One of the main components separating a marriage from a close friendship is physical intimacy – it’s the element of romance, sex, and physical connection that makes the relationship special, and not just a mental and emotional bond that you could also share with a friend of family member.

Most of us know this to be true, and understand intuitively that sex and physical intimacy are crucial parts of a marriage. Unfortunately, though, this element of married life can sometimes fall down the ladder rungs of importance…

It’s all too common for couples to have less sex as they settle into the marriage, or even if they are still having sex, it’s not with the same passion and excitement it once had. This is perfectly natural as we become more comfortable with our spouses, as we shift our energy toward raising kids, as we age, and as we simply fill our days with more and more responsibility.

The problem, however, is that if we let sex fall off our of priority list, the other areas of the marriage can suffer too. The connections we build through physical intimacy also influence the emotional bond we share, and are a key component of a healthy, satisfying marriage.

Today, we want to cover a few ways you can bring lovemaking back into the forefront of your marriage – how you and your spouse can stay excited and passionate about each other no matter how long you’ve been together.

Now, before we get into this – if sexual problems in your marriage are the result of medical issues, consult your doctor about ways to get back into the swing of things.

For everyone else, the following tips can help you get the spark back in your marriage!

1. Unplug

One of the biggest modern culprits driving a wedge between married couples is the immediacy of our modern technology. With infinite selections on TV, the endless scroll of social media, and the simple fact that most of us have smartphones in our pockets (making us “connected” all day, every day), it can be tough to peel your eyes off the screen to see what’s right in front of you.

Don't wait to want it!

Don't wait to want it!

It distracts us, takes up our time and energy, and makes us all but ignore the people right in the same room. Such media saturation can also give people unrealistic expectations for how their spouse should look or act.

Try unplugging for a little while. Leave the TV off in the evening and put the phones away. You might be amazed how much more attracted to your spouse you’ll feel after some genuine interaction.

2. Tease and Flirt

All throughout the day, keep the sexy anticipation alive by sending each other flirty messages, by teasing each other, or by fooling around a little in the morning (but stopping before things get too serious). You can keep each other – and the things you’d like to do to each other – on your mind all day. This kind of anticipation builds desire, and makes the moments when you are finally together all the more special.

Just give it a try, and you’ll see the benefits for yourself!

3. Try Something New

We’ve all got our habits, our preferences, and our hang-ups…

But sometimes trying new things in the bedroom (or even trying another room) can be the catalyst that gets the two of you excited about your sex life again. It could be toys, positions… anything out of the ordinary. If you’re feeling embarrassed about going into that kind of store, there are plenty of online sources that will ship discrete packages!

You can start small, of course, but be open to trying new things with your spouse, and talk honestly about what you like, what you don’t, what you might be interested in trying. Chances are, you’ll find something that excites your passions and gets you more actively thinking about your sex life – and the more its on your mind, the more you’ll act on it!

4. Plan Your Time

This might not sound very romantic, but if you’re too busy, too tired at the end of the day, too worried about kids being around, etc., figuring out when you have time to get intimate might be your best solution.

Even if you just know when the best window of time will be, you’ll be more likely to anticipate that time of the day, and be raring to go when the time comes.

This doesn’t mean you have to turn your sex life into a series of carefully scheduled moments. It’s more about making the time for intimacy, and being aware of your ideal times and days – instead of being disappointed when you’re too tired at the end of the day or not being able to find the right moment.

5. Get Away

Change your scenery! Take off on a trip, go camping, stay at a local hotel for a few nights… You don’t have to break the bank, but getting out of your routine, away from kids and chores and anything else around the house that might distract you from getting intimate with your spouse, can make the whole relationship feel fresh and exciting!

You may need to incorporate a combination of these tips to get the ball rolling, but once you do, the benefits to your sex life – and really, your whole marriage – will be quite noticeable. You’ll feel more connected, more romantic, desire more closeness, and above all, your marriage will be much, much stronger!

Try these tips out right away, and watch your sex life transform for the better.

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

Every year, the 4th of July is a time for cookouts, fireworks, and fun with friends and family. In celebrating our country’s independence, we may gather around the barbecue or the pool, sharing quality time with our loved ones, but how often do we stop reflect on the larger ideas of independence and freedom?

Beyond just reflecting on our history, and what the claim of independence meant to the earliest Americans, what about independence and freedom in your own life and marriage?

