We’ve always liked lists. Shopping lists. Honor lists. Wish lists. Lists of goals and dreams. Our favorite is the common to-do list. We live by it. Maybe you do too. And if so, you know the wonderful feeling of checking an item off your list. With a simple check mark we know we’ve accomplished something we set out to do. We’ve made progress. That little check tells us we’ve taken another step ? big or small ? in the direction we want to go.

Short and to the point. That’s the value of a good list. And that’s the primary value of our new book, too. We cut straight to what you can do ? starting today ? to make your marriage better. How do we do this? By giving you the ultimate to-do list for couples. It’s a proven list for pin-pointing specific behaviors, actions and eventual habits that are sure to keep your love life running at its peak performance.

Research has shown that people who make a tangible list and keep it handy are far more likely to achieve their goals than others who have the very same desires. That’s why we came up with The Love List. As a husband and wife who write for, speak to, and counsel with countless couples each year, we wanted to know, in very practical terms, exactly what we, as “the experts,” should be doing to make our marriage the best it could be. The little to-dos we’ve put in this book have become our answer. And after years of studying couples that live and love to the fullest we believe this roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-practical approach is for every couple wanting the most from their marriage.

Here’s how The Love List works. It consists of eight small actions ? practiced daily, weekly, monthly and yearly:

Once a day?
Take Time to Touch (If Only for a Minute)   Find Something That Makes You Both Laugh

Once a week?
Do Something Active That Lifts Your Spirits   Boost Your Partner’s Self-Esteem

Once a Month?
Rid Yourselves of Harmful Residue   Fire Up Passion in the Bedroom

Once a Year?
Review Your Top-Ten Highlights   Chart Your Course for the Coming Year

A few small actions can change everything for a couple. Little deliberate behaviors quietly lavish love on a marriage. And know this. The items on The Love List are within reach of every couple who is willing to try. They are not extravagant. They are not for the romantically gifted. They won’t cost you more money. And they aren’t going to require inordinate amounts of time. The List, short and to the point, is not for perfect people. It’s for busy couples who sometimes bicker, get stressed out, have communication meltdowns, struggle with money, are not always sure how to discipline their kids, and all the rest. In other words, The List is for real life. Plus, it’s fun. It focuses on proactive behavior you can do and you will see results almost immediately.

We did. When we made laughter a daily habit, for example, we quickly learned that it is impossible to stay mad at someone who makes you laugh.

Copyright © 2002 Les & Leslie Parrott. Used with Permission

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are codirectors of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University and the authors of When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages and the newly released The Love List (Focus on the Family/Zondervan Publishing House). Visit their website at RealRelationships.com to find their seminar schedule.

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