Research shows that couples who adjust their schedules 5.5 hours a week increase intimacy and closeness (Gottman, 2008). This is based on couples who have made progress in therapy/coaching and seem to continue making progress outside of therapy/coaching.
Here is the the ares of change taken verbatim from Gottman’s Library of Interventions (2008):
Partings: Don’t part in the morning without knowing one interesting thing that
will happen in your partner’s day, and kiss for a minimum of six
seconds. Two minutes a day x five working days. Total 10 minutes.
Reunions: The six-second kiss. The stress-reducing conversation. Each partner
take 10 minutes to talk about your day. Partner does active listening.
Give support. Rule: Understanding must precede advice. Twenty
minutes a day x five days. Total 1 hour 40 minutes.
Admiration and Appreciation: Find some way every day to genuinely
communicate affection and appreciation for your partner. Five
minutes a day x seven days. Total 35 minutes.
Affection: Kiss, hold, grab, touch each other. Play is good. Make sure to kiss
each other before going to sleep, and follow the admonition in
Ephesians, “Do not let the sun set on your wrath.” The six-second
kiss. Five minutes a day x seven days. Total 35 minutes.
Love Maps: Update your Love Maps. Turn towards one another. Go out on a
marital date. Two hours once a week. Think of great questions to ask
your partner (e.g., “How are you thinking of changing the bedroom
these days?” or “What would be your idea of a great getaway?” or
“How are you thinking about your work these days?”). These dates
can sometimes be about resolving a relationship or marital issue.
Aftermath of a Fight: (Six Step Process not included here)For the first few months after treatment, consider practicing an aftermath of a fight once a week. We encourage you to
use it with smaller disagreements so that you can get the hang of the
six steps encompassed in the process. Remember that the masters of
marriage rarely use all six steps at the same time. John Gottman
created this process for the purpose of learning all six steps. Do this
process 20 times, and you’ll find yourself incorporating different
aspects of it spontaneously while discussing an area of disagreement
(e.g., listening and validating your partner’s subjective reality or
catching if one of you is flooded or taking responsibility for some
piece of the issue). Thirty minutes once a week