A major part of our country’s founding values was the freedom to pursue personal happiness – but many of us have obstacles in our own lives that prevent us from realizing this freedom. In most cases, these obstacles are bad habits or unaddressed issues that get in the way of your ability to find day-to-day happiness.

Watch the fireworks with your spouse this 4th of July!

Watch the fireworks with your spouse this 4th of July!

In terms of your marriage, your “freedom” is restricted by anything that’s keeping you from a strong, happy relationship, whether that’s communication problems, trust issues, trouble with finances, household responsibilities – anything that “oppresses” your happiness.

In a similar vein, you can think of problems in your marriage as being restrictive to your independence as well. When you and your spouse are enjoying a happy and healthy relationship, that happiness comes from within – independent from the ups downs you may experience and unaffected by the little hiccups you may experience over the course of the marriage. If every little problem or disagreement causes a crisis, your happiness is NOT independent.

So, with 4th of July and freedom from oppression in mind, this holiday is a wonderful opportunity to find the inspiration to tackle the tough issues that are keeping your marriage from being the best it can be.

Just like the men and women who sought independence more than 200 years ago, it will take some bravery and a good deal of hard work, but you can overcome the obstacles that stand in your way to create a marriage free from bad attitudes, miscommunication, and unnecessary fights.

Just remember that Independence Day is the remembrance of a first step toward a new life and a new country. Let this rich piece of history inspire you to find freedom from arguments and the “old” way of doing things – and transform your marriage into one of happiness, independence, and lasting strength.

Happy 4th of July!

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

Concerns about infidelity plague many couples. People might be suspicious of their spouses, worry that trouble in the marriage might tempt their partner into looking elsewhere for affection, or be susceptible to falling into an affair themselves.

Because this very painful potential exists, couples often wonder what conditions might make their partner cheat, or want to know what signs to look for – to find if their spouse is cheating already.

While every couple is different, there are definitely some common symptoms that can lead to affairs. In fact, a recent study from the University of Connecticut found a surprising factor that most people will be totally unaware of. In looking at economic factors related to infidelity, professor Christin Munsch found that financially dependent spouses have a higher probability of being in an affair.

According to the research, both men and women who are economically dependent on their spouses are more likely to cheat.

For women, the study found that those who are “totally economically dependent” have a 5.2% probability of infidelity, outweighing equal income (3.4%) and breadwinners (1.5%).

Who is more likely to cheat in your marriage?

Who is more likely to cheat in your marriage?


For men, the numbers are a little more worrisome. Financially dependent men showed a 15% probability of infidelity, compared to sole breadwinners (4%) and the lowest probability for men - 2.9% likelihood if they earn around 70% of the couple’s combined income.

For a little context: as of 2011, 15% of married mothers out-earned their husbands.

It’s tough to know what to think of this study’s results. It definitely doesn’t mean that, if you’re the major breadwinner, your spouse is guaranteed to cheat. It doesn’t mean that, if you’re financially dependent on your spouse, you’re guaranteed to cheat…

It does, however, raise some interesting questions about why the numbers came out as they did. Do the financially dependent members of these marriages somehow feel less valuable in the relationship? Is there an underlying sense of inferiority there? Are these people seeking approval, power, or appreciation some place else?

This could be the case for some, but again, it’s too tough to make those kinds of broad assumptions. What these figures really tell us is that the couples experiencing a disparity in their financial contributions to the household may also have other gaps in their marriage.

A difference in income isn’t enough to drive people to infidelity, but because the factors that lead to an affair build up over time, resentment over financial disparity can certainly play a role.

If nothing else, we take this information as a reminder that marriage is a complex, nuanced thing, and that even factors we might not consider (like difference in income) can play a role in the success of our relationships. With this in mind, we can take extra efforts to further “affair-proof” our marriages by voicing any concerns or resentment we might feel, and openly communicating with our spouses to get it sorted out right away.

The best way to avoid an affair is to make the connection you share as strong as possible. This comes with communication, positive (and new) experiences, and of course, spending quality time together.

If you’re focusing on building up these practices in your marriage, and creating an environment where concerns, problems, or anything else can be openly discussed, you’re setting the stage for a virtually affair-proof marriage, where issues are resolved before they spiral out of control, and where your connection to one another is so strong, you’ll be opening up about problems long before either if you is tempted to infidelity.

