How Rituals Keep Your Marriage Strong

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Chances are you and your spouse have plenty of rituals, you just don't know it.  A "couple ritual" is, by definition, a planned, recurring exchange between two people in a loving relationship that is meaningful and powerful. Rituals are regular reminders of the connection you share with your spouse. You craft them together to symbolize your love and connection.  Rituals also help build and solidify the sense of security you have with each other.

Ritualistic activities may be quite simple or elaborate, and may vary daily or yearly. They enable a couple to focus on each other and their relationship in a positive way and on a habitual basis. They are conscious and mindful acts that keep us accountable for not letting our marriage turn stale. 

Here are some examples of relationship rituals:

  • Greeting hello or goodbye with a hug, kiss or phrase you like to use
  • Asking about each others' day
  • Calling or texting just to check-in during the day
  • Sending each other funny "selfies"
  • Leaving notes for each other
  • Reading a book together
  • Spending a morning in bed talking or cuddling
  • Setting up a specific time of day to talk and catch up
  • Regular date nights
  • Sharing a hobby
  • Taking a class together
  • Doing volunteer work together
  • Attending religious events together
  • Playing board games with each other
  • Looking through photo albums together
  • Cooking a meal together
  • Using endearing nicknames for each other
  • Telling each other something good that happened to you that day

Rituals serve several purposes: (1) they attach your emotions to a particular behavior, (2) they provide structure to your exchanges, (3) they improve your emotional engagement during an interaction, (4) they help you create a mood or emotion that you desire (5) they create a strong sense of "we-ness" and a feeling of togetherness.

Regardless of what you do, these gestures are consequential exchanges that will remind you why you chose to be together.  Remember that rituals are co-created between the two of you and can be almost anything that generates a moment of emotional connection.  These moments are significant even when they seem small. It is the day to day small moments that often have the biggest impact on the overall quality of your relationship. 

To determine if you currently have rituals, ask yourself what you and your partner do on a regular basis to show that you are there for each other?  In what ways do you demonstrate that you are on each other's minds even when not in each other's presence?  Rituals usually begin quite organically.  However, if you have difficulty answering, you can without doubt begin to create some rituals between each other.

One way to start establishing a ritual is to simply just do it.  Eventually, it will become a ritual if it is done on a regular basis.  If you are the one taking this initiative, your partner will then begin to expect that type of behavior from you.  He or she in turn is likely to develop a complementary response.  Regardless of what you both decide individually or together, know that this is part of the "work" that a long-term marriage requires, but it is probably one of the most fun parts.

  It is when we do not have these interactions and just cruise by on automatic pilot that we wake up one day and realize we are totally disconnected from our spouse. Rituals provide an easy and meaningful fix!  

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON: What Happy Couples Do by Carol Bruess & Anna Kudek for more ritual ideas!

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