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"Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage!"
Dec 8, 2008 -- Newsletter #33

Happy Christmas coupleHappy Holidays for Your Honey

Don't make your husband last on your list this Christmas. Make the holidays a little happier for your honey by paying attention to the Four A's: Appreciation, Admiration, Attention and Affection.


Julie and April were helping in their children's kindergarten class a few weeks before Christmas. They discussed all the antics they had been through to get their kids the perfect Christmas gifts.

They laughed and giggled about all they had done to find just the right gifts, and to make their kids' Christmas extra exciting. One of them had driven to four different locations of the same store just to find the specific longed-for remote control car that was a must-have on her son's Christmas list.

The tone changed a bit when Julie said, "So, what are you getting your husband?" They both chuckled when they simultaneously quipped, "We know what they want, of course." This was quickly dismissed as they pondered the necessary and practical gifts they needed to find for their husbands' Christmas.  

Upon further reflection it disturbed them to realize that their husbands' gifts had been mostly an afterthought, eliciting nowhere near the same level of excitement and anticipation of their gift-giving to their children. It was alarmingly clear where their hearts and minds were. They had reveled in the anticipation of their children's reactions to their Christmas creation, but thought little of their husbands' response.

They determined that their husbands' Christmas gifts would be something that evoked at least as much excitement and eager anticipation as they felt in giving to their children.

They knew that what their husband's really wanted and needed the most was their time and attention. The desired gift may not even be tangible, but instead a gift of Appreciation, Admiration, Attention and Affection.

The Four A's -- Appreciation, Admiration, Attention and Affection

Over the course of her marriage, April had identified the four A's as vital to marriage. She came to realize that if any one of those areas was lacking in her relationship with her husband, her marriage was running a deficit that over time could have damaging effects.

She rated herself as doing pretty well in the areas of appreciation, admiration, and affection, but really wasn't giving him much of her time and focused attention. Life had a way of consuming her attentions, leaving little for her husband . . .

Read the rest of the story here

Click for -- Laura's Strengthening Marriage Blog
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Christmas sale productsChristmas Specials -- up to 50% Off  

Here's a little economic cheer for the holidays! Our Christmas gift to you includes hot prices of nearly 50% off our talk on CD Love 101 (only $6.95) and Teaching Intimacy 101 2 CD audio book (only $8.95). 

You'll also receive nearly 30% off the And They Were Not Ashamed softcover book (only $12.95) and the 12 cd audio book (only $27.95) . Click on the product image to get your copies today. What better gift for Christmas than a stronger marriage! (Sale ends when the year ends!)

Click here -- Strengthening Marriage Online Store


Couples PhotosWin a Romantic Getaway --
Send Couple Photos &
"How We Met" Stories

Win a Romantic Getaway to The Anniversary Inn with Your Couple Photos and "How We Met" story.


One lucky couple will receive a FREE one-night stay at the beautiful  Anniversary Inn of their choice, in the room of their choice! (Valued up to $289.) In addition to the luxury of spending focused time and attention on each other, you'll enjoy the relaxing in-room jacuzzi, complimentary cheesecake, sparkling apple cider, and a delicious freshly baked breakfast delivered to your suite.

To enter the drawing, send us a favorite photo of you and your spouse, and/or a wedding or engagement photo, by Saturday, February 14th, 2009. Tell us the story of how you met, how many years you've been married, plus something you do to strengthen your marriage (500 words or less). The lucky couple will be contacted by email, and then announced in our "Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletter.

We're very excited about this fun new effort to strengthen marriages. Everyone enjoys those how-did-you-meet stories! We'll post the photos on our Couples Photos page, and begin posting the "How We Met" stories (with the pictures) on "Laura's Strengthening Marriage Blog." This will be a fun new feature for readers to reflect on the delight of their courtship days, plus glean ideas from others for strengthening their marriages.

Perfect Marriage NOT Required!

You don't have to have a perfect marriage to send us your story and photos, or we'd have nothing to post! So, enter today to win this romantic getaway by sending us:

  1. Couple Photos. Your favorite couple photo and a wedding or engagement photo (uncropped, 300dpi--one or both photos would be great) with your first names, and how many years you've been married.
  2. Your Story. Your "How We Met" story, and something you do to strengthen your marriage (500 words or less).