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

All great relationships have one thing in common – solid communication. It is the pillar that supports marriages over the long-term, as people grow and change, as outside factors affect the relationship, as the relationship itself changes… The one thing that holds it all together is real, genuine communication.

But what, then, does real communication consist of?

Of course we know that talking is big part of it, that we should have the courage to be open and honest with our spouses, to bring up concerns even if it might mean an uncomfortable conversation, to be willing to talk about touchy subjects or share our real feelings…

That, however, is only part of the equation. The other half is the real challenge, and the most important part: listening.

We often think of communicating as sharing our own thoughts and feelings – but true communication also depends on entirely on your ability to listen, understand, and absorb what your spouse has to say. Without an effective listener, what’s the point of sharing all that intimate, personal information?

It's so important to have effective communication in your marriage!

It's so important to have effective communication in your marriage!

Being a good listener is what makes any of that talking worthwhile. It’s the act of absorbing each other’s concerns, hopes, worries, and all of that stuff – and putting that information into action – that makes communicating so important.

Even in an argument, until one of you stops and listens to what the other person has to say, you don’t get anywhere. It’s listening that makes any and all communication work. No issue can ever be resolved if you don’t understand the problem. Similarly, no great positive changes can be made if you don’t know what your spouse wants!

Now, it’s important to remember that listening to your spouse with open ears and undivided attention is not the same as agreeing with everything they have to say. You can still hold your opinions, you can still disagree, but in the spirit of real, genuine communication, you should both be listening to each other’s opinions intently, and continuing to listen to the reasoning you each present for disagreeing.

You will both feel like your opinions, memories of a particular scenario, and ideas are “right.” And to you as an individual, they are – but unless you can calmly listen to why each other feels the way they do (and why they feel “in the right”), you won’t be able to understand what aligns with your own opinions and what doesn’t. Stopping that train of “I’m right” long enough to actually absorb your spouse’s position is essential to successfully and productively resolving conflict.

Another similar scenario is when people complain that their spouse consistently dredges up the same story, that ONE time that they felt wronged in some way…

This happens because each time it comes up, they feel like they aren’t being heard – it still hurts, and until they feel like you’ve really listened and understood how they were affected, it will continue to be a sore spot.

Even for things that aren’t problems – just talks about what to have for dinner, how each other’s day went, and so on, listening is still important. In fact, it can help bring you closer together. Just the presence and attention you give your spouse by listening – not necessarily because what they have to say is important, but because the person is important – shows how much you care!

Be patient with one another, no matter what the conversation is about. Listen to what your spouse has to say, and ask that they do the same in return. Simply making the time and effort to open your ears can bring you and your spouse so much closer together. You’ll be more in tune with how each other is feeling, what might be missing from the relationship, and what’s going well!

Make a point to communicate – and make sure you’re doing it effectively. Everything else hangs in the balance.

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

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


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

Long-term relationships have a way of shaping our lives.

Some parts of this process are obvious – sharing a home with someone has an impact on the things we buy or the kind of environment we live in. Sharing our lives with a spouse can teach us the importance of compromise, help us learn to be patient, and so on…

For many married couples, the relationship simply IS the major component of their lives – as much a part of individual identity as where their from or what they do for a living.

Marriage, especially over a long period of time, can affect couples in other ways too, and most of us might not even notice it happening!

In the book Powers of Two, Author Joshua Wolf Shenk, describes way that pairs of people - not even necessarily couples - change when they spend significant time with one another over a long period of time. Based on of those traits, you can do a little evaluation of your marriage to see how connected you and your spouse really are!

Now, before we dig any further into this – don’t worry too much if these things don’t apply to your marriage. Don’t think that your relationship is doomed or not good enough… This is meant to be a fun way to see how marriage can change people. Don’t fret if it doesn’t quite describe your marriage.

To see how your marriage stacks up to Shenk’s signs of super-connected couples, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you happily married?

Are you happily married?

Part 1 

  • Do you have jokes that only you and your spouse understand?
  • Do you make jokes with each other that no one else seems to find funny?
  • Can you make a face or say just a few words, and your spouse gets exactly what joke you’re making?
  • Do you know exactly where your spouse’s ticklish spots are, or how to make them smile even when they’re having a bad day?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’ve passed part 1 of this little test – you and your spouse have the “inside joke” thing nailed, and that shows that you’ve shared positive experiences together, and that those experiences remain strong enough memories to affect your day to day marriage!

