It’s all in your mindset. Everyone who lives in this region the past week understands what it is like to wait for a hurricane, especially one of the magnitude of Hurricane Matthew. I sincerely hope your family did not suffer during the storm. The idea of scarcity or abundance is easily apparent at the grocery store if you shopped for bread early. The ritual of buying hurricane supplies demonstrates the evolutionary instinct to stockpile for tough times. Were you anxious about not having enough food to get through the storm? Considering this idea, what sort of attitude do you approach your relationships with? What do you have stockpiled that will help you make it through the inevitable storms of your relationship? 

couples therapy

Have you ever considered the rituals that you share with your partner? Rituals provide a way to stockpile good feelings in a relationship that will carry you through arguments and tough times. They are one way to make consistent deposits in your partner’s emotional bank account, which brings about abundance in your relationship. Your “savings” pile up in a healthy way.

There are so many different ways to bring daily meaning to your relationship through rituals. What do you think of as a ritual? I hope it brings to mind activities or acts of service that you do for your partner on a weekly or daily basis. For example, my sweet husband brings me a cup of hot tea in the mornings while I am still in bed, and often when I am still sound asleep. He brings it at a time that I have asked for the previous night, knowing what my schedule will be the next day. And it is absolutely the best way to begin waking for me–LOL–as that process takes a while!

Another example of ritual in our family was baking sugar cookies with the kids. They loved to pick out the shapes from our zillion cookie cutter shapes, decorate them and let the sugar crystals fly. Then we ate them warm right out of the oven while they both sat on top of kitchen island covered in sugar and flour while drinking milk to wash them down.

Why would I bring up the idea of rituals as it relates to scarcity or abundance? When you are in a long term relationship, it is so easy to forget to do the simple things you likely did at the start of that relationship. Simple things like saying please and thank you, or checking with your partner before you commit to something in your schedule, either with work or socially. Ever scheduled a party, a business meeting, or an out-of-town trip and bumped up against a planned engagement that had been on the calendar for weeks? Oops. The lack of this element in your daily relationship brings about feelings of scarcity, scarcity of friendship, scarcity of feeling cared for, and the very real scarcity of the point of even having the relationship at all.

Rituals of Connection

Here is a list of some common examples of rituals researched by marriage expert John Gottman, Ph.D. that help you connect often with your partner:

  • Saying goodbye in the morning as well as your greetings when you return from your day.
  • Mealtimes, or coffee outings.
  • Eating out–whether on the fly, or a planned date.
  • After meal time and/or after you put the kids to bed–a good time to talk.
  • Stress reducing conversations, where you help your partner feel heard and understood.
  • How you get out the door in the mornings; the way your family prepares for the day. What is breakfast like?
  • When one of you or a child is sick, how does the care happen?
  • Celebrations, not just birthdays, but when someone accomplishes something important like making the team, or getting a promotion.
  • Family reunions and weddings–how does your family do them?
  • And how about the way you say yes or refuse lovemaking? That can be a planned-ahead ritual that can encourage the “yes” and soften the “no.”

These are just some ideas to kick around, but when you do some serious thinking about the rituals that have the most meaning to you and your partner, and your family, you begin to understand that abundance occurs when you don’t ignore these ways of acknowledging the importance of others you cherish. Rituals provide a solid, ongoing source of connection within families that deserve your attention. Rituals bring abundance to your relationship!

Resource: What Makes Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, John Gottman Ph.D. and Nan Silver