A “couple ritual” or “relationship ritual” is, by definition, a prearranged, repeated activity between two people in a loving intimate relationship that is connecting, enhancing and meaningful. Rituals are regular reminders of the bond you share with your partner. It enables a couple to focus on each other and build positive dynamics that become habitual while establish conscious and mindful acts that keep the partners accountable. You create rituals together to symbolize your love and commitment to building a shared vision. In addition, rituals build a sense of security that is so needed in today’s stress and challenges.
The following are examples of healthy relationship rituals:
“Stop It and Postpone It” Rule
This is a ground rule to avoid escalation. If for whatever reason a discussion or disagreement escalates to a high degree and one of the partners feels overwhelmed, he or she has the right to ask for a “time out.” The partner can say “this isn’t a good time,” “I feel overwhelmed and need a break,” “I need a time out etc.” It is then the responsibility of that person to reschedule a time to talk about the subject within 24-48 hours.
The main point behind this tool is not to avoid discussion or connection, but to calm down and resume discussion when both partners are in a better emotional state.
Turn off Electronics at Agreed Times
In today’s modern life, electronics, and especially smartphones, may be powering down relationships. We become addicted to them and consumed by them, feeling that we cannot live without them. Yes, we may connect virtually, but to a high degree there is emotional and physical disconnection. There is no intimate connection when partners are constantly playing on their phones, Ipads, computers or watching television.
This is why I ask couples to disconnect from all electronics, put it in another room, put it on vibrate mode or even shut them off…just for a period of time. Some couples agree to turn off the television and/or phones half an hour before they go to bed so they can pay attention to each other.
They use that time to be interested in the other partner’s life, asking them about their day and how they’re doing. This habit creates connection and love in the present moment and allows them to plan their next date night, trip or fun together.
Use your Electronics to Connect
If we are on the subject of electronics, we can use it to email or text little love messages throughout the day. Messages such as “I love you.” “I miss you.” “I cannot wait to see you tonight.” “Thank you.” “I am sorry for yelling this morning,” etc. is a simple, yet powerful way to connect and engage. It dramatically influences your partner and creates positive energy. Remember, small gestures lead to big rewards.
Spend Time Apart and Alone Time Together
While spending quality time with each other in a relationship is essential, pursuing your individuality alone is important as well. Keep your goals and dreams alive as it allows you to grow as a person and provides you with the wellbeing and energy to connect with your partner. It also may make you miss your loved one. You may also spend time together in the same room without the need to entertain each other. You can comfortably do your own things while your partner is just next to you.
Cultivate Common Interests
After the “in-love” period settles down, it is important to have a few interests in common. Cultivating common interests keeps the fun in the relationship. So, be open to explore new ideas, learn new subjects and develop activities you can do together that you both enjoy. To help strengthen the relationship, the key is to make sure you are still engaging and spending quality time together.
Create Rituals of Connection
Rituals are like an anchor that brings together the parties involves and connects them emotionally through a particular behavior or activity. It provides structure, creates expectations and improves emotional engagement. More importantly, it builds a sense of togetherness.
Some ideas for rituals:
- A regular date night
- Friday night family dinner
- Have a getaway vacation in the month of your anniversary
- Pray together
- Kiss each other good morning and goodnight
- Regular “happy hour” once a week
- One of my favorites – Wake up ten minutes early in the morning to connect – cuddle with each other. Whether it leads to sex or not, the morning sets an atmosphere for a loving day.