Part 2

  • Do you just say whatever comes to mind to your spouse?
  • Do you feel like you can share an unfiltered version of your opinions, concerns, hopes, and frustrations with your partner?
  • Do you speak to others, even your friends and family, with more reservations than with your spouse?
  • Do you feel like you can truly be yourself?

A “yes” to these questions means that you’re communicating without “self-censoring” – which is a strong sign that you and your spouse trust each other, even with things that you don’t feel like you can share with other people. This level of comfort only comes with time and true connection.

Part 3

  • Do you and your spouse finish each other’s sentences?
  • Do the two of you use the same terms, slang, adjectives, or expressions?
  • Do you notice yourself adopting pieces of your partner’s speech – or them adopting yours?

A series of “yes” answers here shows that you are communicating – and have been for a long time. The more we spend time together, the more we start to mimic and match each other’s speech patterns. This can include tone, word choice, even the length of pauses between words.

You’re likely unaware that you’re doing it, but if you start to look for it, you’ll notice!

Part 4

  • Do you ever notice that you and your spouse use the same body language?
  • Have you ever made the same movements as your spouse, almost at the same time?
  • Has anyone ever made the (maybe dreaded) comment that you and your spouse look alike?

“Yes” to these questions might make you feel a little concerned, but don’t be! Just like mimicking each other’s language patterns, the more time you spend together, the more likely you are to start matching physical actions as well. It could be posture, the way you walk, the way you stand when you’re deep in thought – any little muscle movement. It could even be in the way you smile.

We tend to reflect the behaviors of the people we’re closest to – a phenomenon known as “shared coordinative structure” – so if you share some characteristics, it’s just a sign that you’ve spent a lot of quality time together… And that’s a good thing!

Part 5

  • Do you have names for things or places that only you and your spouse know?
  • Can you speak to your spouse in a way that most people would just find confusing?
  • Do you have a “language” that you can consider your own?

A “yes” here shows a truly communicative and deep connection. This idea of “private language” shared between a couple helps form a shared identity with the relationship at the center. Some studies even show that the more “secret” words and phrases a couple uses, the happier they are together in the long run!

These are all signs of couples that have created and enjoy some form of combined identity. Language, mannerisms, etc. are all surface products of a truly deep connection, and indicate not only a long time spent together, but time spent together becoming closer and closer.

If these things aren’t present in your relationship, don’t fret! Every last trait listed here comes from communication and quality time spent together. You can set your marriage on the path to this kind of strength – you just have to build the connection!

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’ve said it before, but because so many people still struggle, it bears repeating: money is one of the top reasons couples fight. Financial concerns are simply embedded in our culture – as that old line from Cabaret goes, “money makes the world go round.”

This simple fact has a tendency of keeping people on edge – and makes sharing finances particularly difficult. Everyone (from the wealthiest to the most modest means) is well aware of how much they’re making, how much they’re spending, and which elements of either of those numbers they aren’t very happy with.

When you combine finances, as most married couples do, suddenly you’ve got two people’s opinions, two people’s expenses, and more often than not, two people’s incomes thrown into the mix. It’s pretty easy to see where disagreements could crop up!

When you face these kinds of challenges, there’s really only one solution: developing a budget – and sticking to it!

The root of so many money arguments is a disagreement over where (and how much) money is being spent. Almost nobody fights over the fact that the mortgage has to be paid, or that you have to put food on the table. Couples do fight, however, over where to set the heat/AC or what kind of food to buy – but they’re really arguing over how much is being spent.

Similarly, couples don’t really fight about wanting to go out to dinner occasionally, or about the fact that we have to buy clothes to cover our bodies – they fight about how much those things cost and how frequently they happen. It all boils down to a genuine difference of opinion about what’s important, what’s extraneous, and what’s worth spending your hard-earned dollars on.

Keeping to a budget can really help your marriage!

Keeping to a budget can really help your marriage!

A budget – if you’re willing to make some tough decisions and stick with them – can make these problems all but disappear.

The process isn’t terribly complicated – it’s really just running the numbers. First, figure out your income, then write down all of your truly essential expenses and tally them up. By “essential,” we mean those things that are necessary/obligated like house payments, loans, car payments, average utility costs, childcare, etc. These are things you pay for month after month with little or no room for change.

