That was when her husband suggested the ‘3×3 rule’ he had been told about by a friend who had been through marriage counselling.
“It was the catalyst for a huge, positive change in the way we relate to each other.”
The concept is simple: Each parent receives three hours each throughout the week that’s just for them.
“Those hours can be broken up or taken in a chunk – however it works into the schedule, but for three hours each week, both parties could spend time completely alone, doing whatever it was that filled their cups,” she explains.
“In addition, an extra three hours was to be put aside for couple time. Whether that was all taken at once as a date night, or divvied up into 30 minutes each night where you both put down your phones and talked once the kids were in bed, the idea was introducing some sorely needed balance into the relationship.”
Day says they’ve been implementing the new rule for a month, and she was “shocked at how much has shifted for us already”.
While they’re not magically “rested and rejuvenated”, the resentment that had previously been festering was gone.
“Knowing that I don’t need to guard my ‘me time’ with my life because it’s been wired into our family’s schedule has meant I’m less snappy when someone interrupts my precious 15 minutes of scrolling,” she says.
Now instead of “guilty driving the long way home” to get another 15 minutes in the car with her podcast, she can put time aside to listen to it later.
“And instead of snatching 10-minute blocks of hurried dot-point presentations about our day or frenzied calendar invites to keep us on schedule, we’ve managed to squirrel away several leisurely half-hours of conversation”.
They’ve even managed to organise a few date nights – and Day says she’s more accommodating of her husband’s midday naps.