By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

In these tough economic times we think it is important to again remind folks that the best things in life are free. To love, to be loved, and to give the gift of time is the best gift you can give to someone. This is an especially important message on Valentine’s Day.

In our book, Building a Love that Lasts we report the findings and practical tips from our 27-year study of successfully marriage couples in the USA and around the world. In fact, we have interviewed couples on SIX continents of the world.

We found in our studies that there are seven pervasive characteristics that thread throughout all successful marriages. For our Valentine’s gift to you, we are pleased to offer three suggestions related to each of those “seven surprising secrets” for saving your hard-earned money on Valentine’s Day by giving the most precious gift of all – your time!

Here goes, the Gift of Time just for you.

1. The Gift of Time for Turning “Two Into One” without Losing Individual Identity
• Share ideas for what you would like to do together in this year.
• Talk about the dreams you share for yourself as well as for your marriage.
• Find several favorite old photos and relive those precious moments together.

2. The Gift of Time so there are No “Sacred Cows” in your Marriage
• Engage in an extended conversation about why you love each other.
• Write your lover a note with three things you admire most about him or her.
• Tell your lover something that has been a nice “secret” of yours over the years.

3. The Gift of Time to Show Respect for the One You Love
• Treat her like a princess – treat him like a king.
• Write an email telling your lover what you believe to be their greatest strength.
• Make a note to put on the refrigerator door with a thank you for something special your lover did for you.

4. The Gift of Time for Good Health and Health Promotion
• Cook a special healthy dinner and serve it by candlelight.
• Take a long walk with your spouse for Valentine’s Day.
• Hit the “snooze” button on your alarm clock at least three times so you can snuggle a little extra in the morning.

5. The Gift of Time for Marital Financial Health
• Don’t go to the movies, make your own romantic movie together.
• Forget the $60 bouquet of roses – instead paint or draw a bouquet or write a love note to your lover.
• Don’t waste your money on jewelry or chocolates. Just tell why you love them.

6. The Gift of Time for Touching and Intimacy
• Take a long walk together holding hands.
• Make romantic time for intimacy.

7. The Gift of Time To Make Your Marriage Spontaneously Exciting
• Have breakfast in bed together.
• Read a romantic bedtime story to your lover.
• Shut off all electronics for Valentine’s Day – no phones, no cell phones, no computers, no PDA, no television – just the two of you.

You see, the best things in life are, indeed, free. In these tough economic times, people are looking to save money at every turn. And the truth is, love – true love – should never be about money. As they song says, “Money can’t buy you love.”

Our 27 years of research on successful marriage has revealed to us that true love, true commitment, and truly successful marriages are based on many things, but how much money you spend on the one you love is almost never an indication of real love.

In life, love, and marriage, the most important gift you can give to the one you love is the gift of time. Why should Valentine’s Day be any different?

We have been married for nearly 44 years. Valentine’s Day has always been special for us. We make a point each year to NOT spend money on each other on this special day. If you follow our advice to you, expect the most wonderful Valentine’s Day ever!

Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.

Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With over 30 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 46-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

Get started with America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts by taking their Marriage Quiz or sending your questions to Ask the Doctors for Marriage Advice.

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