If you have been involved with the same person for over a year, you may have discovered that it is a challenge to keep the romance alive. Life becomes a bit too comfortable after an extended period of time. Things may even get, dare to say... BORING!
What is this magical 2-2-2 that's going to keep that connection going and growing? Where did it come from and what does it involve exactly?
This 2-2-2 rule become a highly discussed topic on Reddit started by the user ckernan2.
He recommends dating your partner.
While the idea sounds simple in theory, especially for childless couples, there can be a lot of roadblocks in the way of achieving this 2-2-2 goal. Let's explored some potential pitfalls and possible solutions to help make this easier in the real world. We will go one "2" at a time.
Every 2 weeks go on a date with your significant other
Potential pitfalls that come to mind:
lack of spending money
conflicting time schedules
out of town on business
Solutions to consider and work with:
Lack of money - luckily dating doesn't have to cost anything at all; it is more about spending time with one another above all else. Try taking a drive to the beach or the lake, pack a picnic lunch or dinner with food from home and listen to your favorite songs on your phone or car stereo.
Conflicting time schedules - does one on you work days and the other nights? Someone work two jobs or volunteer in their spare time? Sit down together and look at the week ahead. See where there are openings and try to find one (or more) that overlap. This may mean taking a lunch hour together or going out to a midnight movie. Working together and pre-planning will help identify times you can spend together that you may not have thought of before.
Out-of-town on extended business trip - Can you go with your partner for all or some of the trip? Have a bookend date the night before and night after your special someone returns home. Step outside the box and have a virtual date over Zoom, you can even DoorDash the same food to both of your locations.
No childcare - If you have young children, and no other family nearby, this may become a big issue for you. Parents struggle to find alone time, especially in their children's early years. With sitters making upwards of $15-20 an hour in some areas, a date night can become unaffordable quite quickly. If you have friends in the same situation, this may become the perfect arrangement for both families. Trade date nights with your friends; they watch your children one night and you watch theirs the other. No friends in town? Plan a backyard date night after the kids are in bed. Grill a nice steak dinner, light a few candles, and turn on your favorite songs. Maybe even put on your dancing shoes and take a spin around the patio.
Every 2 months go away with your partner
Let's face it. The longer the date is meant to last, the more potential problems that are going to attempt to prevent it from happening.
Sticking with the same hypothetical pitfalls, let's find some practical work arounds to help make more time for you and your honey.
Lack of money - you and your better half would love a weekend away, but the bank account just can't swing it. Airfare, hotel, food, it all adds up too fast! Instead of thinking big and splurging, refocus and remember the main idea is to reconnect and spend time with one another. This doesn't have to be at a swanky five-star hotel. Camping can be a very economical weekend getaway. Snuggling close together in a tent and around a campfire may be just what you both need to get that spark raging again! A two-person tent can cost you under $70 and can be used over and over again.
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Conflicting time schedules - Preplanning your weekend getaway is going to be essential here. Block out your weekend (or weekends) months in advance and let your boses, family, childcare providers approve and mark down that you won't be available on those given dates. Whenever the schedules of more than one person is involved it is imperative that you communicate the details and dates with all parties involved. When the weekend gets closer, confirm with all parties that these times and dates still work.
Out of town on extended business trip - If your significant other travels a lot without you, trying to plan a trip together can be a challenge. Going back to the original suggestion for date night, try and piggyback on your partners trip. If they are at a conference for the week, see if it is feasible for you to come up for the weekend once it is over.
No childcare - Have kids that you adore but need some Mommy & Daddy time? Check with Grandma and Grandpa and see if they are able and willing to take the kids for the weekend. No luck on grandparents? Check with your friends if they have an older child who is a college student who may want to earn some extra cash for the weekend. Many times students are willing to extend a lower cost to you as it is for the entire weekend and the kids are sleeping for an extended period of time while they are babysitting.
Every 2 years, go away together for a week
How many times have you heard of couples who go on an amazing honeymoon and then don't travel solo (without the kids) for a decade or more. It happens all of the time. It doesn't just have to be kids though, careers get in the way of these romantic getaways as well. Taking a week away just seems so out of reach. Although it is challenging, it is also really important to make your relationship a priority in your life. Sometimes things means making hard choices or going above and beyond what you thought was possible.
Lack of funds - if you are committed to the 2-2-2 rule, then you know that this trip is going to come every 2 years. This isn't a surprise, and therefore can be and should be financially budgeted for. Sit down with your partner at the beginning of the year when you are planning your budget, and decide where you want to go on your next trip. Look at airfare, cruise prices, hotels, rental cars, excursions and put together a rough estimate on how much your week long getaway will cost you. Then add 10%. Similar to when you have your house painted, or floors redone, you want to build in overage so you don't fall short on funds if you initial estimates were slightly off.
Conflicting time schedules - pre-planning is king here as well. If you and your partner both work, find out when you can both get time off, and get it in the books early. With time on your side, you should be able to carve out this important time for both of you. Remember, this is every two years, and many people have 2 weeks or more of vacation time annually, so while this may seem impossible, this trip is actually quite doable. Don't put off locking in those dates though, or life will get in the way, and then it will be even harder to find that vacation time together. Make this a priority for your year.
Out of town on extended business trip - honestly this should only be an issue if one or both of you are working separately abroad. With the entire calendar an "open book" for a two year span, you should be able to find one week to be able to spend together. If you can't because of work abroad, try to make the effort to travel to where your domestic partner is and enjoy a week together where they are working or attending school.
No childcare - a week without the kids might sound like a dream to some parents and a nightmare to others. Depending upon your children's ages this may be all together impractical if factors are involved such as breastfeeding. A separate "family" vacation may be in order here, and you are going to need some backup help to make this work. For the sake of this example, we are going to call in Grandma and Grandpa to the rescue.
Plan the vacation that you and your partner want to take and book an extra room for G & G to stay in with the kiddos. Make sure that you are your honey have your own private room. Plan one activity a day and one sit down meal just for the two of you. Explain to any older children that you may have that this is a special trip where Mom and Dad get to spend some quality time together as well as having some bonus time with them.
If you are fortunate enough to have family willing to take the kids for the week and your children are old enough for you to go, then GO!! This will not only be a blessing for your relationship, but for your family too. When Mom and Dad are happy the whole family benefits.
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Are you ready to implement the 2-2-2 rule in your relationship? With a little work you can stay in that honeymoon phase longer than you ever imagined was possible. Fall in love all over again, and keep putting that time investment into each other. The payoff with be worth it!
Bless Myself Blog
Certified Life Coach, Mother of Five, Wife, Christian, Homeowner & Friend