Next, look at the flexible (but still important) expenses like food, “luxury” utilities like TV, internet, phone plans, etc. They may be more or less “essential” to some people, but they can be adjusted based on other needs.

Once you have those figures in front of you, do some math. The money you have leftover each month – after those essentials and flexible needs are accounted for – is your “expendable income.” If it’s not quite the number you want it to be, that’s when you look at those “flexible” purchases and try to make some wiggle room.

Now that you have your expendable income figured out – or at least estimated – you have to make some of the toughest budget choices of all. How much goes into savings? How much goes toward entertainment and leisure? Even if you decide on a dollar amount, you also have to determine how those dollars will be doled out… One big outing each month? A reasonable leisure budget for each week?

These will likely be tough – even contentious – conversations for the exact reasons mentioned above: you and your spouse will have different opinions about all of these things. This is the time to get through those differences, though, because these are the choices that are going to prevent fights in the future.

The whole point is to make the decisions now – when you aren’t out and tempted to spend or in the store considering a purchase. When you have your budget established beforehand, you can always use it as a point of reference, your ultimate fallback if you and your spouse disagree about a purchase, or if one of you thinks the other is spending too much.

The budget is something you already agreed on, and gets to be the authority on all expenses. If the budget says you can’t afford it, you don’t get to buy it. If there’s still room in your expendable income, you can!

This takes the guesswork and emotion out of it, and keeps you both accountable to the joint decisions you made.

Now, many people worry that a budget will be too restrictive, that they won’t have the freedom to buy what they want, when they want – but that’s simply not the case!

The idea is to create stability, to help you stick to decisions you made of sound mind, when you were thinking about your overall financial picture (and goals). It might curb some frivolous spending, but if you plan ahead, it’s not going to stop you from grabbing lunch with friends or picking up a new item now and then.

Budgeting can help prevent unnecessary arguments over money, and even help you develop better habits that lead to a life of more wealth and prosperity! Sit down with your spouse and start planning a budget as soon as possible.

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

For many couples with teen children, there’s a big change on the horizon. They know it’s coming, but they might not understand how it can affect their marriage. As the kids grow up and leave the house, it might feel like another honeymoon is coming – and in a sense, it is – but if you aren’t aware of some of the potential challenges, it can be a very trying time for your relationship.

With the right attitude, though, your “empty nest” can be the beginning of a satisfying new chapter of your marriage, full of growth as a couple, new frontiers, and some of the best years of your life!

In the beginning though, the first few months or years after your kids are out of the house can be a period of difficult transition. It’s completely disruptive to the way you’ve likely lived your life for the past 18+ years, and many couples struggle to rediscover their marriage outside of their roles as parents.

Because this can be such a difficult time for so many people, and because it’s an all but inevitable part of raising a family, we’ve put together some tips and potential troubles to help you prepare for your own empty nest – or if you’re already making this transition, to help you make the best of it.

1. Make Friends

It can be tough for couples to reconnect when they suddenly have the house all to themselves. It feels too big, too quiet, and there might even be a sense of awkwardness hanging over the whole situation. To help reduce those feelings, spend time with other empty-nested couples!

Spending time with others in a social situation (especially if they are navigating similar challenges) can be a great way to temporarily take your mind off your transition, or even talk with others about how they are dealing with their empty nests. Above all, it’s about re-finding your identity as an individual and as a spouse, not just seeing yourself as a parent.

2. Focus On Your Partner

This is a time of growth and reconnection, and the perfect opportunity to make up for any ground you may have lost as a couple by focusing on raising kids. If you feel like you’ve grown apart, now’s the time to start growing back together!

There are several ways to reconnect once you have an empty nest.

There are several ways to reconnect once you have an empty nest.

Just start with time spent – eat meals together without the TV or your phones, go for walks, just talk to each other. Reconnecting as a couple has to start with connecting as people.

3. Rest!

This newly “free” life of yours might be perfect for adventure and new experiences, especially if it’s happening in conjunction with retirement or increased work stability… But it’s also perfectly fine to rest a little!

Your time and your home are more in your hands than they likely have been in a long time, so go to bed early if you like! Take a nap, relax, recharge, take advantage of not having to play parent. As you settle into your new nest, you can find time and energy to have adventures or take on new projects – but there’s no huge rush!

