written by – Jesse Krall MA/LAC
Relationships thrive when couples create personalized daily rituals of connection. By ritual, I mean a custom or a practice that holds deep significance for the couple.
Too often, couples come to therapy feeling disconnected from one another. As a therapist, I hear story after story of couples recounting the ways that they are like, “two ships passing in the night.”
Let’s face it, we all have demanding lives and responsibilities. The beauty, though, is that we have choices we can make. We can choose what our priorities are and where we want to focus our time and energy.
Rituals of connection in relationships offer simple yet profoundly effective ways to put your relationship at the forefront of your life. Here’s the good news: you probably already have some daily rituals that you do naturally but have never named. There is power in naming something. In saying, “This is special. This is important. This helps us. This is our ritual.”
Once we name it, we come to rely on those moments we call rituals. From my experience, the most important rituals are around transitions: hellos, goodbyes, good mornings, and goodnights.
These rituals do not have to be labor-intensive or time-consuming. They simply need to hold meaning for the couple; they need to say, “I love you. I support you. We are in this together.”
Let’s look at some of these transitions more closely.
How do you start your morning with each other?
One way we recommend in our Relationship Renovation program is to start the day with an emotional check-in. Many couples like to do this over their morning cup of coffee. Each of you gets an opportunity to share a few feeling words and be witnessed. Warning: this is not a time for problem-solving or fixing. Allow the emotions, all of them, even the difficult ones. Being witnessed and heard helps your partner to feel truly seen.
How do you say goodbye to one another if one is going to work or leaving the house?
Many couples find it essential to take the time to lean into one another. To hug and to kiss and to tell their partner that they hope they have a great day. It is the little things that make a big difference.
How do you reconnect after being apart?
My husband and I have found that stopping everything we are doing and holding each other in a long embrace before engaging in conversation is a game-changer. During that embrace, we wait for our shoulders to drop, for a deeper breath, for a settling. This pause helps us transition into the rest of the evening so much more smoothly than when we don’t take a pause.
How do you say goodnight?
Many couples say that they have two different bedtimes – one is an early-to-bed person while the other is a night owl. A solution one couple uncovered was to have the night owl tuck in his partner and cuddle until she fell asleep. This made her feel much more connected going to bed. And he was still able to stay up and do the things he wanted to do.
There are so many possibilities of small ways to connect. What rituals do you have in your relationship? What rituals would you like to create in your relationship?
If you and your partner would like to learn more practical ways to stay connected and to be your best selves in your relationship, check out Relationship Renovation at home.