I’ve noticed that my husband and I have established some rituals of connection. This is a term I picked up from the Gottman Institute.
Rituals, as the name suggests, are regular habits of interactions with our spouse.
For us, it’s the morning kiss as he bids me goodbye and leaves for work.
It’s the bedtime hug or “love you” that we give each other before turning in.
It’s the coffee that we make for each other during weekends.
It’s the bi-weekly date nights that we aim for, even if it’s just to check out a new coffee/food joint. (We now have to plan this in stealth mode as the kids are quite possessive of us these days).
It’s the weekly tennis sessions we try to have. (Not so romantic, but at least we keep each other healthy, right?)
It’s the 10 minutes of him listening to me rant, I mean share, about my day, after the kids have gone to bed. (He talks a lot at work, so he usually maxes out his quota by the end of the day, but he knows I need to talk so he graciously lets me do it.)
For this last one, he’s been making an effort for quite some time, but I hardly noticed it until last night. After “downloading” my thoughts to him, I turned to him and said, “Thank you for listening.”
He smiled, albeit in a half sleepy state. I have no idea how much he really receives from me every night, but I know that I feel loved and cherished at the end of it.
I guess that’s what really matters.
I hope to say “thank you” to him more. Maybe that could be a new ritual – a ritual of gratitude.
I hope to surprise him more (a breakfast in bed morning perhaps, or sweet text messages) – a ritual of giving delight.
Even when I feel cranky or overwhelmed with the kids or with the day’s troubles, I hope I still find the strength to smile and ask for a hug. A ritual of turning towards.
With kids in the picture, it’s easy to lavish all our affections on them and neglect our spouse. These small everyday rituals remind us that we still have each other at top of mind.
What rituals of connection do you enjoy in your marriage?