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Luck. I’m pretty sure that’s what brought my husband and me together on Saint Patrick’s Day several years ago. I toast to the Irish each time March 17 rolls around and thank my lucky stars for letting me stumble across such an amazing man on that cold, drizzling spring break afternoon. What’s even luckier? He seemed to take a liking to me too! Let’s be real . . . that part could be border-line miraculous.

While it took loads of good fortune and miracles to bring us together, rest assured it takes skillful guidance and some heavy lifting to stay connected and involved in a gratifying marriage. I’ve learned that even if the Irish, stars, and fortune cookies are on your side, a strong, healthy relationship still requires handling with care, continual reevaluating, and occasional supervision.

That’s where Barbara Peters comes in. She’s not dressed in a cute leprechaun outfit, passing out four leaf clovers, or flipping tarot cards . . . this woman is a professional couples counselor. Barbara realizes that when it comes to relationships, couples tend to run into similar challenges, and she’s jam-packed some of her best advice into a handy guide called He Said, She Said, I Said: 7 Keys to Relationship Success.

Barbara’s book touches on some of the biggest components of a successful relationship and offers easy-to-understand examples and ideas to adjust your interactions with your spouse. From three perspectives, “man,” “woman,” and “counselor,” she delves into importance of communication, trust, forgiveness, intimacy, acceptance, friendship, and love between partners. I bet I’m not the only one who goes through that list with a mental meter gauging how I’d rate each. The dial continually shifts up and down for each key area, so it’s important to have a resource at the ready when the “E” light flashes on one of them.

Occasionally, luck will be there to give you a nudge, but I say if you’re serious about a long-term commitment, uncross your fingers, and read this book. You have to learn and work hard for a relationship that will last a lifetime. I think this is a situation where Barbara Peters would agree.

Take a glimpse into the section on friendship. I encourage you to read through the sneak peek below and then purchase this little treasure. It’s like a shot of wheatgrass for your relationship!

She said: I just want to know he understands what my days are like and the stress I’m under. Sometimes I just need him to be my best friend.

I said: We are often quick to offer compassion and caring words to friends when they need our support and help, yet we often don’t recognize that our spouse or partner could use those same considerations on a daily basis to make their life happier or brighter.

Sometimes the role of best friend is the most important role we play in our primary relationship. Little things like a quick neck rub or hug at the right time can do wonders to make our partners feel treasured. As the song goes, “Try a little tenderness.”

Take time each day to be a “best friend” to your partner. Has your wife had a hard day with the kids? Wouldn’t she love a few minutes alone in a frothy bath? Maybe Dad could order pizza so dinner preparation could disappear on that particularly tough day? Even better, try whisking your lady away for a few hours alone.

Guys need their wives to be their best friends too. Jockeying for position at the office can be grueling. Threatening knocks under the hood when money is tight can be very worrisome. Even worse, the new receptionist, who is almost half his age, told your man he reminded her of her father. When days filled with problems and insecurities pile up, it’s time for a tender touch, cuddle, and a soothing moment with your man.

The most important thing you can be for each other is a soft place to land when life knocks you down.

Learn more about Barbara by reading her bio or visiting her website.