5 Hours to a Blissful Partnership

Making hetero marital therapy theories work for us.


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Now that marriage equality has been won (!!), lesbian and queer couples are poised to pay attention to marital therapy’s age-old research which, was previously relegated to the straight realm, but can be easily adapted along the gender and sexuality spectrums, to all married/committed couple’s benefit.

 

The first therapeutic theory worth adapting? The Magic 5 Hours. Renowned marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman spent countless hours observing what makes (heterosexual) married couples thrive. Or, more importantly, what separates the soon-to-be-divorced from the happily-ever-after. One of these key differences? Just 5 measly hours per week (which can be effectively perfected by doting LGBTQ partners, too!), all devoted to your partner in these particular ways:

 

Partings: Give your partner a warm farewell before parting for your workdays. This means eyes-up, phones-down, people. This doesn’t mean through the bathroom door, via text message, or with a fleeting glance up from your laptop, kids, or dogs.

Time it takes: 2 minutes. x 5 workdays = 10 minutes/week

 

Greetings: Have a debriefing conversation when you reunite after your workdays. This conversation should include each partner taking turns actively listening to each other unwind about their day without offering solutions or conflict.

 

Unsure where to start? Use the Rose/Thorn structure: what was the biggest highlight of your day? (Your Rose). What was the biggest lowlight (Your Thorn). One couple I know also adds in a humorous “Tiny Win” such as “I found $20 on the ground”, “I finally got that splinter out of my foot”, or “Everywhere I went today had gender-neutral bathrooms!”.

Time it takes: 20 minutes. x 5 work days = 1 hour 40 minutes/week

 

Admiration & Appreciation: Find a way to compliment your spouse and acknowledge something you appreciate about them every day. This can be as small as complimenting their shirt-choice (“Your white tee is looking especially white today, bae”) to larger items like appreciating how hard they’ve worked to duplicate Beyonce’s 7/11 video.

Time it takes: 5 minutes. x 7 days = 35 minutes/week

 

Affection: That’s right, physically touch your partner (I know - the rocket science!). While many couples tend to put the pressure on how many times a week they knock their sensible-yet-stylish, dykey biker boots, what really counts on the daily is literally keeping in touch. Hugging, kissing, or rubbing that newly shaved part of their asymmetrical undercut are all small gestures that can go a long way in marital satisfaction. Plus, the consistent contact certainly won’t hurt in the sex department, either.

Time it takes: 5 minutes. x 7 days = 35 minutes/week

 

Weekly date night: This is the biggest time commitment (2 hours per week), but perhaps the most important and easily excused. Long-term couples easily mistake spending large quantities of time together for large quality-of-time, and skimp on setting aside intentional hours to reconnect, share hopes and dreams, plan for the future, and just enjoy the lovely partner you’ve committed your life to.

        

Protect the date night, even when budgets are tight! Dates don’t need to be lavish 6-course meals wearing your precious pearls, but can also be grinding on the queer bar dance floor wearing your finest fishnets, or eating homemade pastries on a picnic blanket wearing your plushest PJs. The goal isn’t to blow the bank, but to disconnect from your socials and reconnect with each other.

Time it takes: 2 hours/week.

 

 

That’s a total of 5 hours: Just five hours a week toward a more fulfilling, happier and longer-lasting partnership. That’s just 20 minutes less than we spend on Facebook per week, 3 hours less than the average woman spends getting dressed, and about the same amount of time that we spend doing household chores. If the key to a more joyful marriage is leaving those cat GIFs unseen, fewer accessories reorganized to perfection, and a couple of dust bunnies left unswept, this whole committed partnership thing is going to be a snap.

 

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