05. December 2018

Gardening and The five magic hours

Our fridge is covered with pictures, sketches and notes. One of the most important pieces of paper is about how to make a relationship work. The principle is called The five magic hours.

A Flemmish Antique flower from my garden.


"Where do you find the time" is one of the most common questions I get. Well, I don't have more time than any other part-time working mom but I somehow manage to do everything I  need to do for myself and my family. Other parents of young children talk about how much time it takes to take care of the kids. So much so that there doesn't seem to be time for anything else. I don't see myself that way. I live not only for my children, but also for myself. And of course also for the relationship I have with my husband.

Before I met him, I probably had a lot more doubts about how much trust and faith I would be able to put into a relationship. But now, my relationship is the very foundation to the life I live. My relationship is my safe haven, especially in the most stressful times. I get everything I need to feel happy and energetic when I'm loved and seen in my relationship. I hope and believe that I'm able to give that back to my husband too! We do fight sometimes of course, but it's almost always because we haven't spent enough time with each other. When we solve these issues, I always feel like I have more energy to do other things (even though my disposable time stays the same.)


Reminders on the fridge

Ultrasound pictures, shopping lists, our children's drawings and school portraits cover our refrigerator. But two other pieces of paper catch people's attention. One of them is our cleaning schedule (I will write more about this later.) The other is a note titled "The five magic hours". My husband Philip is a psychotherapist (the link is in Swedish) and does a lot of couple's therapy. One day, he came home with a list that he told me he uses with his clients. I decided to put it on the fridge so I can look at it every day. I haven't been able to do everything on the list yet, but I carry the sentiment and intention with me all the time. And I think it makes a difference. For me, and for us.

I realize I might sound like a bit of a goody two shoes here. We are not perfect and our relationship has its ups and downs, just like any other relationship. There are times where we are both  tired and annoyed and the relationship feels strained. But the difficult times never overshadow everything beautiful we share together.

Maybe the Five magic hours could help you and your relationship too? Read more about what it's all about below. Do you use any of these strategies in your life already? Let me know!
/Sara Bäckmo



In the morning:

Make sure that you know at least one thing that your partner has planned for the day before you go your different ways in the morning. It could be anything from an important meeting with the boss to a dentist's appointment or a parent-teacher conference.
Time: 2 minutes each day x 5 work days
Total: 10 minutes

When you meet again at night:

Make time for a stress-free conversation at the end of the day. Talk about anything you want, make sure to listen and support your partner actively.
Time: 20 minutes x 5 work days
Total: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Show appreciation:
Take a moment every day to show your partner how much you appreciate them.
Time: 5 minutes every day x 7 days
Total: 35 minutes

Physical closeness:
Hug, kiss and hold each other. Say goodnight in a loving way. Let your partner know that any tension that might have been building during the day is gone now, and that you forgive them for anything that happened.
Time: 5 minutes every day x 7 days
Total: 35 minutes

Make time for each other:
Make time for each other. You don't have to do anything special, just take that time to appreciate each other. Show interest and pay attention to what's going on with your partner. Think about what you can ask your partner, for example: "Are you still thinking about refurbishing the bedroom?", "How did your salary negotiation go?", "Where do you want to go on our vacation?"
Time: 2 hours x 1 day a week
Total: 2 hours

You can do all of this in just five hours per week. As you can see, you don't need to make any huge changes in your daily life to make it work. These five magic hours can make a big difference for your partner and your relationship!

Philip Bäckmo - inspired by John Gottman

One response to “Gardening and The five magic hours”

  1. Deborah Booth says:

    What special advice -thank you

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