Relationships are built on rituals. They carry us from the first hello to our first date to our fiftieth anniversary. Some romantic rituals come in more traditional forms — like marriage ceremonies and anniversary dinners. Yet, the rituals that spark the most joy are often simple moments filled with love, like sharing tea in bed on Sunday mornings.
That’s what makes exploring a new ritual together so joyful: You don’t need a special occasion to start one. Those special moments that eventually grow into cherished traditions often begin with one simple question: “How can I spark joy for you and for us?”
To connect even more deeply with your partner, try building one of these practices into the time you spend together — or all three!
01. Time for Joy
Our lives are busy. With the chatter of video calls and the pings of phone notifications, it’s easy to forget to pause for shared fun with one another. It can help to designate a regular date night — or morning and afternoon, too! — without kids, technology or discussions about work. By agreeing to honor this time like you would any other important meeting in your calendar, you prioritize each other even when life feels busiest.
A joy-sparking date doesn’t have to mean an elaborate excursion, either. It can be as simple as cooking a new dish together or packing a bento box for an afternoon in the park. Take turns deciding how you’ll spend the time, so each of you can contribute to creating exciting, enjoyable experiences for the other.
Joy is individual: each person and couple has their own unique threshold for joyful quality time. Sit down together to make your needs known — then, schedule time and decide who’s in charge of planning this time around. Whether every week or once a month, find a routine that works for you — and commit to it!
02. Time for Gratitude
Because we tend to spend most of our time around the ones we love, it can sometimes feel as if we know their every thought. But no one can read another person’s mind — not even the person they know best. Instead, celebrate your differences in perspective by setting aside time each week to check in with each other. Start by expressing what you’re each grateful for, then explore how you’re both feeling about life, family and work. Try open-ended questions like:
Are there any stresses coming up at work or at home for you?
What great moments happened this week?
What do you need from me right now?
Creating space for sharing feelings will help you give each other thoughtful and loving support, no matter what comes your way.
03. Time for Intention Setting
Marie often recommends creating an intention-setting ritual to help guide personal goals, like completing a tidying festival. But, you can use the same technique to create a ritual between two people! Setting shared intentions for your relationship ensures you will grow together and stay aligned over time.
Start by imagining your individual ideal lifestyle. What do you see for yourself in the next year? What about the next decade? Then, set or review your shared short, mid-, and long-term goals. What do you hope to accomplish together? Talk through priorities, and decide what you’d like to work on with each other next. Much like breaking a tidying festival into categories, it can help to break bigger goals into smaller projects that you can complete before your next intention-setting date.
Because our priorities constantly evolve, it’s good to revisit this intention-setting ritual every year or even every few months. And, before finishing up, don’t forget to stop to celebrate how far you’ve already come together — another simple gesture that can spark joy and renew your love.