How You Can Use The '2-2-2 Rule' To Strengthen Your Relationship

Do you remember the last time you and your significant other grabbed something to eat outside someplace? It was just the two of you, without the kids (if you have any). Do you recall how the small break from the responsibilities of life made you feel relaxed? Perhaps you even felt closer to your partner at the end of it. 

Marriage therapists and relationship experts would tell you how spending quality time with your spouse can strengthen your union, but somehow, when the busyness of life gets all too real, this is the first thing that seems to fall by the wayside. Who has the time? Well, it would seem that after the resurgence of a seemingly simple relationship rule that was first shared by a Reddit user by the name of ckernan2 in 2015, making room for quality time might be more important than you think (via Lifehacker). The Redditor shared that they have lived by the 2-2-2 rule since the day they tied the knot. "People still ask how long our honeymoon phase will last. I think it'll last as long as we stick to our 2's," they shared. 

So, what exactly is the 2-2-2 rule? And how can following it ensure you have a relationship that lasts a lifetime

The ins and outs of the 2-2-2 rule: How beneficial can it be?

Whether you're newlyweds looking to strengthen your bond or a couple that's been together for years hoping to reconnect with each other, the 2-2-2 rule might be worth trying. According to Redditor ckernan2, the rule is simply that, "Every two weeks, we go out for the evening. Every two months, we go out for the weekend. Every two years, we go out for a week."

Psychoanalyst and marriage counselor Kimberly Hershenson told Fox News that she's worked with clients who were almost about to get divorced but benefitted greatly from incorporating the 2-2-2 rule into their lives. The intentional time carved out to spend with each other allows partners to check in with each other, which ultimately leads to greater understanding. Date night, as a tool to keep the spark alive, is not in any way a new concept. You might even be doing a few date nights a year with your spouse already. Couples counselor Kari Rusnak wrote for Psychology Today that devoting undistracted attention to your partner over a shared activity like a meal or even a board game can fuel feelings of greater connection. Rusnak added that your "emotional bank" can be filled this way too.

How to incorporate the 2-2-2 rule into your relationship

When it comes down to actually following through, although a good launching pad might be to stick with the 2-2-2 rule, you can shift the numbers around to make them more financially and logistically feasible to you. For example, if once every two weeks for a date night seems a bit much, you can make it once every three weeks instead. If a week-long vacation every two years is not possible with work commitments and finances, try committing to a week every three or four years.

Kari Rusnak said in Psychology Today that date nights don't always have to be an elaborate affair. Getting outdoors and walking, cooking a meal together at home, or taking a dance class together are just as effective. Kimberly Hershenson told Fox News that couples shouldn't, however, dedicate their time together to get into the nitty gritties of their relationship woes. "It's just as important to have fun and relax, enjoying a nice meal or a movie," she said. 

When it comes to the weekend away every two months and the week-long vacation every couple of years, sit down with your spouse and come up with a list of places you'd like to visit. Traveling together can be a bonding exercise as much as a chance to know things about your partner you don't already know, and a romantic getaway may be just what you need to breathe new life into your marriage