Couples who are happy follow certain daily rituals to cultivate their love. Read on to learn why couple rituals are important for long-lasting relationships and love.
Due to the daily pressures, distractions, and dynamics of modern life, a romantic couple doesn’t have to be dysfunctional to become alienated over time. Long hours of work and the demands of raising children can push dates.
Researchers at UCLA watched 30 couples with two careers and young children to understand the daily challenges of finding opportunities to build strong relationships and families.
They discovered that these couples:
- Spending less than 10% of their time at home with each other and without their children
- Are career-oriented with long working hours (partner one) and have a double burden of work and childcare (partner two)
- Children and household needs take precedence over the needs of the spouse or yourself
- Become more like roommates, drift apart emotionally and physically
- Missing important opportunities to connect emotionally on a daily basis
With high expectations for our careers and relationships, but little guidance on how to make love permanent, we are clearly struggling.
Only the conscious couple has a chance to deepen their emotional connection in order to bond over the years of the relationship.
Learning to stand in love
When we fall in love , we are often more conscious than married couples when it comes to dating, having intimate conversations to learn more about each other, and having time for adventures together.
It is easy to fall in love, but much more difficult to stand in love, which requires conscious shaping of moments of connection and intimacy. This is where the role of couple rituals comes into play.
Perhaps a look into another area of life can reveal a similar secret to make it all work …
Successful business owners often share that their energy and time are far more important than money. It turns out that the way they spend their time and energy determines how much money they make.
The same is undoubtedly true of a person’s love life. It’s easy to let cell phones, televisions, and other electronic devices steal your time and energy while we’re at home. Social media and TV shows are designed to keep us entertained by strategically offering the most engaging and shocking stories and memes. Mark Manson argues that “smartphones are the new cigarettes”.
Recently I was on my phone while my partner was talking about something important. I scanned all of the videos, articles, and quotes on my Facebook feed on how to be a better lover.
It wasn’t until my partner said, “You’re not listening to me!” That I realized that I was thoughtlessly absorbed in my phone and that I was only half-heartedly listening to one of the most important people in my life.
Do you see the irony
Couples need to resist the urge to take the easy route and just let things happen passively in their relationship. The sad truth of love is that if we don’t do anything to actively improve our romantic relationships, even if we don’t do anything that is actively destructive, relationships will get worse over time. Relationships require active work and care. Because even when a couple meets for the first time, things don’t just happen. The couple’s active efforts make it happen.
According to the author of The Intentional Family, in order to make our relationships better, we need to focus on two relationship killers: how we spend our time and how we use technology.
Many couples have little time.
Driving the kids to soccer practice after a full day’s work only to come home and cook or do the laundry leaves very little time for yourself and your partner. A busy couple can initially focus on improving the quality of their interactions by really focusing on each other and the relationship in the time available.
Couples fail to purposely disconnect from the outside world and thus miss the opportunity to really connect with the other’s inner world.
Our electronic devices are constantly sending us notifications that can interrupt and distract us from enjoying the relationship time. The good news is that just a few small changes to the way you use the devices can significantly improve the quality of a couple’s time together.
Rituals for Couples: Ritualize daily interactions
One of the best ways to purposely improve a relationship is to add meaning to the daily habits we already practice and to cultivate new rituals that make the moments we have together, even when we are crazy busy, more meaningful and connecting do.
A romantic ritual is an event that is repeated, planned and above all designed in such a way that it is meaningful for both partners.
Conscious couple rituals that you can begin today
Stan Tatkin, PsyD. Says in Wired for Dating that “You can and should be the best antidepressant and anti-anxiety drug for your partner.” The following rituals not only create opportunities for connection, but also reduce the stress levels many of us bear today.
Sit down with your loved one and choose two of the following rituals that you want to try out in your relationship. Before introducing them, talk to each other about why these rituals make sense for both of you. If there are previous experiences that come to mind during this discussion, such as childhood memories, take the time to share them thoroughly.
Finally, you should determine the when, who, and what of the ritual to ensure that it is feasible to incorporate the ritual into your life. Try it out for a while, then check back to see how it went.
To eat together
Without kids, you might find yourself sitting on the couch while eating and watching the latest Netflix series or surfing social media while sitting at the dining table.
With children, finding the time to hang out with loved ones or have the energy to cook healthy food at meal times can be difficult when work, school, and extracurricular activities collide.
When meals are taken together in a room where conversation is possible, couples often feel more connected and tend to argue less.