Anniversary InnEven if you aren't selected as the winner of this Valentine's Day giveaway, you can still be a winner by reserving a room at The Anniversary Inn for you and your sweetheart! Check out all the fun suites and reserve yours today! You'll love this place!

My husband and I recently celebrated my 40th birthday at The Anniversary Inn, where we had a wonderful time. I hope someday to be able to spend a night every month at the Anniversary Inn.

Click for -- The first "How We Met" story on "Laura's Strengthening Marriage Blog"
Click for -- "Couples Photos" page


couple in counselingJoin our "Marital Intimacy Therapist Registry"

Attention Therapists!
Some of the most common emails we receive are from couples who have read our book, "And They Were Not Ashamed," and are looking for some help to apply what they've learned, and to help them wade through the process of creating a mutually fulfilling intimate relationship. This is delicate and sacred ground for many couples.

Given the difficulty of finding a good certified sex therapist who also respects the divinity of marriage and sexuality, we are creating the "Marital Intimacy Therapist Registry" as a place for couples to find counselors that can help. (Coming soon to our Resources page.)

Research tells us that religious couples (especially Christians) are particularly intent on finding a counselor who shares their values. For these couples, the sharing of values is vital to the effectiveness of therapy.

We invite therapists who have read the book "And They Were Not Ashamed--Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment," and who are ready and willing to help couples with sexual intimacy issues, to send us the following information to be added to our "Marital Intimacy Therapist Registry." Please share this request with any counselors you know that may fit the bill.

Information for Therapists to Send (send here)

  • Name
  • Degrees, Current Licensing
  • Office Address
  • City, State, Zip
  • Phone #
  • Email Address
  • Website
  • Comments: Any comments you would like to have included for potential clients to consider in selecting a therapist.
  • Therapist photo (uncropped, 300dpi)

Therapist Requirements

The only two requirements for the "Marital Intimacy Therapist Registry" are:

  1. To read the book "And They Were Not Ashamed" (to have that frame of reference), and
  2. To have a desire and ability to help couples strengthen their marriages intimately.

We know there are already many counselors who regularly use the book "And They Were Not Ashamed" in their clinical practice. We hope to make it easier for couples to find you! With nearly 30,000 copies of the book sold, and nearly 20,000 visitors to our website each month there are many couples looking for some additional help in the area of strengthening their marriage intimately. 

For other resources in finding a counselor, check out our Resources page under the Topic "Finding a Counselor."


Resources PageNew Resources for Strengthening Your Marriage

We encourage you to check out some of the new recommended resources that have been added to our Resources page.

Books -- Marriage, Intimacy

  • The Love Dare
  • 365 Questions for Couples
  • A Celebration of Sex
  • 365 Questions for CouplesSoul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality

Books -- Self-development

  • Remembering Wholeness
  • Emotional Freedom: Techniques for Dealing with Psychological, Emotional and Physical Distress
  • Stop Depression Now

Love2Romance.comWebsites -- Intimacy Products

  • "Husband and Wife" an intimacy boutique
  • Simply Sweet Marriage

Websites -- Self-development

  • Fireproof the
  • Values in Action Survey (VIA) Strengths Survey, from the positive psychology Institute on Character

Movies -- Marriage

  • Fireproof

Newsletter imageNewsletter Archive

Stay tuned for more intimacy insights in upcoming Strengthening Marriage Newsletters ... ! Click here to visit the e-Newsletter archive. If you missed the last newsletter, you can catch it here:

       "Secrets of Sexually Satisfied Wives" -- Marriage Newsltr #32 (Sept '08)




"Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletters are created to strengthen marriages and build strong families--written by Laura M. Brotherson, intimacy educator and author of the book "And They Were Not Ashamed - Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment."
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Copyright 2008 Laura M. Brotherson, Strengthening Marriage, Inc. Reprinted with permission. Visit for the "Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletter.

Copyright 2008 Strengthening Marriage, Inc.