As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Master NLP Practitoner, Hypnotherapist, Certified Dharma Life Coach, and Sports Psychology consultant, I’ve worked with countless couples that come in to see me because criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling have overshadowed and/or overtaken the past spirit of goodwill and friendship that once contributed to the health and well being of their relationships. Although I offer the couples that I work with valuable insights, teaching pieces, and engage them in eye-opening experiential exercises that are designed to strengthen their connection and re-awaken their love and passion for one another, I also encourage them to do the Magic 5 Hours exercise that John Gottman recommends in his highly regarded, research-based book, The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work.
The action steps that make up the Magic 5 Hours are to be done by each partner on a daily basis, and by the end of each week the total amount of time these daily actions take will be a mere 5 hours!! The intention behind these daily actions are to deepen the connection and friendship between both partners so that they’re relationship’s emotional bank account is in the black instead of being in the red or overdrawn.
Alas, the Magic 5 Hours consist of the following 5 daily actions:
1. Partings in mornings: Learn about one thing going on in each other’s day. For example, ask your husband, wife, or partner if there is something in particular they’re looking forward to doing or experiencing that day, or ask him or her if there is something in particular that they worry will be be particularly daunting or challenging. After turning toward your partner and learning one thing about their day, I want to invite you to ask him or her, “Is there anything in particular that I can do that would feel supportive to you while we’re apart today?” ” Would you like me to call and check in and see how you’re doing?” “Would you like me to send you an encouraging text or a reminder that I’m in your corner and thinking about you?”
2. Reunions: Engage in stress reducing conversations at the end of each work day. These conversations will give each person in a relationship an opportunity to “hold space” and give “psychological air” to her or her partner, which will in turn allow the partner to vent, process his or her feelings, feel heard, understood, etc. Beware of trying to offer unsolicited solutions or “fixes” to whatever mental, emotional, physical, or work-related challenges he or she is sharing with you. Instead, offer your partner empathic listening, and listen to your partner’s feelings and be attuned to the meaning that is implied between the lines of what your partner is saying.
3. Admiration and appreciation express each day
4: affection: kiss, hold, grab touch each other during time you’re together : kiss each other before going to sleep: lace kiss with tenderness and forgiveness for yourself and for your partner, letting go of minor irritations built up over day.
5. Weekly date to stay connected and update your love maps: turn towards each other or use dates to talk out a marital issue. Think of questions to ask your spouse: u still thinking of redecorating your bedroom? How are you feeling about your boss these days? Where should we take our next vacation? Time: two hours once a week