Why Relationship Rituals Are Important & How to Create Them
It’s beyond cliché to talk about how modern life distracts us from being present with one another. In relationships, in particular, this can become damaging. That’s partly why Dr. John Gottman — a legendary relationship expert — has always recommended the creation of relationship rituals. A “magic six hours a week,” he calls it.
This purposeful together-time will look different for each couple. But the guiding principles are pretty consistent. You create richer connections on multiple levels by practicing rituals. They may be spiritual. They may relate to goodbyes and reunions. But they are all important.
How to Create Relationship Rituals
1. The Basics
- Taking time to properly and intimately say hello and goodbye
- Taking device breaks
- Cooking and eating meals together
- Performing errands and chores as a couple
- Teamwork when handling finances
- Celebrating holidays and daily moments
- Caring for each other when ill
- Sharing common hobbies — especially those that involve creativity
The list is literally endless but this should get the wheels turning. Another excellent example involves exercise. Fitness is important so why not commit together to this important goal? Cheer each other on!
2. Undistracted Conversation About External Life
It could begin with as simple a question as “how was your day?” The concept is to share undistracted attention to share thoughts and ideas as they pertain to external issues. Of course, you will also need time to discuss your relationship. But it is so crucial to take a focused interest in each other’s day-to-day experiences.
3. Date Nights (with cuddling and kissing)
The fun, adventure, and passion can be sustained with conscious effort. Go out together as you did when you first met. And be affectionate! Such physical contact causes your body to release oxytocin, the love hormone. This sets off a wide range of positive outcomes — that can last for days. Hold your hugs and kisses for at least six seconds.
4. Apologize When Necessary
Arguments are inevitable. It becomes more manageable when you both commit to repairing feelings after a conflict. Let your partner know you take responsibility, feel remorse, and will work to do better next time.
How to Take Your Relationship Rituals to Another Level
Have Deep Conversations
Talk regularly — face-to-face and without distractions — about your goals, dreams, fears, and more. Share important memories from time together and before you met. Be open about what feels meaningful to you. These conversations are themselves a ritual. You set aside time and energy to hold space for each other. It is a powerful way to honor each other’s inner life.
Don’t leave compliments left unsaid. If you feel appreciation, state it. When you think your partner looks great, tell them. Make gratitude a many-times-a-day practice. Surprise each other with gratitude text messages. Actively avoid taking each other for granted.
There will be times when you focus on a partner’s mistakes or shortcomings. It is thus essential to counterbalance this reality by saying “thank you” throughout the day. Also, when parting ways, let each other know that you can’t wait to reunite. When that reunion occurs, show your excitement and affection openly.
Commit Together to Couples Counseling
There is a possibility that the above suggestions feel impossible at times. You and your partner may have unknowingly drifted. Coming together again is easier said than done. Well, there’s a ritual for that, too.
Couples therapy is a powerful way to commit together routinely, in the name of repair and reconnection. Your weekly sessions become a ritual of sorts where you work with a therapist to identify the obstacles keeping you distant. Let us help. Please reach out soon for a confidential consultation.
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