always plenty to do, right? And when you get around to some time to relax, you’re almost too burned out to do much but sit and catch your breath.

Busy or not, though, we make choices every day to spend time on the things that we deem important - and shouldn’t your marriage be one of those things?

Far too many couples settle into just getting through day-to-day life without dedicating time and energy to the relationship they share, and ultimately pay the price as they focus too much on “responsibilities” and not enough on each other.

It's ok to get away from everyday life for a little while to help your marriage.

It's ok to get away from everyday life for a little while to help your marriage.

When was the last time you and your spouse spent an entire weekend together? This means away from kids, away from work, away from all the things that would pull you back into your daily routine… Can you say that, any time within the last year, you’ve set aside a full 48 hours to focus on each other, to spend quality time, and grow your connection?

If you haven’t, it’s time to start rethinking some priorities. We say time and time again that quality time together is an essential part of any strong marriage, but even if you’re getting in a date night each week or finding some time to enjoy together first thing in the morning, there is tremendous value in “getting away” every once in a while.

It’s one thing to plan a date, enjoy it, and come right back to “real life” in time to pay the babysitter or get ready for work the next morning - but it’s another thing entirely to take a vacation, a camping trip, or something of the sort. Imagine a “date night” that didn’t have to adhere to any kind of schedule, allowing you and your spouse to talk the night away, romp around in the bedroom all evening, enjoy a breakfast in bed, sleep in… Whatever you like!

When you truly step away from your “normal responsibilities” with the intention of spending quality time with your spouse, you can laugh and love with one another without even thinking about work, bills, or any of the other things that can take your attention away from each other.

It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, either. The only thing that really matters is that the two of you seclude yourselves and dedicate the time you share to each other. If this is your chance to discuss some problems you’ve been facing, so be it. If it’s all fun and games, that’s great too!

It should be a time of safety, intimacy, and openness with one another, with the sole goal of returning home a stronger couple than when you left.

We recommend that couples shoot for this kind of weekend “date” at least a couple of times a year. It can be tough - due to all of those responsibilities you need escaping from sometimes - but it’s more than worth the trouble. Even if it means forking out some money for a hotel or childcare, missing some other event you wanted to go to, or putting in some extra hours at work to be able to take off for a weekend… Again, it’s all worth it. Just a couple days of you and your spouse together, away from the rest of the world, will grow your connection so much more than dozens of date nights mired by distractions or looming responsibilities.

Now, if you decide to indulge in a weekend getaway, make sure you aren’t taking extra baggage with you. Leave work at work. Don’t bring other things to distract yourself with. Put down your phone. Ignore the sports game. Whatever you have to do - make sure your attention is solely on your spouse.

Make the effort to plan a getaway with your husband or wife, and start a tradition to “check out” a couple of times a year. Start planning right away!

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

Sometimes a little inspiration can be exactly the push we need to reevaluate our own lives, to look at what we have with gratitude, and to rekindle our passion for making life the best it can be.

This type of inspiration is even more powerful when it comes from real world examples, not just fiction. A recent documentary titled My Love, Don’t Cross That River is a shining example of just that. The film covers 15 months of day-to-day life for a South Korean couple that has been married for 76 years.

My Love, Don't Cross That River

My Love, Don't Cross That River

Created by director Jin Mo-young, this moving, poetic piece of cinema follows husband Jo Byong-man, 98 years old, and his wife Kang Gye-yeul, 89 years old, through their quiet life in Gangwon Province in South Korea. The couple shares household responsibilities in their modest home, gathering firewood, preparing meals, and tending to their dogs – and they do it all together, with a palpable sense of playfulness and love.

The documentary is truly heart wrenching, as you watch Jin’s declining health and labored breathing, but also truly inspiring. Even after 76 years of marriage, these two are playful and affectionate, tossing leaves and snow at one another jokingly, even dressing in similar colors.

It’s a look back at a very different time in history, when people wed young and many children were common - they had 12 children, but 6 of them died of measles. The couple confronts old age and failing bodies, their extended family, and the looming reality of Jo’s death… And all the while, they are happy, connected, and even to the outside observer, very much in love.

This is a beautiful depiction of how strong a marriage can truly be – a connection that lasts a lifetime, through pain and joy alike, through all the ups and downs life has to offer.

