July 20, 2024

Marriage Investment – for the Newlyweds

So men and women come from the same planet after all.” John Gottman

Dear Newlyweds:

Your wedding was beautiful, poignant, and wonderful. Seeing and meeting family and friends was a bonus. Mom and I are happy for and proud of you both.

Here is unsolicited marriage advice from me but more accurately it follows the teachings of John Gottman, the foremost marriage therapist of our time.

According to Gottman, “The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. For men, the determining factor is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. So men and women come from the same planet after all.”

What then makes for a happy marriage? Gottman outlines the 5 hour a week marriage investment in the following ways:

Say “goodbye” slowly. Take two minutes every day to gently say goodbye and find out a piece of what your partner is doing today. This can easily become a positive habit. (5 days =10 minutes/week)

Say “Hello” when you get back together. In this 20 minutes, reconnect in a pleasant way. Relax, enjoy and be nice. It is not a time to bring up all the woes of the day. (5 days =1 hour 40 minutes/week.)

Express admiration and appreciation. Some say “my partner should know I admire him/her.” Maybe, but isn’t it better to make sure? Here’s the radical idea: face each other and for a full 5 minutes daily tell of your appreciation and admiration for your partner. (Daily =35 minutes/week.)

Touch. We are humans; we like touch. It acknowledges we are present. This can be the life blood of a marriage. Caress, pat, hold, cuddle, kiss and show physical affections daily at least 5 minutes. (35 minutes week)

Date. It is scary that 67% of marriages end in divorce and over one-half of those occur in the first seven years. It is hard work being together — and joyous. Make sure you date, that you have regular joy to look forward to. Do this at least two hours a week.

There it is: how to build a foundation to your marriage using 5 hours per week. Gottman also notes for exercisers: if you really want good health, invest at least as much time in strengthening your relationship as you do in strengthening your cardiovascular system or muscles. By the way, it’s best do both!

Yes, as with anything worthwhile, it takes an investment of time and of energy. Investing in marriage makes lots of sense. These are great tools. Using them is up to the two of you. Start now.

I love you both,


My son Ben and his new bride Taleigha were married 10-10-10.



  1. john bachman says

    Bill & Katie…Patty and I want to thank you for letting us be there with you at the wedding. What a wonderful event! We attended several weddings this summer. We were blown away by all of them, but this one was the topper. We wish the kids and their parents the very best of the best. What a great family you all make! John and Patty