To create this new chapter of your life, you’re going to need some energy. Don’t feel bad about resting up!

4. Start Fresh

Whatever happened over the years, this transition is the perfect time to forgive and forget, starting your “new” life as empty nest parents off on the right foot! Forgive each other for fights or past behaviors, and agree to make the coming years as loving and stress free as possible.

It might be a tough conversation, but talk to each other about failed expectations, about problematic behaviors that each other have… Get the thorny stuff out of the way and make an agreement to leave the old, bad things behind. Find out, in all of its ugly detail, what hasn’t been working – and get rid of it.

5. Celebrate!

Congratulations! If you’ve made it to having an empty nest, it means you’ve successfully completed your most intense duties as parents – and that’s something worth celebrating! Maybe that means taking a trip – just the two of you – to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Maybe it’s just a chance to take some time relaxing and not doing much of anything! However you choose to enjoy yourselves, make sure you do something to celebrate the milestone.

6. Embrace New Roles

As couples grow older and their lives change, it’s perfectly normal for some of the “gender roles” to change too. Women may be more likely to seek independence and adventure now that the kids are grown, while men may find themselves more inclined to roles of nurture and support. If this is happening in your marriage, embrace it! This is a new chapter for the two of you, and if part of that chapter is redefining some of the dynamic between you and your spouse, so be it!

It’s healthy – and should be encouraged – to allow your marriage to adapt to your changing wants and needs. As long as you keep each other on the same page, there’s no reason you can’t both get exactly what you want out of the relationship – even if that’s different than it used to be.

7. Resist Making Hasty Decisions

You might be ecstatic (or a little terrified) about your newly empty nest, but don’t let that emotional edge push you into making a decision you might regret. If the house feels too big, give it some time before you decide that you want to move. Don’t just rush to the pet store so you have something to care for. Don’t burn through your savings on a trip around the world just yet…

While you may feel like there’s some sense of immediacy to “find” your new life, there’s really no hurry. If you give yourself a little time to get used to the kids being out of the house, you might find that you don’t actually need to make any of those big decisions – or if you do, you’ll be much more clear headed about them.

8. Cultivate Your Love Life

One of the biggest advantages of an empty nest is the ability to really focus on the physical part of your marriage. With no kids around (and with it, none of their friends, schoolmates, etc.), the house is all yours – to romp around wherever and whenever you like!

Take advantage of this simple fact, and put sex, intimacy, and playful romance back at the forefront of your relationship. It will help you reconnect, strengthen the bond you share, and likely help you face your empty nest with confidence.

9. Accept Reality

Things are different – and they will be from now on. The kids are growing up, you and your spouse are getting older… It’s just not going to be the same as it used to be, and it’s important to come to terms with that. This is the time to reevaluate your marriage and bring it back to the top of your priority list. It’s also the time to start forming more “adult” relationships with your kids – they aren’t so little any more, and the kind of connection you have with them will continue to change as they develop into grownups of their own!

Accept and embrace these realities, and the transition into this chapter of your life will be much easier to manage.

It might be scary, or at least a little hard to get used to, but your empty nest can be the beginning of one of the greatest periods of your life. Stay positive about these changes, use the tips above, and focus on building your marriage into the best it has ever been!

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

Many of the elements of a strong, stable marriage can be established and maintained through conscious effort. It’s a matter of putting your relationship at the forefront of your mind, then making decisions and taking actions with your spouse (and the overall quality of your relationship) in mind!

That thoughtful approach to marriage, with “practice,” will also help you and your spouse develop habits – and eventually you’ll be maintaining your marriage as a matter of course!

There are a handful of daily habits that can help protect your marriage against fights, help keep you and your spouse connected, and foster an environment of love, support, and open communication.

Here are nine habits to work toward:

1. Daily Check-In

Make a point to simply ask your spouse how they are doing, to express in a very direct way that you “have their back” and are thinking about their wellbeing. This just shows that your spouse is feeling is important to you – and helps them feel connected and cherished.

2. Share Feelings

A truly connected couple will not shy away from sharing their feelings with one another. If you’re feeling frustrated, ignored, etc., let your spouse know! Getting things out in the open, even if it’s not the most comfortable conversation, is much better than bottling things up and having them blow up later.

Try some of these things to make sure they'll never want to leave.