The winner of several awards, and critically acclaimed across multiple countries, My Love, Don’t Cross That River will fill your heart with the possibilities your marriage holds, inspire you to grow the connection you have with your spouse, and fill you with quiet admiration for this adorable, aging couple. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

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

Known for his iconic role as Breaking Bad’s Walter White, as well as the goofy dad on Malcolm In The Middle, actor Brian Cranston has become a recognizable face and household name over the last several years. Even with his relatively recent explosion of success, Brian has been a Hollywood player for the last few decades, with a range of movie and TV roles before his breakout role in Malcolm and incredible success with Breaking Bad.

In fact, a TV role some 30 years ago led to a fateful encounter - meeting Robin Dearden, the woman who would become his wife just a few short years later! In a bit part on the show Airwolf, Brian actually played a criminal holding his future wife’s character hostage! When they met, he had a gun to her head!

...Not exactly the most romantic beginning, but when the pair met, they immediately knew there was a connection. They were both seeing other people at the time, but tell interviewers that the sparks were undeniable. Robin says, of their first encounter, “...he was the funniest man I ever met.”

Brian Cranston and his wife, Robin Dearden.

Brian Cranston and his wife, Robin Dearden.

Even though they were both taken at the time, they obviously saw something special in one another. They parted ways after filming their episode of Airwolf, and when they crossed paths again about a year later (this time, both single), they immediately hit it off - picking up where they’d left off. The two started dating, and were married in 1989.

With 27 years of marriage under their belt, they are another exception to the typical pattern of Hollywood’s short-lived marriages and high profile divorces. So what makes their marriage different?

As far as we can tell, there are two major factors that have led to such a long and successful marriage. The first, of course, is a sense of humor. Brian is a notoriously funny guy, and his humorous nature is part of what made him so memorable to Robin after they met. The two regularly make each other laugh, and that lighthearted outlook likely helps them laugh off minor problems as well.

The other major factor is keeping their personal business out of the media. Sure, you may see them on the red carpet together or hear stories of their daughter Taylor getting into acting, but they aren’t plastered across the tabloids or getting involved in high-profile dramatics. They keep their marriage between the two of them, and they are probably stronger for it.

The takeaways here are exactly those two elements of marriage - a sense of humor and a sense of privacy. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourselves, to not take everything so seriously, and to roll with the punches when things get tough. It’s also a good idea to keep your personal matters personal - you don’t have to tell everyone about every little problem. In many cases, you end up getting biased advice and misinformation that won’t help you in the long run - not to mention the gossip or drama you may stir up among your friends and family.

Take a cue from Brian and Robin - keep your marriage relatively private, and make sure you maintain your sense of humor, especially with each other.

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

Everyone cultivates different types of relationships with the people around them. Some people maintain huge social circles and keep in close contact with them all. Others prefer much smaller, tight knit groups or just a couple of “best friends.” Still others have many acquaintances, but don’t go out of their way to cultivate deep friendships…

But what about people who don’t seem to do any of those things? What about the people who don’t seem to have any friends at all?

Well, the short answer is that it depends on how that person feels about it… Some people are extremely introverted and don’t much mind their mostly solo lifestyle, but it may also be a sign of other, deeper problems. Worse, it can have a seriously negative impact on your marriage if a lack of friends isn’t intentional.

Before we get any further into this, let’s imagine a scenario that may be all too familiar:

Picture an average couple, let’s call them Joe and Jane. Joe and Jane are very much in love, with a relatively stable life and happy marriage. Joe loves to spend time with Jane, and Jane loves to spend time with Joe… The problem is, Jane also loves to spend time with her friends, and Joe doesn’t really have any.

If Jane wants to spend time with her friends, Joe either comes along (not an ideal scenario for Jane, who needs to enjoy her freedom and connect with people other than Joe to feel fulfilled), or he stays home by himself (which he does not enjoy - he wants to be with Jane).

It could be hard telling your spouse they need to seek outside friends.

It could be hard telling your spouse they need to seek outside friends.

Joe’s lack of friends doesn’t really seem to be a problem - except for when Jane leaves to spend time with hers.

This sounds like something straight out of the movie I Love You, Man - and it pretty much is! Unfortunately, though, this isn’t a Hollywood romantic comedy, and a husband without his own social circle can lead to some problems in “real life” marriages.

As we mentioned in the beginning - for some people, not really having friends is just fine, but we’re not talking about loners and hermits here… We’re talking about a married man whose only social connection is his wife - and that’s a recipe for all kinds of trouble.

