This exercise is taken from Gottman’s Blog from December 7, 2013.
Review the list of rituals below. Take a moment to select the ones you each want to talk about – we suggest that you mostly focus on any that are currently relevant and of concern. Then ask and answer the questions to help you consider the rituals you want for your relationship.
Types of Rituals:
- Waking up, waking one another up
- Leaving one another
- Handling finances
- Hosting others in your home
- Special days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
- Taking care of one another when sick
- Renewing your spirit
- Taking vacations or getaways
- Recreation, games, and play
- Dates or romantic evenings
- Attending sports events
- Participating in sports events
- Watching television
- Attending movies
- Attending concerts, plays, and other cultural events
- Religious festivals and holidays
- Regular religious services
- Rituals of transition (funerals, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.)
- Attending another’s performance or sports event
- Doing hobbies
- Creating art
- Running errands
- Doing household chores
- Participating in community events or politics
- Doing charity work
- Doing schoolwork
- Soothing other people’s feelings
- Apologizing or repairing feelings after an argument
- Arriving at your job
- Doing your job
- Leaving your job
Questions to Ask and Answer:
- What was this activity like in your family or with your friends when you were growing up?
- Did you have rituals surrounding it?
- What were those rituals like?
- What did you enjoy about them? What did you dislike about them? What would have made them better?
- What is this activity like in your life today?
- Do you have rituals surrounding it?
- What are those rituals like?
- How satisfied are you with them?
- What does this ritual mean or symbolize for you?
- Does this ritual help you feel more connected or less connected to the important people in your life?
- Does this ritual foster positive or negative feelings towards others?
- What could be done to make this ritual a more positive experience for you? For others?
The goal of this activity is to reconnect – both with yourself and with your partner – and to share comfort and support. Take turns asking and answering questions, using this as an opportunity to learn about each other, uncover hidden dreams, discover shared meaning, and create new rituals celebrating your dreams and values.