Monday, May 28, 2012

The Magic Five Hours a Week

Happy Memorial Day! Before we begin today's posting, we would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of all of us at the Gottman Institute, to say thank you to all those service men and women in our military who have defended this country courageously and valiantly, with a special remembrance to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our country. Thank you for all you do!

After observing couples who had attended a couples' workshop and continued to make gains in their relationship, Dr. John Gottman created the Magic Five Hours a Week to show couples how to reconstruct their week in a way that allows them to continually make positive connections and strengthen their relationship. We know that nearly every couple has a million excuses for why they don't spend enough time working on their relationship. Between work, chores, and family commitments, working on your relationship often falls somewhere near the bottom on the list of your priorities. When it only takes five hours per week to make your relationship a priority, there is really no excuse for not doing so!

The more you participate in these rituals, the more they will become a part of your everyday life. Some parts may seem awkward to you and your partner at first, especially if you are unused to showing affection, spending time together, or really sharing your lives with each other. Once you break down the initial barrier, your relationship will be opened up to a multitude of possibilities, allowing you and your partner to grow and to become closer.

The following is how Dr. John Gottman proposes that you organize your week with your partner:

Partings: Don't part in the morning without knowing one interesting thing that will happen in your partner's day that you can ask them about when you next see them. You can go your separate ways after a six-second kiss and an "I love you." 
This only take 2 minutes a day for 5 working days. In total that's only 10 minutes of your time a week!

Reunions: Reunite with a six-second kiss, followed by a stress-reducing conversation in which each of you share your frustrations, anxieties, and a brief recap of what happened in your day. Remember, this is a time for you and your partner to engage in active listening and provide emotional support. Rule: Understanding must precede advice! 
Spend 20 minutes a day for 5 days on reunions. Total is 1 hour and 40 minutes of your week.

Admiration and Appreciation: Find some way every day to genuinely communicate affection and appreciation toward your partner.
Dedicate 5 minutes a day to this for 7 days. Total of 35 minutes.

Affection: Kiss, hold, grab, touch! Playing together is a good thing, so don't forget to do it! Make sure to kiss each other before going to sleep and follow the admonition in Ephesians, "Do not let the sun set on your wrath." Let it set on affection instead! 
Spend 5 minutes of your day for 7 days on giving affection to your partner. This comes to a total of 35 minutes a week.

Love Maps: Make sure to update your love maps and use them to create opportunities to turn toward one another. Set aside time for a date with your partner to catch up on their life, resolve issues, and to just enjoy each other's company.
Spend a total of 2 hours a week having this quality time together.

As we've said before, even the smallest of changes can have huge positive impacts on your relationship. It only takes five and a half hours per week to connect with your partner, to be involved in their life, and to move your relationship forward. There is no reason not to make your relationship a priority, so start the Magic Five Hours this week and watch where it takes you!

Have a good week,
K. Peterson
TGI Staff

Gottman, John, and Julie Gottman. "The Art and Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples" Workbook. Seattle: The Gottman Institute, Inc., 2000-2011. 78. Print.

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