Before you get rid of all those old habits, consider keeping just a few.
"Couple rituals," says William Doherty, Director of Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, can add up in the long run.
Rituals are mutually agreed upon, scheduled moments that help couples maintain connection. They can also provide "the glue we need to help us cling together in times of stress and in seasons of despair," says Doherty. Connection time can include things like greeting each other lovingly, talking over coffee, or taking an evening walk.
When creating or enhancing your own "couple ritual," remember the following:
- Be intentional. Agree on a time and activity, and commit to maintain it.
- Make a clear transition. Get alone and talk about personal stuff.
- Resist the urge to problem solve for the family, and keep conflict out of the conversation.
- Decide to alter the time or nature of an activity together. Be sure that you both understand these changes.
Want Out of the Clean Your Plate Club?
You've finalized the holiday rounds—whose parents to visit first—but you can't figure out how to avoid getting stuffed? You're not alone. When 1,003 Americans were surveyed by the American Institute for Cancer Research, over one-quarter admitted that the amount of food they are served dictates how much food they consume. Avoid a belly-ache this holiday season by following the advice of Melanie Polk, Director of Nutrition Education at the American Institute of Cancer Research.1