Raising a family is for sure stressful, and all that stress can cause problems in a couple’s relationship sooner or later. Well, many couple dealing with exactly those issues, can seemingly overcome them by adopting to what’s called the “3×3 rule,” and it is highly recommended for couples managing a family.
What is 3×3 rule?
The basics of the rule is that each parent gets three hours a week just for themselves. They can be taken anytime three times a week, but regardless when it’s that parent’s time they are left completely alone and can do whatever they want. In addition, the couple also sets aside three hours for them to spend as a couple, doing whatever they want together. Enjoying their freedom and space to the maximum.
Getting into a relationship and being married with kids can throw your life into a roller coaster ride. Time previously spent one-on-one with your partner is sacrificed for potty training, trips to the daycare, frequent diaper changing sessions and spending sleepless nights. Soon enough, your life holds no resemblance to its former self and you somehow feel trapped and suffocated.
If you aren’t careful, this whirlwind of life can overwhelm you and drive your once flourishing relationship with the woman of your dreams into an interminable downhill plunge.
Date nights are like dreams now, alone time becomes impossible and your relationship is suddenly struggling to stay afloat in the restless sea of parenthood. For many women a life after giving a birth is spent as a post Partum depression. You’ll see a drastic change in everything. Sound crazy and scary right?
Unfortunately, this tumultuous life is the ruin of so many couples. If you aren’t intentional and protective of the time you spend together and alone, you can’t expect to fare any better than these couples.
So, how do you do it? How do you avoid unnecessary conflict and hold your marriage together while facing the difficulties of new parenthood and building a family? Here comes the 3×3 rule as a rescue.
Today, we’re going to discuss what exactly the 3×3 rule is, the impact it could have on your relationship, and how to know if you need it in your marriage.
The 3×3 rule is a way to intentionally plan your time together as a couple and alone. Every week, you and your wife set three hours aside to spend alone with one another, and another three hours to spend completely by yourselves.
This time can be taken all in one day or split up and spread across the week as you like.
The most important part of this whole arrangement is that the time is non-negotiable.
Whether this means setting up a babysitter every week or dropping the kids off to grandparents, you must find some way to spend this time together.
Once this time becomes non-negotiable, your relationship begins to heal and you are able to overcome all the resentment and petty arguments and find more understanding in your marriage.
The major benefits of the 3×3 rule in a relationship
1. Creates a sort of Structure in a relationship
Structure in a relationship creates efficiency, predictability, and ultimately, peace of mind.
Having the strict structure of the 3×3 rule in your relationship will transform it into a thought-out, well-organized partnership that will be much more fulfilling than before.
Without some form of structure to your time and how you spend your days, each hour of your life will feel hectic, stressful, and off-balance.
The 3×3 rule provides this sorely needed balance to your life.
Time apart won’t feel fleeting or stolen anymore. You’ll look forward to your dates and your time alone without this feeling of guilt or shunning of responsibility.
2. Helps in easing of Relationship related Tension
Taking that one date night a week or those precious solo evening strolls can do so much more than you would expect.
So many arguments and so much general discontent can be avoided when you have time apart.
Marriages are about finding balance and the 3×3 rule provides this balance.
So many couples, who felt their relationship had genuinely slipped out of their control, found that after about a month of the 3×3 rule, they were able to heal their relationship to some extent.
Their minds were more peaceful, their time together was more meaningful, and their time with their children was much more quality.
The time you spend on your own gives you the ability and perspective to reflect on your past week and work out how best to approach the upcoming week.
- It’ll help you become a Better spouse and parent
Time spent alone gives you space to rejuvenate, focus on what it is you consider valuable in life, and ultimately make you a better parent when you return to your kids.
Children can tell when the time you spend with them is more obligatory than voluntary and when each hour you spend with them feels like a drag, they feel less loved.
When you take intentional time away from them to focus on yourself, your return will be much more exciting for you and them.
Time alone means fun. The 3×3 rule has helped so many couples with hectic lives rediscover things that they once loved in their pre-parent days.
Kids bring so much responsibility to your life as a parent and it’s easy to forget what you used to do for fun and you start to feel dull and lifeless.
Take those three hours apart each week to do the things that you once did that made you happy.
How To Know if You are in Need of the 3×3 Rule
Not everyone needs rules in their relationship.
Maybe you’re one of those precious few couples who just seem to be able to coast through life together, unbothered by the conflict that tears others so easily apart.
The likelihood is you’re not though, and the 3×3 rule could massively benefit your deteriorating relationship.
Here are a few signs that you may be able to benefit from the 3×3 rule, or absolutely need it:
1. The never ending responsibilities
The moment you’re done with work, you’re back home taking care of the kids and making dinner and other household chores. And when that’s done, you now mentally prepare yourself for the work in the morning.
Even the weekends are all the same. From taking the kids out for leisure time to preparing meals for the week ahead, you really feel there is no free time.
If this is the case, the 3×3 rule could be a welcome change. Even just a few hours on your own can massively impact your frame of mind.
Oftentimes good parents feel that their family’s schedule should always take priority. While this is generally the case, it is important to recognize the necessity of time away.
2. There’s a feeling of division
If you feel there is an insurmountable divide between you and your partner, something must be done.
Setting aside those six hours a week can rescue your marriage. When kids come along, your romantic relationship tends to slip gingerly into the backseat.
While you should understand that the life of a parent will never be that of a couple without kids, you need to protect your time together to keep your relationship strong.
You may be thinking, surely three hours a week can’t save my marriage.
Trust me it can. And not just three…six. The time you spend on your own is often just as needed as that spent with your partner.
Relationships bring with them many hardships. It’s your job to turn these hardships into speed bumps rather than brick walls.
3. No Time Together or for each other
This is perhaps the easiest way to tell if you need the 3×3 rule. While it may sound simple to say if you never have time completely alone or with your partner, you need the 3×3 rule.
You’d be surprised by the number of couples who come to me who feel distant from each other. When I ask how much time they spend together each week, they just look at each other blankly.
Recognizing when you don’t get enough time together and apart is the first step to mending your broken relationship.
Finding the right balance with your partner will bring the two of you closer and make you the parents you want to be and also your kids will also feel much more loved and comfortable.