Make Your Relationship Work:

A happy relationship is like a fruitful garden. You invest time, labor and love. Soon you see the rewards of your investment. Your friends and neighbors may think that your relationship has never hit a rough patch, and if they told you so, it would make you laugh. All relationships have hard times. But, good times or difficult, if you set your heart on making your relationship work, it will have a running chance.

Make Time for the Two of You:

This one is elementary, but it is amazing how many couples find themselves in rough waters because they aren’t setting apart time exclusively for each other. No matter what our station in life, whether we have no children or six of them, whether we are newlyweds or a retired couple, people live in the fast lane. Over commitment has become virtuous, and we end up giving the people who matter most in our lives — our leftovers. We shoot them an e-mail here or a text message there. But the most important element of our relationship is missing.

The Gift of Carefree Timelessness:

What is the glue that keeps a relationship strong? Is it marriage counseling or a steady income or good looks? No. The key to keeping a relationship strong is carefree timelessness with one another.

Teenagers Hold the Key:

Question: What do teenagers do?

Answer: They talk on the phone — for hours.

Question: And what do they talk about?

Answer: Nothing and everything.

We Can Learn from Our Teenagers:

Teenagers talk on the telephone for hours and hours, laughing and sharing and talking and talking. Their conversations are a free flowing exercise in thought association. And, yet, when these same two people get married, they stop engaging in the same types of conversations and activities.

Gift your relationship with a date night at least once a month. Surely, you can spare two hours for each other once every 30 days or so. If you can’t — then find a way to do it anyway.

At least once a week, go on a leisurely stroll with each other and your children through the neighborhood or — if the weather is bad — at the mall. Live in the moment and talk about anything and everything. Don’t discuss the bills or your child’s “D” on his report card or your reprimand at work. Leave those things for the every day.

Thrive or Wither:

Relationships thrive within the context of carefree timelessness and wither without it. Making time for each other is an investment in your future as a couple and the key to a happy, enduring relationship. Be a couple that has learned this basic concept that is so obvious that most couples miss it.

Later, when other couples ask you for the key to your happy relationship, you can tell them.