Just a few hours a week could have a big impact on the quality of your relationship. John Gottman is a psychology professor at the University of Washington and founder of The Gottman Institute, a marital research and counseling center in Seattle. He wrote an updated version of his bestselling book “Seven Principles,” which offers tips on how to deal with digital distractions and suggestions for setting up rules for tech etiquette. He interviewed couples that went to his marriage workshops and learned that couples whose marriages kept getting better were spending six hours a week working on these six areas:
Partings – “Make sure that before you say goodbye in the morning you’ve learned about one thing that is happening in your spouse’s life that day,” Gottman writes. “From lunch with the boss to a doctor’s appointment to a scheduled phone call with an old friend.”
(Two minutes per day for five days, for a grand total of 10 minutes per week.)
Reunions – Gottman says you should greet your partner with a hug and a kiss that last for at least six seconds and end each workday with talking for 20 minutes to reduce stress.
(About 1-hour and 40-minutes per week.)
Admiration and appreciation – He says to spend five minutes every day finding “a new way to communicate genuine appreciation for your spouse.”
(35-minutes per week.)
Affection – Show each other physical affection during the day when and be sure to embrace before going to sleep, he says.
(Five minutes per day, seven days a week: 35 minutes.)
Weekly date – Spend two hours a week talking with your spouse, asking each other open-ended questions. He suggests asking things like “Where do you want to take your next vacation?”
(2-hours per week.)
State of the union meeting – Take an hour to talk about things that went good and badly that week and to appreciate each other. Gottman says to “end by each of you asking and answering, ‘What can I do to make you feel loved this coming week?'” he writes.
(1-hour per week.)