Photo by Cher Knebel

The Real “Happy” of Happy Hour

Since February is the month of love, I’d like to share with you a little activity my husband and I have been doing once a week to keep our relationship close and connected for the nearly two decades of our marriage. Oh I know what you may be thinking but it’s something else—it’s meeting for happy hour.

Photo by Cher Knebel
Photo by Cher Knebel

It seems like such a simple thing but until we didn’t get to do it for an entire year, I didn’t realize the power in our little weekly ritual. That was a few years ago when we were living in Arizona and he got a new job in CA and I stayed back with our kids to sell the house and let them finish the school year.

For a lot of people, when they think “happy hour”, they think cocktails and bars but for us, meeting for happy hour (typically on a Thursday) means a break from the outside world when all that matters is the two of us sharing our week and letting someone wait on us for a change. When it’s a good week, we are toasting each other and giving thanks for our extra blessings and when it’s a bad week, we are there to console one another and just listen. We always tried to carve out the time once a week or on a weekend no matter what was going on with work, what mood we were in or how old our kids were. When they were still young, we’d bring them along with us but to more family-friendly establishments.

During the lean years when money was tight due to various reasons, we’d forgo our typical shared appetizer and have soft drinks instead of real drinks. Even now with both of us working full-time, we still just have one drink each and it’s not always a spirit. Or for those who are on special eating plans, you can always order a small house salad like I do while my husband orders a happy hour appetizer that he enjoys.

Studies have consistently shown that relationships need face-to-face connecting to keep them strong and healthy. For those whose spouses travel or are in the military, getting together for some real shared time is even more sacred when they are back home. For  more ideas on how two-career couples stay happy, check out this blog post in the Harvard Business Review here.  Or for a little glimpse at a time when my husband and I weren’t so comfy cozy at our local pub but instead were dealing with conflict, read my earlier post here.

If you’re like me and  meet up with your partner or a friend at happy hour or like to connect another way each week, please share in the comments below and let me know how that activity is keeping your relationship strong.

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Cher Vierra Knebel

Cher Knebel is a professional writer, blogger and founder of Living Happily blog and website dedicated to sharing stories, happiness research and resources that focus on the positive impact of having close personal relationships and social connections. Join her community of happiness seekers and friendship promoters by visiting her website at

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