how to keep love
Have you ever seen an older couple out and about, as in love as ever? Hold hands, lean on your shoulders, make each other laugh?
Keeping a relationship alive and healthy beyond the initial “honeymoon” period isn’t just about love—it takes mutual effort and commitment. Fortunately, there are many methods that couples can use to keep the spark alive. One of the most effective of these strategies is the 2-2-2 rule!
What is the 2-2-2 rule?
This 2-2-2 rule is a simple guide that couples can follow to work on their connection and keep that honeymoon phase alive for life.
The prompt can be broken down into three simple steps.
Go out at night every two weeks. Go out for the weekend every two months. And eventually going out for a week every two years.
Why do relationships fail? Every dynamic is different, but most relationship problems boil down to one of three things: lack of communication, lack of trust, or lack of intimacy. Once people settle into a relationship, it can be easy for them to feel comfortable and put the courtship on hold. You may be tempted to focus on other aspects of your life after finding “Your Person.” While your relationship doesn’t have to dominate every part of your existence, make sure you don’t take your partner for granted.
Of course, people change and evolve throughout life, causing their priorities to constantly change. Maintaining a healthy relationship over several years requires remembering what drew you to your partner in the first place while also spending time growing with your partner and understanding who they have become.
The 2-2-2 rule reminds you to make room for your relationship, to keep you connected, and to make sure the fire between you keeps burning.
2-2-2 Rule One
Go out at night every two weeks.
When you have a job and other personal commitments, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of having dinner and dinner at home every day and then going to bed. Break the monotony by planning a date night! Whether you’re trying something new or visiting a restaurant that’s significant in your relationship, dining out is a great way to break the rut. Want to make it even more special? Keep electronic devices away from the table so you can have a private conversation. If time and money allow, you can also continue the celebration with tickets to a show or drinks in a lounge.
Don’t have a night off? Plan a date during the day! Take your partner to a picnic in a botanical garden, to a new exhibition, or maybe to a concert in the park. By coming up with a creative outing, you can show your partner that you still care and want to have fun with them.
2-2-2 Rule Two
Go out for the weekend every two months!
Every two months, pack a weekend bag, call your cat sitter, and take a mini couples vacation. Going out for a weekend every few months gives you and your partner a chance to unwind together.
Whether it’s heading to the coast, sleeping under the stars, or exploring a new city together, this break allows you to share new experiences and create lasting memories as a couple. In addition, spending some time alone with your partner gives you an opportunity to get rid of the worries of everyday life.
If you can’t leave the city, plan a stay instead! Let your friends and family know you won’t be available this weekend and focus on spending some time together. Sleeping in, ordering pizza, and putting off chores can also be a great reboot, and taking that break can be a helpful way to keep the spark alive.
2-2-2 Rule Three
Go out for a week every two years.
When your world is all work and no play, the fire tends to go out in all areas of life, but it can be especially hard on relationships. Plan those vacation days and make a commitment, with your partner, to taking a week off every few years — as a bare minimum. Whether you’re headed to a snowy mountain cabin in the winter or a tropical resort in the summer, discuss with your partner where you’d like to share a week-long adventure.
Remember that a key component of this journey is staying stress-free. Stress kills intimacy. Don’t bring any work with you and also make sure that you don’t stress yourself out about the date. If you feel too much pressure to make your time together perfect, it will have the opposite effect on your relationship. Do not put the date on a pedestal. Go with the flow and have fun! Find silver linings even when things don’t go according to plan.
Will the 2-2-2 rule work for you?
It’s important to remember that these guidelines are loose suggestions, not hard and fast rules. Sometimes work, kids, and pets can keep us from taking too much time. There may also be physical or financial barriers that prevent us from straying too far from home. What matters is that you make some space to spend time with your partner in whatever capacity you work for.
Take these rules and make them your own. Consider adding more steps! Perhaps you can tell your partner that you think of them every two hours, or maybe plan a grandiose display of love every 20 years. Regardless of what you decide, by making an effort to keep the spark alive, you are preparing yourself and your relationship for happiness.
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