Marriage Advice! Why Couples Swear by the ‘Three-Hour Night’

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Kids are complete c*ckblockers. Even when they aren’t demanding snacks and cuddles, the whole dynamic changes once you have children. Marriage advice 101 suggests we need to find time for our relationship but this can be tricky! 

It’s pretty common for families to feel like they are in a bit of a rut, especially during the nighttime when the routine needs to be pretty tight to ensure everyone is bathed, fed and asleep by a decent hour. 

We have a lot on our plates and often at night, we just want to sit back and stare at a TV or our phones just to digest the day. Many couples agree that finding the time to connect as a couple, well, it just doesn’t happen as often as they want, or that they were once used to. 

This is why one couple shared their awesome marriage advice of introducing something called the Three-Hour Night into their tedious nighttime routine. And they swear it’s been a game-changer. 

What is the Three-Hour Night?

As explained by Rachel Higgins, a mum and TikTok influencer, a three-hour night divvies the night-time routine into three one-hour slots. So, let’s say the three-hour night starts at 7 pm. 

7 pm to 8 pm: Productive Time

7 pm to 8 pm is called “productive time” where you and your husband work as a team to divide and conquer all the mess, chores and bedtime routines.

This most likely involves bathing children, brushing kids’ hair and reading them books, cleaning the kitchen after dinner, loading the dishwasher, and perhaps folding a load of washing. 

If the kids are pretty good at going to bed on their own, or if the kids go to bed earlier, then you can use this time to be even more productive. Rachel admits something she and her husband will organise the pantry, clean the hall closet or clean the bathrooms during this productive time. 

“So start with like a quick cleanup of the kitchen or just like things that accumulated throughout the day, and then we try to do something that either … has been being put off or cleaning the bathroom or like organizing the pantry or hall closet or something like, super random like sharpening the knives. Anything that’s productive for the household,” she explains.

8 pm to 9 pm – Couple Time

This hour is for you and your partner to reconnect. No phone or TV allowed. 

“So, that could be things like showering together or ‘having fun’ together, playing a game together, or just like anything that’s gonna get you guys talking and connecting or like debriefing from the day or just like talking about what you’re doing and like the plans for tomorrow or like how works going or whatever. So, anything that’s gonna connect and strengthen and build your marriage,” Rachel says.

9 pm to 10 pm – Zone Out Time

Now, because we all need a bit of time to just sit and stare, from 9 pm to 10 pm, this is your time to debrief from the day, relax in a house that’s just been tidied and enjoy whatever you want to do. An episode of a TV series. A chapter of a book. An hour of watching YouTube shorts. It’s entirely up to you. This is your time. 

why mums stay up late
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Best marriage advice: A ‘game-changer’

Before incorporating the three-hour night, Rachel admits her and her husband’s routine was pretty boring. Their daughter would go to bed and they would lounge on the couch, scroll through social media and fall asleep. Not a lot of connecting going on and we totes get it. I can imagine this is what most of our nights look like. 

There are a few issues with the three-hour night. For one, it can be tricky to do this every night. Sometimes you’ve got things on at night. My daughter’s sports don’t even finish til 8 pm three nights a week!

Late nights at work, PTA meetings, school concerts, your own activities, dinner parties – all of these can get in the way of the three-hour night. Plus, if you have a child who needs 18 stories, 15 glasses of water and 25 minutes of foot rubs before they go to sleep, then this might interfere with the routine. 

Rachel admits she and her husband also don’t have the time for a three-hour night every day of the week but they aim to do it three nights a week. Even once a week would be beneficial for my household and break up the monotony a bit. And that one hour of productive time means you can actually go to sleep without a pile of chores waiting for you the next morning. Love that for me. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m giving it a go this week. Who’s joining me?

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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