They were a beautiful couple, tall, handsome and graceful.They had met on the country-western dance floor, and they told me, with a bit of shyness, that they were really good dancers. Dance floors, I guess, are for singles and for couples who are falling in love, not for married couples trying to sustain their love. An intentional marriage is one where the partners are conscious, deliberate, and planful about maintaining and building a sense of connection over the years.People can be quite gifted at family rituals with the whole family, and quite dumbfounded about what they would do as a couple.Couples who courted through having long, romantic dinners are sometimes nervous about dining alone because they are not sure what they would say to for an hour or more.We gladly fill our time through rituals of connection and intimacy.We develop a common language and a common experience bank.I’m going to talk about some from my marriage, about some from couples I have worked with, and before we leave tonight I am going to hear from you all as well. Rituals are social interactions that are repeated, coordinated, and significant.This is the classical, anthropological definition going back to van Gennep’s work in 1908.
You’re not going to have much of a sexual life if you don’t end up in the same space at the same time.
He then invited audience members to share their own favorite marital rituals.
The results were moving, inspiring - and sometimes hilarious.
We fall in love through rituals of connection and intimacy--courtship rituals like romantic dinners, long talks, riding bicycles or going skiing, going for walks, exchanging gifts, talking every night on the telephone.
We mostly do these rituals alone as a couple - when people are falling in love, their family and friends know to give them some space.
We go to dinner at our favorite spots, and we try to sit at our favorite tables. And we don’t dance with everybody in the room; we dance mostly with the person we are falling in love with.