Here are 4 tips to improve your meal time:
1. Discuss who is doing what; For example who buys the food, who cooks and who sets the table.
A couple I’ve worked with have one partner cook while the other partner sets the table before the kids join in. Another couple takes turns cooking their favorite dishes.
2. Think about how you are connecting.
A couple of couples played light music while they cooked, poured a glass of wine, and talked to each other before the children came to dinner. It is helpful to also consider the environment in which the couple or family eat. Is there a TV on there? Are cell phones allowed? Think carefully about possible distractions and interruptions, and decide in advance which partners are okay with.
3. Think about what the family as a whole might be talking about over dinner to further strengthen the bond.
A billionaire’s father used to ask, “What have you failed at this week?” Other families discuss what they value or what they have achieved. It is also helpful to have clear rules about what should not be discussed, such as marital disputes.
4. Is the beginning and the end clear?
What signals the start of the meal? Is it a specific start time or does someone in the family tell it it is time to eat? When does the ritual end? Is it when everyone finishes eating? Does everyone help with washing up?
If you’re struggling to find time for a romantic or family dinner each night, think about options during morning and weekend meals, such as a regular Sunday brunch. Maybe you can go out to eat on certain evenings and create a ritual like Taco Tuesday.
Waking up and sleeping together
Couples with unequal sleep styles, such as an early bird with a night owl, can experience instability in the relationship. This can lead to more conflict, less time to spend together, less love, and less connecting conversation.
Tatkin believes it is healthy for partners, even those with different sleep styles, to find ways to start and end their days with rituals together.
Here are some ways to stay in tune:
- Get up early and have a coffee or go back to bed after a 15-minute conversation
- Cuddle for a few minutes before the day starts
- Tell yourself one thing that you appreciate about the other
- Cooking breakfast together
- Pillow Gazing: Look each other in the eye and focus on calming your gaze for a few minutes before falling asleep
- Have some soothing tea and chat in bed
- Read to each other
- Express your gratitude for your partner
Leave for the day and come back together at night:
Home is where the relationship is, and how couples separate and reunite affects their energy, self-esteem, and emotional connection.
If you or your partner goes away for the day, do you hug? Do you kiss When you meet again, do you hug and tell your partner that you missed them?
This 30-couple study found that the men who came home later in the day did not get recognition from their distracted family members. A loving greeting is a fantastic start to an evening at home. Here are some ideas:
- A six-second kiss. Dr. Gottman, who has watched thousands of couples for 40 years, calls this kiss a “kiss with potential”.
- A nice full hug that includes both partners (not a one-arm hug).
- Ask your partner what they’re looking forward to the most today? Or what is he worried about today? Dr. Gottman calls this creating a map of your partner’s daily life.
- Tatkin suggests a “Welcome Home Routine”. Greet your partner and give them a long hug and a kiss.
- Hugging to relax: Dr. Snore, a renowned couples therapist, encourages partners to hold each other until they relax. This physical connection can help reduce stress and reconnect the couple. My partner and I often hug for at least 30 seconds when the last partner comes home.
When a relationship is new, falling in love requires lots of one-on-one conversations about the good and stressful parts of the couple’s day and what matters to each of them.
According to Dr. Doughty, author of The Intentional Family , “Few dating couples would marry if they had as little focused conversation as most married couples.”
Dr. Gottman’s research shows that after couples therapy, couples who have a daily stress-relieving conversation are less likely to relapse than couples who don’t talk to each other daily.
Talking to each other consciously, even if it’s only 15 minutes, can be enough for busy couples. Focus on discussing how you felt about the daily events rather than just talking about the facts of the events.
One of the best ways to do this is to combine the ritual of conversation with enjoying a drink together. Dr. Doughty and his wife have coffee at the dining table every night after dinner. My partner and I drink apple cider vinegar and talk while we sit in bed.
Having a daily conversation deepens tenderness towards the partner, creates a better emotional connection, and prevents quarrels about the little things that often arise when a couple lacks a meaningful everyday connection.
Do sports together
Actively maintaining health together is a great way to stay bonded.
- Start or end the day with a walk in the neighborhood
- Go to a gym together
- Go to the gym together and leave it again
- Be made for one another to play on a sports team
Remember, if couples do nothing to actively improve their relationship, even without doing anything that is destructive, the relationship will deteriorate over time. Therefore, it is important to consciously practice everyday couple rituals that will help you to find each other again.
Relationships thrive when couples realize that the seemingly insignificant moments, like a loving hug and kiss when a partner comes home, are often the most significant of all. By being intense, couples can turn boring, mindless routines into a source of connection and fun.