Carefree Timelessness

Welcome to “4 Minutes 4 Marriage!”

For 12 years I’ve written Lenten posts that highlight the recommendations of counselors, therapists, and advisors.  This year’s focus is Marriage, and I plan to reintroduce some of the best marriage advice I’ve found.

4-minute posts may seem long and daunting, but rather than considering them too wordy to read right now, try to think of them as a very short, time-efficient Marriage course. You don’t even need to drive to class!hat said, let’s jump right in and use our 4 minutes well. Your relationship is worth it!

What do you want your marriage to be like? Close your eyes and imagine your spouse gazing at you with that, “I can’t believe how blessed I am” expression that melts your heart. Would you like to grow even closer to your special someone?

Matthew Kelly writes that the key to thriving relationships is carefree timelessness. By this he means spending time with people without an agenda, simply to enjoy their company. No matter what the relationship, whether spouse to spouse, parent to child, friend to friend, or person to God, increase carefree timelessness and it will deepen.

Watching TV together doesn’t count. Neither does reading your text messages side by side. Carefree timelessness is unscheduled, unhurried moments when you can focus on each other and let the time and the conversation meander and develop on its own.

Remember when you first met the love of your life? How easily the hours could pass spent in one another’s company. Conversations were easy and fun; you never ran out of topics to cover, not because you needed to exchange information, simply because you enjoyed knowing more about each other. Or remember how close you felt to the people who shared your last vacation? Strolls along the beach, hikes on forest trails, or easy games of Frisbee don’t accomplish concrete goals, but rather social and relational ones. We relax on vacation. We realize how much we value the people close to us.

Sadly, our busy-ness today is an enemy of growing intimacy and deepening relationships. We are too harried to slow down and enjoy each other. What a lost opportunity to share with our families the down time that seems so simple and yet draws us so close. Maybe due to tight finances, we give up our date night or take “stay-cations” and don’t leave home. Yet, if we don’t get away from our day-to-day responsibilities, we risk focusing on work, yard, or home projects, rather than refreshing our spirits.

And, oh dear, our Sabbaths suffer from overfilled schedules. Given to us as a gift from our Creator to help us renew ourselves and our relationships, Sundays instead become a day to cram in what we think we must accomplish before the next workweek begins: laundry, homework, unfinished office work, or shopping. Sabbaths are meant for renewal of ourselves and our relationships.

Our lives find their meaning in our relationships. Ask the people lying in the hospital, soon to leave this earth, what made their lives important. It’s the people who keep vigil at their bedside, the people they’ve loved or served, who are the monuments to their existence. The lives they’ve touched and improved give testimony to their accomplishments more than their promotions or patents do.

Yes, we need to work, and our employment is an opportunity to minister to the world by how we behave and what we produce. However, it is our love that will survive us and influence others profoundly.


There’s a country song, “She Thinks We’re Just Fishin’,” which portrays a dad realizing the times he spends fishing with his little girl are moments they both will remember and treasure. Go “fishing” with someone important to you!

We make time for our children:

  • One dad jogs with each of his young adult children when they get together. I can imagine the interesting conversations caught between breaths.
  • Another father sets aside Sunday afternoons to call each of his grown daughters, simply to catch up and stay connected.
  • One friend never listens to the radio while driving her children, preferring the spontaneous conversations that seem easier while sitting beside each other, rather than face to face.
  • My mother used to suggest window-shopping walks downtown at night after our small-town stores had closed. I don’t recall any life-changing conversations, but those walks told me she valued our time together, when time was a scarce commodity for a single mother.

If we can do it for our children, we can do it for our spouses.

So, this week’s homework: Spend a little carefree time with your spouse. No agenda, no goals to meet. Simply appreciate the moments together. Mute your cellphones. Turn off the TV. (You can pre-record the Olympics, so you don’t miss anything.) Take a walk. Or just hold hands and talk. Focus on him or her and the joy of shared time. Don’t problem solve. Reminisce. Dream. And don’t forget to schedule your next carefree time together.

Our marriage will improve if we regularly spend carefree timelessness with our beloved. We will move into higher levels of intimacy, perhaps sharing our hopes and goals, our fears and needs, and our efforts to become the best version of ourselves.

P.S. If you’d really like to test the parameters of this tool to intimacy, spend some carefree timelessness in prayer. Visit God in a chapel or sit in an easy chair near a window and turn your attention to him. Recognize you are in his presence always and everywhere. Chat with him. And listen.


You can learn more about Matthew Kelly at





My books have arrived!

If you live in Portland and want a copy of my new novel, I can deliver it next week. They are $12 or $15 if I mail to you. (Amazon with free shipping is cheaper if you are a Prime member.) Another option is to support the Women’s Club and buy one at the St. Pius X Bazaar November 3-5.

What does it mean to be spiritual? Can we love God, but just tolerate our neighbor? My germaphobe hero struggles with these questions, but doesn’t expect a street girl to be the one who can help him answer them.

Their Only Hope













My new novel is available!

Virginia Shea, a sweet girl with an open heart, was forced into prostitution two years ago, at only 16. Raised a Christian by her grandmother, she has lost hope for her own rescue, but now she suspects she is pregnant. Maybe God will intervene for her baby’s sake, though he doesn’t seem to have heard her prayers up to now.

Joseph O’Keefe, an introverted germaphobe, will soon graduate and be ordained a deacon. He’s all about chastity and prayer and can’t believe God is telling him to go to a woman of the street who is crying nearby.

And then there’s Ryan, a nine-year-old who has just been coaxed into the car of a stranger…

Find it on Amazon in paperback or Kindle:

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