Try some of these things to make sure they'll never want to leave.

Share your positive feelings too! If you’re feeling fulfilled, happy to be in your spouse’s company, thankful for something they’ve done or said… Be vocal about it! This is all about keeping communication open.

3. Default to Kindness

Regardless of your mood, a recent argument, stress, or anything else that might make you less-than-kind, you should avoid taking it out on your spouse. If you use kindness as your “default” setting for how to communicate with one another, you can avoid pushing each other’s buttons unnecessarily, avoid hurt feelings caused by snapping at each other, and generally keep things on a pleasant even keel.

4. Send Special Messages

Like the daily “check-ins,” sending each other little romantic messages over the course of the day can help keep the marriage at the front of both your minds. It could be a note, a text message, an email – anything to say “thinking of you.”

5. Greet Each Other With Affection

Spending just a few moments to greet each other with a hug and a kiss at the end of the day, or before you part ways in the morning, does so much for your subconscious connection to your spouse! That ritual of greeting each other with affection will also help you fight against the stresses of work and daily life – each day, you will come to look forward to your spouse’s loving embrace, and even if you aren’t aware of it, each time strengthens your marriage.

6. Make Sex a Priority

Similar to that connection-building greeting each day, sex is more than just pleasure in the moment – it plays a HUGE role in your overall, long-term feelings of connection and love. Everyone has a different ideal for sexual satisfaction, but if you’re both making it a priority to meet each other’s needs, to flirt throughout the day (to keep sexual chemistry alive), and to recognize the importance sex plays in your relationship, your marriage will be a lot stronger because of it!

7. Show Support

When one of you is going through a difficult time – or is just having a rough day – it’s important to show support and empathy, and to just be there for the one you love. Having someone to share concerns with, to lean on when things are difficult, to be vulnerable with… All of these things are a part of building and maintaining the deep, truly meaningful love that makes marriage such a valuable and rewarding experience.

8. Let Go of Anger

Holding grudges is poison for your heart and mind. You and your spouse will surely fight at some point, but holding onto anger will only make things worse, prevent you from coming to solutions, and keep a distance between the two of you. If you can let go of your anger and look at problems in a way that focuses on resolution (not emotion), you’ll solve your issues faster, interact more calmly, and maintain a much happier marriage – even when you do get into arguments.

9. Express Appreciation

You’re both a massive part of each other’s lives, and voicing your appreciation for your spouse’s contributions is a great way to remind them how important they are, and to remind yourselves that marriage is a team effort. Say thanks for help with the kids or around the house, let each other know when a meal is delicious or when a date night was enjoyable. Be aware of what each other does over the course of the day, and offer up your recognition and appreciation for all of the things they do!

Each one of these points will help “divorce-proof” your marriage by building up the overall positivity of your day-to-day interactions with each other. These practices can become habits, and once they’re ingrained into the fabric of your relationship, you’ll be amazed at how easygoing, happy, and rewarding your marriage can be!

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

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


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

It’s perfectly natural for marriages to go through ups and downs over time. There will be periods of excitement and passion, and there will also be periods when the relationship seems to lull – and things settle into a routine that isn’t particularly eventful.

While these cycles are normal, if the “down” times start to feel like boredom, it’s time to do something about it.

True boredom is tough to describe, but we know it when we feel it. It’s different than momentary unrest or dissatisfaction – it’s anxiousness about stagnation that you just can’t quite shake, and it’s awfully uncomfortable. The source of this boredom could be a variety of things, from your own hobbies (or lack thereof) to a rut at work, from dissatisfaction with your spouse to feeling stuck in a financial cycle… There are plenty of factors that can lead to your boredom, but there’s really only one solution:

ACTION.

Especially if you’re feeling bored with your marriage, things will only get worse if you don’t make an effort to change course and get things back on track. A little ebb and flow in your excitement about the relationship is one thing, but if you’re feeling truly bored with the whole ordeal, something must be done.

So, what actions can you take?

Are you bored in your marriage?

Are you bored in your marriage?

It will partly depend on the nature of your unique situation. If you feel like you and your spouse have both fallen into a routine, take it upon yourself to lead a change. Find something new and exciting for both of you to do – or at the very least, be the catalyst for breaking the cycle! Suggest a date, start a project for both of you, find a new hobby… Just find something to get excited about!

