(see MindMap of the leading character, Clare Abshire)
In various passages in The Times Traveler's Wife, Henry explains that the inevitable cause of his time travels is stress. According to Dr. Kendrick, Henry has zero tolerance for stress. And, boy, Henry is stressed out by a lot: by watching TV, by loud noises, by blinding lights, by drinking too much, by getting married, by having kids, by conflict… Moreover, Henry does try to be a good husband when he is with Clare in the present. He cooks for her and teaches her how to cook, so she can really take care of their daughter and herself after he's gone. That's kind of sweet, right? And when Henry meets Clare, he breaks up with his girlfriend Ingrid right away. He also acts quite forgiving when Clare admits her little fling with Gomez years ago. He's a loving father to Alba, and travels to the future to spend lots of time with her in the years following his death. So he seems to be an unreliable, yet really well-meaning husband.
Unlike Henry, though, Alba actually enjoys time travel. Although she, too, can't stop traveling, she has some measure of control over where and when she's going. She's even had some success with keeping herself in the present through singing. In general, she seems to readily accept the challenges of her strange life, one of which is that her father dies when she's only five.
Gomez and Charisse are always beside Claire and Henry as all close friends should be. In fact, Gomez was the best man at their wedding whereas Charisse was the maid of honour.
Dr. David Kendrick and His Wife Their doctor and patient relationship soon grows into a friendship. After some initial successes, Kendrick has to inform Henry that he won't be able to find a cure for him. He suggests, though, that he might be able help Alba. Henry trusts Kendrick's skills enough to have Alba's DNA sequenced against Clare's will. When Henry visits Alba in the future, he learns that Kendrick is still working with her.