We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the unconventional rules or practices they follow in their romantic relationships. Their perspectives were all super interesting and unique, and though no two relationships operate the same way, it can be helpful to hear what works for other couples. Here's what people shared with us:
1. "My wife and I will ask each other for 'cookies,' a sarcastic response to one of us wanting recognition for something minor. 'What, do you want a cookie or something?' Yes! Yes, I do! Sometimes I want recognition for shoveling the front walk. Sometimes she wants recognition for cycling through the dishes. Some days are really hard, and sometimes you really don't want to do the basics, so it's nice to have the little things recognized. We'll ask each other, 'Hey, can I have a cookie? I did XYZ,' and the other will genuinely express appreciation and recognition."
2. "No large amounts of money in our joint account! 100% my rule because I have a major tendency to want to help others, as well as a shopping problem. I literally bought my sister a car, paid off her debt to the insurance company, and paid the first year in full. I had the funds to do so outright (prior to marriage), but I have yet to tell my husband ALL of the details on that, especially since my sister and I don't have a relationship anymore. He has a savings and a checking in his name, then we have a joint checking account. He transfers money over every week so I can grocery shop, get my coffees, and do stuff with our kids. Plus, I'm always able to ask for more if needed."
"I just know I'm the type who would sponsor a dolphin if someone asked me to, and we'd have no savings! My husband and I value open communication and have full access to each other's everything, minus me having access to the thousands upon thousands of dollars he's been able to save by me not having free, unsupervised access."
3. "We never fight in the car or talk about loaded subjects in the car. My husband and I haven’t fought in a very long time, but that’s still a firm rule for us."
4. "We don't sleep in the same bed every night. He's able to wake up when he wants in the mornings, even when I have to be at work early. We also both like to 'starfish', so we have separate beds and separate bedrooms. Often, one of us will cuddle/spend time in the other’s bed before going to theirs to sleep. We both sleep a lot better this way."
5. "My husband and I lived together the first five years of our marriage, and we nearly divorced. We have different organization and cleaning styles, and it was driving us nuts. Plus, he's an extrovert and regularly goes out with friends. I'm an introvert-extrovert. I go out with friends, but not often. Now, we live four blocks from one another, talk/text everyday, and make a concerted effort to make plans — from date nights to errands. We take turns spending the night. We've been doing this for five years (10 years married now), and it's helped us so much."
6. "We say thank you to each other. Thank you for dinner, for taking the garbage out, etc. It might seem silly, but to us it’s genuine gratitude. It’s nice."
7. "If we start to say something, we have to follow through and discuss it even though it might be a touchy subject. If we started to say it, it's obviously something we want to talk about, but might be afraid to say. It keeps us more open and honest with one another and has lead to some of the best talks we've had."
8. "The house should be tidy for whoever is coming home to it. That doesn’t mean fully cleaned, but just tidy: a visually nice space for someone to return home to so they don’t feel compelled to do chores and can, instead, rest and relax. No coming home to chaos."
9. "Whenever my S.O. (of 10 years) and I argue, we periodically look each other in the eyes and say, 'We're on the same team.' It just reminds us both that we're fighting the problem, not one another."
10. "Have one or two shows you watch together and won't watch without one another. Even though you'll have your own tastes and you won't want to watch all the same things, find something you both can enjoy together, bond over, and discuss!"
11. "My wife and I have an allowance system where an amount deposits into separate accounts for each of us at each pay periods. Then, we each use our personal accounts when we're going out for lunches, buying ourselves coffees/treats, or we can save it up for bigger purchases. It totally eliminated money fights for us since most of those fights were over who was spending more on themselves."
12. "Not a rule per se, but we’re long distance and don’t talk on the phone everyday. Between our time differences and different work hours, it doesn’t make sense for us to stress about finding time every day to connect via phone. We text a lot, and it’s been working for us just fine. But, I get a lot of exasperated looks when I tell people we don’t talk everyday or spend hours on the phone when we do talk, and that we don’t FaceTime super often."
13. "My husband hates when I directly tell him to do something, like say, 'Go take out the trash.' He prefers something sugarcoated, like, 'Babe, can you please take the trash out?' Sometimes it’s annoying because I’m a very direct person, but my husband grew up in a very volatile household and was yelled at a lot, and I respect his wish. It’s works every time. The way we speak to each other is important, even if it’s about a small task."
14. "We take long walks together. Whether it's just around the neighborhood, through a park, or a full-fledged hike, it can be so cleansing! You get fresh air, time outside, and a chance to unplug and connect."
15. "Social commitments are discussed first before plans are made. And, we keep a group calendar to prevent double bookings."
16. "Have meals without our phones nearby. It can be hard, especially because I can be glued to my phone all hours because of my job, but when we make an effort to both turn our phones face down and put them on silent, we are much more present with one another and no one feels ignored."
17. Finally: "Partners do not crash girls' nights/guys' nights out. If it's specifically an event for couples, or it's a group outing with some single people and some couples, then we check in with each other and see if it's something we want to do together. It's really important we have time away from one another so we can connect with our friends. I trust him and he trusts me. Plus, I just find it uncomfortable when there's that one couple who refuses to do anything separately. I know a woman who brings her boyfriend to every outing she goes on, including her work events that are otherwise employees only. Her man crashes every girls' night, and her friends aren't a fan of it. I would never want to be 'that' couple. It's healthy to do your own thing sometimes!"
Are there any rules or practices in your relationship that you and your partner follow to keep your connection strong? Tell us in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.