How To Make Love Last
Do you ever see an elderly couple out and about, as in love as ever? Holding hands, resting on each other’s shoulders, making 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. Luckily, there are many methods that couples can use to keep the spark alive. One of the most effective of these strategies is known as the 2-2-2 rule!
What Is the 2-2-2 Rule?
This 2-2-2 rule is a simple outline that couples can follow to work on their connection and keep that honeymoon phase going for a lifetime.
The prompt can be split into three simple steps.
Every two weeks, go out for the
evening. Every two months, go out for the weekend. And, finally, once every two
years, go out for a week.
Why do relationships fail? Each
dynamic is different, but most relationship problems can be boiled down to one
of three things: a lack of communication, a lack of trust, or a lack of
intimacy. Once people get settled in a relationship, it can be easy for them to
get comfortable and put courtship on the backburner. You may be tempted to start
focusing on other aspects of your life after you find “Your Person.” However,
while your relationship doesn’t have to dominate every part of your existence, be
careful that you don’t start taking your partner for granted.
Of course, people change and evolve over the course of life, which means that their priorities are constantly in flux. Maintaining a healthy relationship over multiple years requires that you remember what attracted you to your partner in the first place while also spending time growing with your partner and understanding who they’ve become.
The 2-2-2 rule reminds you to make space for your relationship, keeping you in touch with each other and ensuring that the fire between you keeps burning.
2-2-2 Rule One
Every two weeks, go out for the evening.
When you have a job and other
personal obligations, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of making and eating
dinner at home and then going to bed every single day. Break up the monotony by
planning a date night! Whether you’re trying something new or revisiting a
restaurant that carries significance in your relationship, going out for a meal
is a great way to break yourself out of a rut. Want to make it even more
special? Keep electronic devices off the table so you can enjoy a
distraction-free conversation. If time and money allow, you can also celebrate
each other further with tickets to a show or drinks at a lounge.
Don’t have a free night? Plan a date during the daytime! Take your partner on a picnic to a botanical garden, or out to visit a new exhibit, or maybe to a concert in the park. By coming up with a creative outing, you can show your partner that you still care for them and want to have fun with them.
2-2-2 Rule Two
Every two months, go out for
Once every two months, pack a
weekend bag, call your cat sitter, and have yourself a mini couple’s vacation. Going
out for a weekend once every couple of months gives you and your partner a chance
to unwind together.
Whether you’re driving to the coast, sleeping under the stars, or exploring a new city together, this break allows you to share new experiences and form lasting memories as a couple. Furthermore, spending some time alone with your partner away from home provides you an opportunity to shed the worries of day-to-day life.
If you can’t leave town, plan a staycation instead! Let your friends and family know that you won’t be available that weekend, and focus on spending some quality time with each other. Sleeping in, ordering pizza, and putting off chores can be a great re-set too, and that break can be a helpful way to keep the spark alive.
2-2-2 Rule Three
Every two years, go out for a week.
When your world is all work and no play, the fire tends to go out in all areas of life, but it can have a particularly harsh effect on relationships. Bank those vacation days, and make a commitment with your partner to take a week off every couple of years — at a bare minimum. Whether you go to a snowy mountain cabin in the winter or a tropical resort in the summer, confer with your partner about where you would like to share a week-long adventure.
Remember that a key component of this trip is staying stress-free. Stress kills intimacy. Don’t bring work along, and also be careful that you don’t stress about the date itself. If you feel too much pressure to make your time together perfect, it’s going to have the opposite effect on your relationship. Don’t 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 is important to remember that
these guidelines are loose suggestions and not hard and fast rules. Sometimes
work, kids, and pets can keep us from being able to take too much time away.
There may also be physical or financial barriers that prevent us from straying
too far from home. What matters is that you carve out some space to have one-on-one
time with your partner in whatever capacity works for you.
Take these rules and make them your own. Consider adding more steps! Maybe you can let your partner know you’re thinking of them every two hours, or perhaps you could plan a grandiose display of love every 20 years. Regardless of what you choose to do, by making an effort to keep the spark alive, you are setting yourself and your relationship up for happiness.
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