Jealousy and Control
The largest - and most common - problem in this kind of situation comes in the form of jealousy, possessiveness, and other attempts at controlling behavior. He feels abandoned when you go to spend time with your friends, left behind with no one to connect with…

Knowing that you’re out having a good time while he’s sulking at home makes him feel envious of those connections, even if he doesn’t seem to want to build any of his own. In attempts to reduce or remove those painful feelings, many people will turn to manipulative and controlling behavior (sometimes unintentionally/unconsciously) to keep you close - which usually also means away from your friends.

Behind The Behavior
Any time jealousy becomes an issue in a marriage, that’s a big red flag that there are some underlying problems going on. Coupled with a spouse with no friends to speak of, this can be a glimpse at the real roots of both issues.

Jealousy and control are often masks for insecurity, and it may be the very same insecurity that keeps a husband like Joe from making friends, or even feeling confident enough to connect with strangers at all. Insecurity can also be a driving force behind obsessive codependence - that need to be together all the time.

The insecurities could stem from nearly anything, and each person is different, of course. It could be the feeling that no one likes him, self consciousness about appearance, general and social anxiety, or any number of “source issues.”

The point is that insecurity takes many forms, and even if your spouse doesn’t recognize it, it’s likely at the root of their problems. Even for the people who act stoic and “don’t want any friends,” there may be more at play under the surface. They may have given up on forming new connections with people, they may be afraid of opening themselves up to others, or even have painful memories of losing friends or alienating people in the past.

All of these things can stack up, and make it very difficult to form friendships - or even see the need to. It may be “normal” for your spouse… But it isn’t healthy.

What To Do
This isn’t the movies… It’s not going to just be as easy as telling your husband to go out and find friends - even though that’s exactly what you ultimately want to happen. For the underlying reasons mentioned above, such a suggestion is likely to be met with resistance, so it’s better to approach the topic gently.

Instead of accusing your spouse of “having no friends,” ask them questions about why they choose to isolate themselves, talk about the importance of your own social relationships, and eventually (maybe not the first time you talk about it), try to uncover some of the insecurities or fears that are holding them back.

Depending on the nature of the problems, and especially if severe anxiety is a driving force, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional counselor.

Now, assuming you can get past the “why” part of this problem, helping your spouse see that it’s important to be two fully developed individuals in the marriage (not detrimentally codependent), the challenge still remains: how can your husband make friends?

It’s not quite like the days on the schoolyard, and the older you get, the more closed off and set in their ways people tend to be - making it harder and harder to forge new connections or be accepted by an existing social group. Just like the those days in school, though, friendships most often form around similar interests.

So, the logical step is for your husband to identify his favorite things to do and talk about, and seek out communities related to them. Online is a great place to start - but it can’t end there. After searching for a book club, a musical gathering, a cooking class, a pick-up sports group (or whatever strikes his fancy), the critical part is actually getting out of the house to attend these gatherings…

It might not be easy for him to do, but even facing up the pressure of an unknown social situation can, in hindsight, be a victory that inspires him to carve out his own identity and social scene. Help him find a group he likes and encourage him to keep going, to interact with people, to be open to the idea of forming friendships.

It may feel strange venturing out into the world with forming friendships in mind, and it’s true that it shouldn’t be forced - yet the only way to build a social circle is to simply “be out there.” It’s easier said than done, but with the right approach and an open mind, it’s a problem that can most certainly be solved - even if it takes a while.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be spending time together, of course, just that when there’s a serious imbalance in your respective social lives, problems are bound to follow. It’s essential that you have both your personal identity AND the an identity as a couple. Too much individualism leads to neglect of the relationship, and too much focus on the marriage alone can make one or both members feel stifled and out of touch with their other social and family relationships.

This won’t be a quick fix, but if your husband’s lack of friends is a problem for your marriage, you can both take steps to address the root cause of the issues, address the importance of social relationships and individual identity, and make gradual progress on developing the friendships that will give him new identity and a social life all his own!

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

By now, you’ve likely settled into summer. You’re used to the warm weather (or getting used to it), the long days might not hold quite so much novelty, and you might already be wishing the kids were back in school!

There’s still plenty of summer left, though, so here are a few ideas to make the most of it with your spouse:

1. Go Swimming

Depending on where you live, this could a lake, the ocean, a river, a swimming pool… Whatever’s available to you! Swimming together is a good way to stay cool on a hot summer day, get a little bit of physical activity in, and well, a great chance to flirt while you float! Something about that buoyancy and drifting around in each other’s arms just helps you get in the mood!

Swimming is a great July date idea to get closer to your spouse!

Swimming is a great July date idea to get closer to your spouse!

