One of my five big-picture goals for 2014 is to cultivate a thriving marriage. As I reflect on how to do that this year, I keep coming back to Gottman’s magic five hours–which makes this post from September 2011 feel incredibly timely. Thanks for reading!
What separates successful marriages from failing ones? Surprisingly, the answer is five hours a week.
Marriage researcher John Gottman found that couples in positive relationships invest an extra five hours each week in their marriages, in very specific ways. Says Gottman, “The approach works so phenomenally well that I’ve come to call it the Magic Five Hours.”
Here’s how to work the magic 5 hours into your own relationship:
1. Partings: Give warm farewells. Gottman estimates this takes a mere 2 minutes, for 5 workdays per week: a total of 10 minutes per week.
2. Greetings: Have a debriefing conversation together at the end of each workday. Gottman allows for a 20 minute chat, for 5 workdays: a total of 1 hour 40 minutes per week.
3. Admiration and appreciation: Find a way to compliment your spouse every day and to show them you appreciate them–a 5 minute task, 7 days a week: a total of 35 minutes.
4. Affection: Show physical affection for your spouse. Hug, pat, kiss, touch. Gottman specifically advises goodnight kisses! 5 minutes a day, 7 days a week: a total of 35 minutes.
5. Weekly date: This is the big one, time-wise. Gottman allows for 2 hours, once per week, to connect, chat, dream, plan, and enjoy each other’s company.
Take a look at the time you spend on your own relationship. Do you make time for these little–but significant–things in your own life?
This content is adapted from John Gottman’s excellent book The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.
What‘s a little–but significant–thing you would recommend to others for investing in their own relationships?
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Do you ever feel like everyone you know recommends you read the same book, all at once? For me right now, that book is The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. It’s already on my nightstand, but you can pick up the ebook for $2.99 right now over at Amazon.
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