Most American families (67%) do not eat dinner together regularly, and of the 1/3 who do, half of these have the television on during dinner (Retrieved from The Intentional Family, Bill Doherty). Consider this fact and the fact that many couples do not make time to be together. Is it your fault? Absolutely not! Life is busy. Your to-do list is often endless, and your priorities always change. Work, chores, kids, and so many more other responsibilities are on your plate and feeling disconnected from your partner is completely understandable, but this situation can be prevented through establishing rituals of connection. These rituals can be as simple as having dinner together by turning the TV off, or they can be more structured like scheduling sex and romance.
How can you make your relationship a priority without feeling overwhelmed or emotionally exhausted – this is the real dilemma many couples face in our daily lives. The keyword is intention, setting up an intentional time to feel reconnected. I’m not talking about going on vacations or romantic getaways – well, they are great too! What I’m offering you is more sustainable, consistent, intentional, and not time-consuming rituals of connection. Here are the five essential rituals of connection that will improve your relationship:
1. Daily Stress-Reducing Conversations
This ritual gives couples something that you look forward to – a way to reconnect with each other in ways that are meaning to you. Daily stress-reducing conversations are recommended to be at least 30 minutes, in which each partner get to be the speaker for at least 15 minutes. When you are the listener, try to stay present. Ask your partner open-ended follow-up questions, like “Wow, you had a busy day. How did you feel after accomplishing all of these things?” When you are the speaker, if you find it challenging to share your day, ask your partner what they want to learn more about.
2. The Weekly State of Union Conversation
Gottman method couples therapy suggests that the structure of this meeting is: 1. Start the conversation by talking about what has gone right this week in the relationship, 2. Give one another 5 appreciations each that you haven’t shared yet this week, 3. If a problem exists, share your own perception of the problem with your partner and discuss the problem through dialogue, 4. End the conversation by asking one another the question of, What can I do next week to make you feel loved?
3. Weekly Date
The purpose of weekly date is emotional check in. A weekly date doesn’t have to occur in a romantic set up. It’s not about going to new places or doing something different. A weekly date is an opportunity to emotionally check in with your partner and it requires asking you one simple question to one another: How are you doing this week?
4. Daily Cuddle Time
Spending intentional time cuddling, touching, putting your arms around one another, holding hands and kissing are some of the examples of daily cuddle time. If you can establish a bedtime ritual where you can do some these things, that’s great. If you and your partner are going to bed in different times, try to include these as a part of your morning rituals –for example, hugging your partner more than 5 seconds before you leave the house for work.
5. Rituals About Sex
Talking about sex can be uncomfortable – until you casually include these conversations into your dialogues with your partner. Studies show that couples who talk about their sex life have more satisfying sex life. Finding a way to initiate physical and intimacy, finding a way of saying no to sex when your partner initiates, or simply sharing what you like and don’t like in bedroom open to great conversations, and greater emotional intimacy.
Establishing these rituals can be challenging. Finding a way to reconnect that works for you and your partner is important and worthy to give it a try. If you feel disconnected and need guidance to find your own rituals of connection as a couple, contact me.