2. Cidery Visit

Breweries and wineries are hugely popular nowadays, with more popping up around the country almost every day - but what about cider? Along with the explosion of microbrew popularity, handcrafted hard ciders are also becoming quite common. Look for a cider maker in your area and go take a tour! On a summer day, the sweet, crisp adult beverage is just right!

3. Go Yard Saling

Sunny days and nice weather mean that many people jump at the opportunity to have yard sales. Set aside a weekend afternoon, check listings for you area, and go browsing for treasures with your spouse! Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s an interesting way to spend time together, and you just might find that rare item you didn’t even know you wanted (probably at a low price too!).

4. Attend a Food Festival

All summer long, cities and towns across the country hold various “food festivals,” from simple street fairs to huge, multi-day events. It’s a chance to try out the local cuisine your area has to offer, support the community, and enjoy quality time together. Many of these festivals will also have live music or other entertainment as well.

5. Shoot Some Hoops

If you don’t have your own backyard or garage basketball hoop, finding one is usually as easy as going to the nearest public park. You and your spouse can shoot around, play one-on-one or “horse,” or join some others for a larger pickup game. However you choose to play, some gentle basketball is good exercise, a little friendly competition, and a way to spend quality time together in the fresh air!

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

Let’s get real for a moment - changing bodies are just a part of getting older. It happens to each and every one of us, and there isn’t much we can do about it…

And the harsh truth is that such changes are often harder on women, namely because of menopause - and the difficulties that can follow. One of the most common issues postmenopausal women face is mood swings, and if you’ve experienced them yourself, you know how frustrating (even alarming) it can be.

Even for the husbands of women going through this, the mood swings can be troublesome, potentially leading to conflict or misunderstandings when emotions are on edge. Or if he isn’t acutely aware of what’s going on, it can cause distress to see a spouse go through bouts of seemingly unprovoked stress, anger, sadness, etc. - and even make him feel like he’s the problem.

Not every woman will experience mood swings, anxiety, or depression during and after menopause, but many do - and knowing ways to combat the symptoms can do wonders for both your quality of life as an individual AND for the wellbeing of your marriage.

Here are some great ways to cope with menopause!

Here are some great ways to cope with menopause!

If you or your spouse are facing some of these challenges, here are a few things that can help:

1. Balance Your Diet

As you may well know, your diet affects just about everything about your mind and body. If you’re experiencing mood swings, try to focus on a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, good protein, whole grains, etc.

It’s also a good idea to limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol - both are known to trigger mood swings and/or increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.

2. Calcium

Calcium is important for your overall health, of course, and while many people correctly associate this nutrient with bone health, it actually has a significant impact on mental health as well.

Low levels of calcium have been shown to lead to anxiety and depression symptoms, but the opposite is also true! For people suffering from mood swings and similar issues, boosting calcium levels can reduce symptoms and decrease the frequency of flare ups.

3. Emotional Health Foods

Like the effects of calcium mentioned above, some foods (or lack thereof) can play a role in brain chemistry. Nutrients including vitamin B6, magnesium, and L-tryptophan are some of the most important.

Many protein rich foods like beans, spinach, fish, peas, and meats (especially organ meats) are excellent sources of these nutrients.

Magnesium deficiency can also exacerbate (and even cause) mood swings as well. Some excellent sources include tofu, whole grains, nuts, and leafy green veggies.

4. Professional Help

If you’re really struggling with mood and emotional wellbeing, it may be time to seek out some professional help. A therapist or counselor will likely be able to help you pinpoint your specific symptoms, and recommend approaches catered to you specifically (as opposed to general information you may find here or online).

Opening up to friends and family - especially your spouse - is also a good idea. Let the people you love know what’s going on with you, and they can be an essential support structure when you’re struggling the most.

5. Work It Out

The physical and mental benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. Even if you aren’t going to the gym every day, even if you aren’t even going for any kind of high-intensity exercise at all - every little bit counts.

Exercise can help relieve stress, elevate mood (through the release of endorphins), improve sleep, and make you healthier all around. All of those factors help stabilize emotions and reduce your chances of frequent postmenopausal mood swings.

Again, every woman is going to experience this change in her life differently, but if mood swings become a problem - or even if you (or your spouse) notices some unexplained emotional ups and downs - it is worth considering that your changing body may be the source of the problems.

If you think this is happening to you, take the steps you can to reduce the symptoms. You’ll be happier and more stable for it, and your marriage will be stronger for it as well.

