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Happy Couples Do These 5 Things Every Week

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistApril 25, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

Whether your relationship is going great or is not quite as wonderful as you would like, you may want to improve it. You might try sending a love letter or preparing a romantic dinner. But it is difficult to maintain such extra measures, and they don’t necessarily strengthen the foundation of your relationship for the long haul. So, what can you do to nurture a happier relationship for now and years to come?

In surveying couples, relationships researcher John Gottman found that happier couples tended to do certain activities that others did not necessarily do. All told, these activities take a total of about 5 hours each week. (This assumes that your relationship has a relatively healthy foundation. If not, while these activities might help, you will still need to do more to improve your relationship.)

When I teach Gottman’s “magic 5 hours” in workshops, here’s the table I use to make it clear:

John Gottman's Magic 5 Hours chart

Think about it, there are 168 hours in a week – or, to be fair, about one hundred fifteen waking hours. That means you can maintain a happy, healthy relationship by devoting only about 4 percent of your time to it during the week. And the best part is that you will be spending those 5 hours with the one you love!

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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