Have you ever wondered what makes a marriage thrive? Have you ever wanted to know how to take your marriage from “good” to “great”? The happiest married couples do some things differently.
According to marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, part of the answer is found in 5 hours each week. Through extensive research Dr. Gottman found that couples with excellent marriages invest five hours weekly in each other. Here’s what they do differently.
They Part Well
Send each other off for the day in a warm fashion. Dr. Gottman estimates this takes only 2 minutes, for 5 workdays per week, or a total of 10 minutes per week. Some ideas:
- Find out something specific they are excited about today.
- Find out something specific they are worried or concerned about today.
- See how you can help or encourage them during the day.
- When are they free to chat or text?
Engage in a stress reducing debriefing conversation together at the end of each workday. Gottman suggests a 20-minute chat after each of the 5 workdays. This should take approximately 1 hour 40 minutes per week. Some ideas include:
- Going on a walk to discuss and debrief the day.
- Playing a game and talking about what happened during the day
- Talking about the day over a meal or a drink.
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Admiration & Appreciation
Express something you appreciate, admire, or are thankful for about your spouse everyday. This should take approximately 5 minutes. Practice this 7 days each week. Just a bit more than 30 minutes weekly. Text and email can be used successfully here as well.
Be affectionate with your spouse. Engage in non-sexual hugs, kisses, and touching. Foot rubs and back rubs count as well. Gottman specifically recommends you give each other a goodnight kiss before falling asleep. 5 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for a total of 35 minutes per week.
This one takes the most time and planning. Gottman suggests you allow for 2 hours, once per week, to connect, chat, dream, set goals, build love maps, plan, and enjoy each other’s company. It doesn’t matter what time of the day your date occurs. Plan your dates in advance. The anticipation of the event is part of the fun.
“The approach works so phenomenally well that I’ve come to call it the Magic Five Hours. – Dr. John Gottman
According to the research, there’s just no way to have a great marriage without taking the time to invest in each other. In a marriage, love does equal time. My hope is that this article will inspire you to give these Magic 5 Hours a try.
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