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

Everyone has a different level of cleanliness they deem “acceptable” or “ideal.” Because of this simple fact, cohabitating can be tough from the get go. Add another layer like romance and marriage, and the state of the home can become a point of serious contention.

Now, this gets even more problematic when expectations are unclear, schedules are different, and one member (or both) of the couple isn’t speaking up about how they view the situation. The more extreme the divide in day-to-day responsibilities, the more upset people tend to be when they feel like their spouse isn’t “pulling their weight” around the house.

Is your spouse terrible at housekeeping?

Is your spouse terrible at housekeeping?

Let’s take a look at once such scenario:

Jack is 40 years old, with a demanding job as a supervisor in the manufacturing sector. He makes a great income, but often works 50+ hours a week and comes home physically and mentally exhausted almost every day.

When Jack got his promotion, he and his wife Tina decided that she would stay at home with their two kids, allowing her to quit her stressful job, spend more time with the little ones, and save money on childcare.

The couple shares many of the same interests, has had a fairly good sex life, and enjoys a “date night” together once a week. They’ve had some troubles with communication in the past, mostly because Jack tends to keep quiet about the things that bother him, and Tina tends to take offense quickly when she encounters criticism.

...But here’s the big problem: before Jack took his promotion, he liked to keep the house as clean as he could (he’s an orderly person), and because Tina was working too, he took many of the responsibilities upon himself. The kids were younger, things were generally messier, and he learned to live with a level of clutter just a little bit beyond his preference.

However, now that he has less time at home and Tina’s there all day, things are even worse! She got used to the amount of work he put in, and hasn’t taken on any “new” responsibilities herself! She doesn’t even notice the problem, but Jack sure does…

So, what can they do? You can imagine how the situation pans out:

Jack comes home feeling beat, and to him, the house is a mess. All he can think about is Tina spending her day at home, and all the things she DIDN’T do. Of course, Tina spent all day at home doing things, taking care of kids, and from her perspective, she’s done plenty and the house looks fine…

If Jack says something about it, Tina feels attacked. If he doesn’t, the state of the house continues to bug him, and burying that kind of stress only results in a larger blowup down the road. It’s an argument waiting to happen - or happening way too often.

But how can such fights be avoided? In a word: communication.

Talking about this issue needs to take place at the right time - NOT when Jack is first getting home and at the peak of his exhaustion and frustration. Instead, couples facing this scenario should find a nice neutral time to get on the same page.

And this doesn’t mean just attacking your spouse or accusing them of never doing anything around the house…

Your discussion should focus on “division of labor.”

Each of you can make a list of the various chores and household responsibilities that you can think, then compare and combine to make as complete a list as possible, and get to work on hashing out who is supposed to do what - and how often.

It may sound a bit too structured, but if you think about it like a budget (something you can turn to when things start to fall off the rails), then a simple document of “who does what” can save you a ton of trouble in the long run.

Now, there are going to be things that both of you hate to do, as well as things that you don’t mind so much - use this to your advantage! Figure out who’s willing to do which chores. While you’ll likely end up with a few you don’t care for, hopefully you can pick and choose the workload that’s best for you. It has to get done, after all.

Additionally, you and your spouse can try to find a middle ground for the overall state of the house. Do you have pet peeves (like laundry left out or unrinsed dishes) that make you feel like the entire house is in disarray? These are the areas to focus on first. Maybe you don’t mind the clutter in the living room, as long as the dishes are done. Every couple will be unique in this, but if you can understand each other’s hot buttons, it will become less and less of an issue.

Now, Jack and Tina are a fairly mild example. You may be extremely frustrated with a spouse who truly does nothing to help keep the house clean - but the same approach still applies, and so does the idea of having the conversation at the right time, and in a nonconfrontational way.

The whole point is to lay out expectations clearly, and stick with a plan to avoid conflict.

You may have to make some concessions to find a middle ground you’re both happy with, and it may take some time developing a new routine - but if it goes unaddressed, your spouse will continue their behavior and you’ll continue to be upset by it. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Jack and Tina didn’t see eye to eye, but after taking a Saturday afternoon to sit down and discuss, they came to realize that they simply misunderstood each other.

Jack was underestimating (and overlooking) the majority of Tina’s household contributions, only seeing the things left undone. Tina was underestimating how hard Jack as working outside of the house, expecting him to still do all of things he had been when they were both working, and didn’t have a clear understanding of Jack’s preferences - only her own. Of course, Jack didn’t understand his wife’s preferences either, and the misunderstanding was the root of the problem.

As with all misunderstandings, the first step to solving the problem is communication.

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