John and Julie Gottman, through their working with couples for over 40 years, have found that couples who have shared rituals have stronger relationships.
Planning fun events together as a couple creates shared meaning. Intentionally looking for things that you both enjoy and then following through with planning and doing them helps focus on the positive and creates the opportunity to connect.
One of the rituals that my husband and I do, after work, is set in our spa and share about our day. We feel relaxed when we get out and then enjoy dinner together. It helps set the stage for a nice evening. Another ritual we have is going to a small little town in Northern California for our anniversary almost every year. We take our bikes and enjoy the weekend eating out and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Those are just two of our rituals for connection.
What rituals of connection do you share with your spouse and family? If you do not have any, then talk about rituals you can create to look forward to and connect. If you are a young family, decide what rituals you want to create that are unique for just your family. Do you have traditions around the holidays that you want to pass on to your children and what knew ones do you want to incorporate with the old.
Looking forward to a planned event keeps your relationship moving forward in a positive direction. Plan vacations together or just spending an evening together with friends or alone is important in keeping the vitality of your relationship healthy. Be creative in thinking about different fun things you can do together. Geocaching is a great way to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, you can download the app and learn how to play, if you haven’t already.
For more ideas on how to create rituals in your relationship go to Gottman Institute and check out their web site. They have great tools to help connect as a couple or as a family.
Vickie Parker, MFT