Making a relationship last a lifetime can seem like an overwhelming task.
But keeping a marriage or relationship fresh and connected every day is a choice you can make every second, minute, hour, and week of the year.
It doesn't take much to remind your partner or spouse that you are still happy with the choice you've made. I've developed a "rule of three" to help couples stay on top of their relationship's intimacy.
I know rules aren't the sexiest thing on the planet, but these may surprise you.
1. Rule One: Every Day
Do you remember that old hypothetical situation where someone will offer you either a million dollars right now or a penny doubled each day? If you took the million dollars, you'd miss out on nearly 5 million dollars.
That's how this rule works.
If you will find 10 seconds out of every day to remind your partner or spouse that you love them, and commit to that practice, by the end of month, you will have built up incredible positive regard that can help prevent or repair from nasty conflict.
What can you do in 10 second?
How about a text message? A love note written on a post-it? Do you any tokens of affection that you share? Could you hide it under a pillow? Underneath a windshield wiper?
There are innumerable ways that you can send a positive message in only 10 seconds. Find one each day to start, then increase your time by 5 seconds as you start to get a little more creative.
2. Rule Two: Every Week
This one can be more challenging if you have kids, but it is all the more important.
It is still task-oriented, which means that you may have to schedule some babysitting or have the kids stay with family members.
I'm a big advocate for parents getting away for a lunch or dinner together alone, even if it means postponing one of the kids' activities.
Parents' schedules should be more important at least one day of the week. Yes, there's football games, band activities, or theater performances to get to, but parents who put their relationship as a priority make their kids emotionally safe.
Plan a night out. Go to a breakfast or lunch together. Share a meal at home that is intentionally set apart from the kids' table. Your children need to know that your relationship is important.
3. Rule Three: Every Month
This one may be easier than you think. The monthly task isn't so much about event planning as it is about meaning-making. If you have the ability to get away for a night or two, then by all means, take advantage of it. There's no need to let those Marriott points just sit there without being used.
However, if you're like me and life gets hectic sometimes, something like a handpicked bouquet of flowers may send just the right message.
I once had a coupe who wrote a love letter from his office and mailed it to his partner from his office at the end of each month.
The monthly task does not need to take your money, just your time and creative energy.
Get going on these tasks to help you jump-start a relationship bogged down by responsibility or childcare. They can be a great way to renew a commitment or create that spark again.