The 3x3 Rule In Relationships Can Help You Secure Quality Time With Your Partner - And Yourself

Whether you are married, dating, or somewhere in between, quality time with your partner is often hard to come by. Add kids into the mix and suddenly the idea of having time, whether with your partner or by yourself, is non-existent. This can leave many of us feeling out of touch with ourselves and even resentful towards our partners. In fact, many people seem to feel disconnected or worse, even break up with their partners, after having babies.

If you are looking to strengthen your relationship and avoid losing it, there are many things you can do. There are some effective, albeit cliché, ways to spend your time together, from forming a new hobby you both love to playing video games together or going to the gym. But if you are already lacking time, these may not be so feasible. Not to mention, they are more focused on the unit than the individuals. This is where the 3x3 rule comes in, a relationship method recommended by marriage counselors that may be just the thing you and your partner need.

What to know about the 3x3 rule

All it took was one unannounced nap with two young children at home Bek Day and her husband to have it out –- and to fix their marriage. Day, who wrote about her relationship with KidSpot, said that it was her husband who suggested the 3x3 rule after hearing it from a friend who had gone to a marriage counselor. And while the rule is quite simple, it can truly change the game for couples.

Basically, it entails carving out three hours for each person to have alone time, whatever that time means for then. This can mean three hours out of the house shopping or three 1-hour naps throughout the week -– whatever refuels your soul. It also suggests finding three additional hours to spend as a couple alone, sans phones. For Day and her husband, this meant 30 minutes a night chatting about their days after their kids went to bed but for some, this may mean a weekly date night. However you choose to spend your time, the rule allows both parties to know that they will get the alone time they crave, both truly alone and alone with their partner, making all the other times where kids are jumping on you seem not as daunting.

How to make the 3x3 rule work for your relationship

Having a set time to be alone sounds wonderful, but actually doing it can seem impossible. But, if you really plan out your day, most people are able to find three hours throughout the week to dedicate to themselves and their relationship. Andrew Ferebee, best-selling author and men's coach, often recommends the 3x3 rule to his clients who are having struggles in their relationships, especially those who have recently had children. In order to truly make this rule work, you need to look at it as non-negotiable, meaning that no matter what the week brings, those three hours alone and three hours together must happen.

Of course, how you spend your time is entirely up to you, but Ferebee recommends using it to reconnect with yourself and each other. This means doing something that is fun for you or something you enjoyed doing before you had kids or before you got into the relationship. Doing the 3x3 rule correctly and efficiently can lead to open communication, less tension, and an overall sense of calm that your relationship may be missing. And don't let the rule stop at three hours -– if you are able, it can expand to a 4x4 rule and beyond, just ensure both partners are getting the same amount of quality time.