Lately in the office, we’ve been talking about the things that “feed” us—what helps us to be better therapists, better colleagues, and overall better humans. After thinking about this quite a bit, (I’m a ponder-er—I do a lot of my processing internally) I realized that the most important thing to my mental and relational health is the presence of ritual and making time for meaningful rituals. For me and my husband, that means:
Being purposeful about time.
We got married on the 17th of March so on the 17th of every month (or as close to it as possible), we go on a date. Having a dinner that neither one of us have to clean up, going for a walk in one of our local parks, or going to see a movie that we’ve been looking forward to helps us stay connected and have something to look forward to when the work week gets rough.
We also have a shared Google calendar, so we know what each other has going on during the week. Early on in our relationship, we started calling each other on our way to and from work, to share what we’re looking forward to, what was hard, and generally checking in. Now, almost 14 years later, we still do this even though we now live in the same house.
Making room for fun.
We have an ENORMOUS collection of board games and have made a special effort to find board games that are two player-only, or have a decent two-player version. (NOTE: It can be difficult to find two-player games. Many multi-player games will provide a variation for two players, but often the game just doesn’t work as well. There are great guides on the internet that can point you to the best ones for you.)
Setting aside time for silence.
My husband and I are both introverts—he more than I. (He’s an ISFJ, I’m an INFJ.) We set aside time in the evening to just be together in silence, and every Sunday we attend religious services together. With so much noise happening in the environments around us, it’s easy to forget how powerful silence can be.
What rituals do you do to stay connected with your partner? What could you add to your life to improve your connection? Check back soon for a look at rituals in family life!