In my post for this month, I have come to offer more of an educational post in relation to the month of love. John M. Gottman is basically a marriage guru. He is very intelligent psychologist and good at what he does. If you have the time and are interested, look up The Gottman Institute! He works on marriage, children, parenting, etc. The Gottman Institute also has a youtube channel where you can watch some short or long videos on these subjects. Take a look! You won’t regret it!
Today I wanted to talk to you a little about his book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” In this book there is a lot of wonderful material and suggestions and I would highly suggest you read it! But I wanted to give you little tid bit of what he talks about. Gottman shares what he calls the Magic Six Hours. Six hours is the amount of time you purposefully devote to your marriage per week to keep your marriage strong and happy. These extra six hours have been proven in couples with strong marriages.
Partings: before saying goodbye in the morning, make sure you know one thing that is going to happen in your spouse’s day. It could be as simple as lunch with a friend or a meeting with a boss. This should take about 2 min a day X 5 working days = 20 min a week.
Reunions: Gottman recommends greeting each other with a hug and kiss that lasts 6 seconds. He suggests that six-second kiss is something worth coming home to. It is also important to spend time having decompressing conversations at the end of the work day for about 20 min. 20 min a day X 5 working days = 1 hr and 40 min.
Admirations and Appreciation: Make sure to communicate your affection and appreciation for your spouse. Also make sure to genuinely say I love you. 5 min a day X 7 days = 35 min
Affections: Show physical affection with one another throughout the day. Make sure you always embrace before you go to bed. Even if your goodnight kiss is a short one, think of it as a way to let go of minor irritations that may have built up during the day. Gottman (2015) suggests that you “lace your kiss with forgiveness and tenderness for your partner.” (p. 278) 5 min a day X 7 days = 35 min
Weekly Date: You don’t have to go out for dates. The important part is spending time together just the two of you! Things that can enhance your date and help you to stay connected are asking open ended questions (Ex: What is your dream vacation?) Also, when you do something new together as a couple, it creates that same chemical in your brain that is created with “twitterpation.” So if you are feeling a little lack-luster in dates, try doing something new together! 2 hrs once a week = 2 hrs
State of the Union Meeting: This is setting aside one hour a week to talk about your relationship the past week. During this conversation you talk about things that went right. Express appreciation for things that you haven’t been able to yet. Try to be specific in your appreciations. Then talk about issues that may have arisen. Remember to listen non-defensively and try to look for a solution, and apologize if necessary. Finally, end with each partner asking “what can I do to make you feel loved this coming week?” (p. 279). 1 hr a week
Grand Total: 6 hours
As you can see, 6 hours is totally doable! These are things that I practice in my own marriage. The time we spend may not be as long, but we do ask the important questions, share our feelings, and do what we can to make the other one feel loved. Try out that six second kiss! It can be awkward at first, and maybe you still just greet each other with a peck and that’s fine! Enjoy being with one another and find little ways to ignite that flame in your marriage again! It will be well worth it. Best wishes to making your marriage stronger and better than ever!
Gottman, J.M. & Silver, N. (2015) The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York, NY: Harmony Books
*Also, stay tuned for my next post on the 5 love languages!