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Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

A loving relationship with our partner takes a lot of work to keep healthy and strong. When we are faced with hardship, the effort we put into our relationship and the love we show to our partners often falls by the wayside. Yet we still expect our partner to be there and for our relationship to remain the same. Of course, relationships are dynamic - changing as our circumstances change. But it is in times of adversity that we must take care to nourish our relationship with our partner. As Susan wrote in The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love, ''A relationship is a goldmine. It has the potential for teaching us so many things about giving, loving and caring. We would be much richer if we mined that gold.''

What is mining for gold in our relationship? Susan taught us that it's knowing that, beneath the day-to-day interaction with our partner, there is something much deeper that holds us together. Because we live so much on the surface, we have to dig deep to remind ourselves of the best parts of our love for our partner. The longer we are in a relationship, the deeper we have to dig to find that gold and the more rewarding the gold will be.

When things are going well, it's easy to see the full worth of our relationship - how much it means to us, how much it supports us - and it's easy to put energy into it. Yet when there is difficulty, it can be the first thing we put aside, thinking the other person will always be there for us, same as usual. That is not how a loving relationship stays loving.

Difficult times can come in many forms and can affect us as a couple or as an individual. It could be a sudden crisis - an illness of a family member - or it can slowly build up - a dead end job that eats away at our self-esteem. However the trouble manifests itself, it is important to make your partner and your relationship a priority. According to Susan, ''In all things we need to determine to keep our love a priority if we expect to create a lasting love. Sometimes this is easier said than done. We all have our own issues. But whatever these issues are, the basic rules of love apply.''

Part of facing adversity together is to put your relationship at the top of your To Do list. Even when it feels like there is too much to do to work on our relationships, we need to still make it a priority.

Sure you are stressed and need to feel the love and support of your partner. But as in everything, the best way to get something is to give it away first. The more loving you are, the more loved you will be. This is when you’ll really find out what mining for gold is all about.

We can't let life get in the way of love. We must commit to making our relationship a priority. The need to feel loved is very important in a marriage, but it is my belief that, in order to have a good marriage, the ability to love is just as important.

The love and support of our partner is our shelter during a storm, but we also have to be able to offer that same sanctuary to our partner, no matter what the obstacles in our lives. The best way to achieve this is through what Susan called Loving Communication. ''It is so important that we do what is necessary to learn how to communicate lovingly with our partner.''

In The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love, Susan wrote a whole chapter on communicating with our partner. She even offers 13 ''lucky'' love lessons geared towards communication. Communication is an ideal way to mine for gold. When we only communicate on a very basic, surface level, we can’t get to the heart of things. But by being open, honest, and communicating lovingly, especially when under the stress of adversity, we can dig deeper into the heart of our love for the ones we cherish. It is only then that we truly know the value of the relationship, and feel the love and support of our partner.

All relationships will face some adversity in their course. But if we remember the magnificent treasure that the relationship was founded upon and remember to make this relationship our priority, we will not let life get in the way of love. In fact, we will be mining for gold and creating the lasting love we so dearly seek and cherish.

(Important: To use all or any part of this article, go to for permission.)

Adapted from The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love

(Important: To use all or any part of this article, go to for permission.)