Episode # 11 - Rituals
You are not alone, we are in this together.
Hey everybody, we are pretty much into the new year, so I thought today we would do something like a New Year's resolution; not quite, but we are going to talk about relationship rituals today. So, rituals and traditions are things that within couples build emotional connections, and this could also be with your family and friends. Rituals and traditions could be with all sorts of different types of relationships. But they send messages to the people in our lives that they are important, this relationship is important. It can foster a sense of community. You are not alone; we are in this together. They might just be for a season of our lives, but we can come back to some very fond memories with this.
I spy...Luby’s and a Pickle
Let me tell you about some rituals that I remember from growing up within my own family of origin, my parents and my older brother. I can remember my mom was so good at this! Especially when we were really young, just distracting us. Like when we would go out to a restaurant and we would always play the game “I spy” in a restaurant. I also remember after every doctor visit, just regular visits, and I don’t know why this was but after every single time, my mom would take my brother and me to go eat at this cafeteria called “Luby’s” and my dad would join us from work. So, I don’t know, Luby’s is in Texas and I don’t know if Luby’s is anywhere else, but it is basically this cafeteria style restaurant, nothing super special although I happen to love Luby’s. But I wonder if I especially love Luby’s because of this ritual we had when we were younger.
During the holiday season we picked up on this ritual or tradition probably like some of you of having the pickle ornament on the tree. Whoever finds it first on Christmas morning would get a special prize or something like that. I wanna say that it is a Dutch tradition that we picked up somewhere along the way. Fortunately, between my brother and me, I was somewhat of an earlier riser than my brother. There was one year that my brother got the pickle, but I got it the rest of the years. I am very fond of that tradition if I do say so myself HAHA, but we did stop it at some point.
Do you remember Blockbuster?
I can remember years back that when we were teenagers but before we could drive after school on a Friday, my mom would stop by the video store. Do you guys remember Blockbuster or Hollywood Video? Isn’t it crazy to think about that now? But we would go and pick out the VHS and have a Friday movie night with the entire family. And my mom or dad would pop some popcorn.
So, we had many rituals and traditions growing up. They didn’t necessarily last for years and years but for the time that they did last they were very wonderful, and I have very fond memories.
So it is interesting with Jake and me, we have been married a little over 3 years and gosh just with different things like job stuff and moving and different schedules; and you guys know that he used to work offshore and now he works on night shift and all that. I have to be honest, we have had a hard time establishing some pretty regular rituals but we are very excited to start making some new ones now that we are both here in Virginia and hopefully the night shift will change at some point and make it easier to have some rituals. But at one point we used to do pizza and wine every Friday night. I wanna say that changed only when his schedule changed to night shift. Which makes sense. But anyway, we are really excited to create rituals for ourselves.
This is just something you can do within your own relationship and be creative. Build that emotional connection and have something to look back on.
“COME ASK ME MY QUESTIONS!”
I noticed that when working with women that there is a lot of vulnerability to asking for rituals or creating rituals. Because, the age of your kids there could be a lot of push back, maybe depending on the personality or temperament or the work stress of your partner, there could be push back there.
So, I find that my clients really want to create rituals or traditions but feel so vulnerable to ask and risk rejections like that. My heart breaks for that because I think rituals and traditions can be so wonderful.
We kinda talk about different ways that could foster more of a sense of community instead of a sense of rejections and finding a compromise. I have a really good girlfriend who is really great with rituals with her kids and I know that she has a night time ritual where she and her husband go in and tuck each of the kids and ask them a series of questions about their day. Something to that effect. And the parents are the ones who started it and now my girlfriend is telling me that she will be downstairs finishing up her day and one of the kids will be upstairs in bed and hollering at her to “COME ASK ME MY QUESTIONS!” Now her kids really look forward to it and it is a part of their day.
Rituals can be anything. It could be a ritual of having coffee together in the morning before kids wake up. Or if you don’t have kids it's having coffee together and enjoying that time before you have kids and you don’t have that time together. A ritual can be a kiss on the lips when you get home from work or something like that. It can really and truly be anything.
Encouragement going into 2020
What are some rituals of connections that you already have? And are there any regular rituals or special occasion rituals you would like to establish? What have you thought of? What would it be like to ask your partner? I wanna give you guys lots of encouragement to explore this idea of rituals within your relationships and as we close out December, I want to wish you a happy New Year. See you in 2020!
Help in the meantime:
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Gottman Institute Blog