Loving relationships have to be actively cared for. Love is a language and the more you speak it the more easily it flows. If you fail to care for it, then the bond slowly fades away. Love is a living thing. In relationship with each other we are continually seeking and losing emotional connection and then reaching out to try to find ways of reengaging with each other, again. If this bond and connection is not attended to regularly, it will wither.

Rituals are a powerful way of enhancing and highlighting our bonds, union and love language. ‘They create excitement, elevated by creativity, driven by intention and imbued with meaning’ (Esther Perel). They help us to maintain our community of two. Rituals are repeated intentional ceremonies or acts which capture special moments of connection with the intention of helping partners establish who they are as a couple and ultimately what they mean to each other. Rituals begin in the dating phase. In time, the ritual becomes a habit, turning small everyday events into important significant events e.g. the morning cup of tea given by one partner to the other over a number of years -this ritual takes on significant meaning for the couple.

Rituals can assist couples to celebrate the positive moments in their lives – both large and small and help to act as a ‘buffer against uncertainty and anxiety’. They improve social bonding and promote an atmosphere of trust as well as helping to increase the experience of positive emotion.

Do you consciously say hello and goodbye to your partner? Planning rituals around moments of departure and return in your daily routines serves to function as a marker of your commitment, your bond, your support and your responsiveness toward each other. Rituals hold your relationship safe. One of the ways in which we can effectively keep our love alive is to recognize and mark those key moments of connection so that both partners can see and witness the other. A ritual serves to remind both how precious that relationship is. Rituals form an important part of belonging and they engage us both emotionally and physically. It is a way of formally recognizing our lover. Repeated small gestures that convey messages of ‘you really matter to me’ go a long way toward letting the other know that the relationship is sound and solid.

Juliet Schor in her book The Overworked American states that in North America the average couple spend only about twelve minutes a day talking to each other. 12 minutes! This is a sad and sobering statistic. Rituals do assist in increasing the amount of quality time couples spend with each other.

See if you can list the rituals you have with your partner. Then create a new daily bonding ritual that will help you both to be more engaged with each other.

Here are some more examples of simple rituals which you can incorporate easily into your own relationship:

  • Have dinner together at a set time on a regular basis without the interruption of electronic devices;
  • Morning coffee or tea and chat before work;
  • Breakfast in bed on the weekend;
  • Never forget a birthday or anniversary;
  • Regular date night;
  • Lunch date;
  • Private email address which becomes the ‘lover’s nest’;
  • Taking a class together or doing a project together – partners who play together stay together!;
  • Wake up and cuddle each other without worrying about being late, this sets the stage for a pleasant, loving day;
  • Buying each other flowers, just because…;
  • Stay on the same sleep schedule so you can begin and end each day together;
  • Never leave the house without kissing your significant other good-bye;
  • Answer honestly when you ask each other how you’re feeling;
  • Take turns designing your free time together as a couple so BOTH parties get a chance to select activities;
  • Agree to shelve any problems or serious talk at the dinner table so you can focus entirely on each other;
  • Create a set of Treat Cards and use them every week;
  • Leave each other love letters or notes in totally unexpected places for later discovery. A simple Post-it note is a great investment. By the time your lover finds it months later, it will be a source of delight for you both;
  • Check in with each other – receiving a heart emoji can make all the difference in a person’s day;
  • Night-time ritual: Spend 10 minutes before bed discussing your high and low points of the day;
  • A wedding book: every year on your anniversary sit down together and fill out the memorable events from the previous year. Add a photo of you both which captures an activity you did together in the course of that year;
  • Weekly CEO marriage meeting: where the two of you can check-in together;
  • The weekend ritual: those two days off are precious, spend some time together doing something special. Bake fresh croissants for your mate;
  • Renew your wedding vows;
  • Discover a special vacation location where you can go each year that builds intimate memories of your relationship;
  • Celebrate holidays in ways that become traditional so that all parties can look forward to it and depend on it;
  • Be creative, invent and improvise, there’s a raft of endless possibilities…

Rituals help create new models of positive connection and have the ability to challenge our customary ways of seeing and responding to our partner. They help us to positively reshape unconscious blueprints for close connection with others leading to new pathways in the brain which reinforce positive ways of seeing and engaging with each other.

For those couples who are struggling, rituals help to imbue small positive moments in your relationship. Simply take the risk to become more open and more responsive and the outcome may surprise you.

Have fun!

If you need to talk about your situation with a professional – contact us: https://milestherapie.com/contact-the-gingko-leaf-for-an-appointment/

Helping Couples Thrive – deciding whether to stay or go