creating marriage rituals

February 7th to 14th is National Marriage Week. to celebrate, i will be sharing some thoughts and stories about marriage to help encourage you to strengthen your own relationships. i hope these posts will help you nurture your own relationship and rekindle the love you have for one another. you can also link up your marriage posts below to help celebrate this week.

it's no secret that post-graduate school life is hard. 
Adam is studying hard, usually away for long periods of time. and when he is home, he is trying to juggle helping with Elijah while i cook dinner and cramming more study time in. 
so basically, there's hardly time for just us. 

at first i didn't think much of it. 
this was our new life, it's okay if we didn't get enough alone time. we still seemed to make it work. 
well... finally about 6 months later it all seemed to catch up to us. 

we were both unhappy, irritable, felt unloved and under-appreciated. 
our good streak that we thought we had going on turned out to be just a moment in time where both were just kind of pushing our feelings aside and building up little frustrations towards one another. 
it wasn't really a blissful moment in our relationship. 

as we got to talking and understand what the other person was feeling, we both realized that the little things we used to do before school started had gone by the wayside. 
we no longer were trying hard to create connection & love rituals in our marriage, an important part of healthy relationships. 

William J. Doherty, the author of "Take Back Your Marriage" {and my hero} said of rituals, 
"Connection rituals [...] are rituals of everyday life in which the spouses share time and attention with each other. They are often low key as opposed to intense, comforting as opposed to sparkling. Connection rituals are at the base of the pyramid of marriage, right above commitment." 

one part of connection rituals is love rituals. 
"Love rituals are more intimate ways of interacting than connection rituals; they are ways that couples express their deep affection and passion for each other." 
in short, love rituals are the way you say "i love you and you are special to me."

we were very much lacking connection rituals, especially love rituals, in our relationship. 
and in a time where life is hectic & stressful in many ways, to be missing a vital connection to each other was surely taking its toll on our overall happiness and stability and leaving us feeling unloved or uncared for. 

so we decided then and there that we needed to create more rituals in our relationship, focusing first on the areas that we are struggling with and making goals to create more connections with one another throughout the day. 

some things we came up with that i'm sure many other couples struggle with are:
  • more physical touch: we hardly held hands before or took the time to give each other a meaningful embrace when Adam came home from school. i even told Adam i want more PDA ;)
  • turn off distractions: our time on our computers and devices was coming in between the time we could be spending with one another. so we decided that we will work til a certain time at night and then turn it all off so we can focus on each other.
  • meaningful discussions: lately our conversations focus on logistics or family information, not our personal goals or feelings. we need to continually get to know one another.
  • saying "I love you" out loud: we go through the day doing things for one another and talking to one another thinking that the other person knows you love them because of your actions. and maybe that's true, but it's nice to actually hear it out loud often. we have made it a point to try and always say it before someone leaves or when we go to bed.
  • spend some time alone: all the others points i listed pretty much adds up to this last one but it's so important. even if it's after Elijah goes to bed and we watch an episode of New Girl, it honestly does wonders for us cause we are able to connect without any other distractions. it's something that we need to do more often and probably the one that yields the highest happiness and satisfaction rates. 
connection rituals do not have to be a big production. 
it can be as simple as texting one another during the day or spending lunch together. 
or it can even be watching your favorite show while eating Oreos {that's one of ours :)}
whatever it is, it is an important way to strengthen the bond you have with your spouse and show your love for each other. 

i know these rituals can make a big difference in a relationship, 
i have already seen the difference they make in mine. 
and i know as life gets busier, it will become even more important to have these rituals to be able to get through it all and come out stronger than ever. 



Ashley said...

I definitely know what you mean. We get so caught up in all the day to day stuff that we forget to carve out just little moments of time. We just had this discussion that we need more quality time together.

Kayla Nelson said...

Great advice! I am getting married this summer and even just owning a house together and working all of the time has taken a major toll.

Great post! I'll link up mine when I post :)

Inspirations by Kayla Rae

Kndbbdjk said...

Love this. I've definitely seen the value of love rituals in my marriage! Great post! :)

Unknown said...

This is a good post! We need this... so badly. Its hard to make it happen for us!

katilda said...

Love love love! Reading these posts makes me feel like I'm back in school (good ol' School of Family Life, what what!) ...keep up the great posts on a fantastic topic :)