Don’t worry, as much as the title sounds like hocus pocus, it isn’t. 5 hours a week. This is the basis of one of John Gottman’s ground breaking studies. Gottman is one of the best marriage therapists, and has been for the past few decades. His research about divorce prediction and marital stability has been unmatched for years. He wrote a book called The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and in it introduced the phenomenon of 5 Magic Hours.
What are the 5 magic hours? Gottman did a follow up study on couples who had been to his couple’s workshop. He wanted to know what the main difference was between couples whose marriage was getting stronger, and those whose marriage was deteriorating. The answer: 5 hours a week. Isn’t that crazy? Simply putting in 5 extra hours with your spouse throughout the week, made a huge difference. I won’t get into the findings too much, you can read a synopsis HERE. But to put it simply, to keep a marriage alive and well it is as simple as 5 easy steps: partings, reunions, admiration & appreciation, affection, and weekly dates.
The main point though is to consistently make time for each other.
OUR 5 Magic Hours:
Sam (my husband) and I started a little ritual a while back. It was walking. A lot. It started when I was very pregnant with P. I wanted that baby out and so we hit the pavement. We would walk for 1-2 hours a day. Then, we started doing it again when P was a couple of months old, to get some peace and quite. (P is a busy boy, but is typically very calm in the stroller.) So, whenever we were at our wits end, into the stroller P went, and we would walk, walk, and walk some more.
Yesterday, while walking, I realized these hours we spend each week, have quite possibly been the best thing for our marriage. It is something we do to help us unwind, talk about our day, breathe the fresh air, get a little exercise, and have some alone time to talk. The best part though? It has given us multiple hours a week, with no distractions (electronics) to connect.
Yesterday during Sunday school at church, a man shared this quote and I realized that because of the time we spend together, we now have this type of comfort more often than we used to. And this is what I feel I am aiming for.
Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away. – George Eliot
Our 5 extra magical hours has been great for us. What rituals or activities do you and your spouse do consistently to keep your marriage healthy and alive? I would love to hear your thoughts!