If, as is the case in some marriages, the boredom is a result of your spouse’s lack of interests, lack of enthusiasm, etc. – when you are still actively pursuing your goals and putting effort into the relationship – the solution is the nearly the same, but you have to approach it gently.

It’s important that your spouse understands how essential cultivating a life outside the marriage is to both of your long-term happiness. When you’re both actively interested in hobbies, pet projects, work, community, etc., you bring to the marriage two fulfilled, happy personalities that can create a marriage that is even greater than the sum of its parts!

If this one-sided stagnation is your problem, lovingly approach your spouse about finding a passion for their own sake, not just for the sake of the marriage. You can help, but it ultimately has to be something they feel excited about!

Beyond the efforts you can make to create excitement, break cycles, and escape the boredom you’re experiencing, seeking counseling may also be a way of confronting your problems. A professional therapist may be able to identify habits of your relationship that are contributing to your troubles, and recommend ways to change them.

If nothing else, boredom is a problem that condenses on itself – the more bored you are, the more hopeless it feels. The more hopeless it feels, the less efforts you will make to break the cycle and the worse things will get.

If you’re even feeling twinges of boredom in you marriage, do something about it right away! Keep your marriage fresh and exciting, and encourage your spouse to do the same. Make the most of every day, find things you’re truly passionate about, and bring that passion and sense of fulfillment into your marriage. With the right approach, you never have to be bored again!

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

Marriage, kids, work, chores, friends, projects, in-laws, hobbies… There’s always something competing for our time and attention – it’s just the way things are for many people across the world. We’ve got all of these people in our lives, all of these other things that depend on us, all of these things that beg for our focus and energy…

How are we possibly supposed to choose? Let’s even consider all of those “other” things – work, hobbies, friends, the stuff outside of your home life – as extra here.

How do you make your priorities just at home?

The most common and popular answer to this question is, and has been for a long time: put the children first!

Well, we’re here to say that the conventional wisdom is wrong… You should be putting your spouse first every single time.

You might be thinking, “But what about the children?!?!”

Stick with us for a moment – there’s a reason behind this approach. First, spending time together ALONE with your spouse is absolutely critical for the health of your marriage. If you aren’t taking time to be together as man and woman, the romantic connection you share will start to crumble. You have to actively maintain your relationship – especially when kids, jobs, etc. are all vying for your attention.

Are your kids hurting your marriage?

Are your kids hurting your marriage?

Now, we’re not asking you to ignore your children here. They still need your love and support, but it’s important to understand that your happy marriage as parents provides more stability and information for the young ones than you know! They see how you behave together, and it will become the template for the way they approach future relationships. If they see you and your spouse supporting each other, being kind and open, making time for each other, and being actively concerned with each other’s happiness – they will carry this with them into their relationships later in life!

It’s also important to accept that our kids, especially as they get a little older, are more independent than we give them credit for. We don’t have to wait on them hand and foot all the time – especially if it’s having an adverse affect on the amount of time we get to spend with our spouses. Again, this isn’t to say that they don’t need your help – just that as a parent, it can be all too easy to obsess about what the kids are doing at every moment, and forget all about you’re doing to keep your marriage strong.

Not only do your kids learn about relationships from the example you set, they also reflect – in their own moods and behaviors – the kind of environment they live in. If you put a great deal of energy into their wellbeing, but then fight with your spouse later (or just feel tense, sad, etc. because you and your spouse aren’t actively maintaining a happy relationship), this will affect the kids in ways you may not even notice.

They are hyper-aware of your moods and feelings, and that means that the happier you are in your marriage, the more satisfied you are with your life in a general way, the more you radiate that happiness and positivity to them. The same is true for marital troubles, even if you try to hide them away from your kids. They will pick up on tension, negativity, anger, and hurt. Even if they don’t say anything to you about it, they notice. This subtle element of raising kids is often overlooked.

Looking at this issue from the opposite direction, you can actually damage your marriage if you consistently prioritize your kids over your spouse. We’ve seen it happen time and time again – where raising children becomes the primary focus of one or both parents, and by the time they grow up and move out… The parents find that they’ve got an empty house and a stranger for a spouse.

Even before something that serious happens, the little, daily decisions to prioritize kids and NOT prioritize your spouse are constantly eroding the strength of your marriage.

Is this happening to you? You can change your priorities immediately and start strengthening your marriage today!

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