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Do you ever wonder why some relationships grow and thrive over the years while others disintegrate?
A relationship which is full of passion in the beginning may not survive a decade, while one which grows slowly may flourish into something that only gets better and better with time.
The key here is deliberate passion.
When we first fall in love, the emotions are heady, and the connection is sometimes so immediate and intoxicating that it feels like it’s out of our control. Over time, as that initial intensity fades, we need to make deliberate efforts.
Think of it like watering a plant. If you don’t water the plant, it is going to wither. Relationship rituals nourish our connections and strengthen them, allowing partners to grow together in love. Here are 10 relationship rituals all happy couples observe!
1. Remember to laugh
When we first fall in love, oftentimes the other person seems like she or he is more than human. We miss the flaws and imperfections. Over time, though, those flaws and imperfections surface, and we either grow to love them or we lose the relationship. Sometimes you have to laugh at your own flaws, and learn to let go of your disagreements. Laughter is one of the most powerful ways to diffuse tension and to release anger. It reminds us that we are only human, and that is something to celebrate and cherish, not dismiss.
2. Accept that the relationship is something they share, not something either of them own
The biggest compatibility problems arise not when you and your partner happen to differ in one regard or another, but when you think that the relationship is something you, your partner, or both of you “own.” A relationship is a shared space, and happy couples remember that. It is a space that belongs to two unique, amazing individuals who will sometimes disagree and may not always be 100% compatible in every way. So long as you honor your connection and share that space with love and respect, the little differences won’t tear the relationship apart.
3. Ask questions
You know how at the start of a relationship, you want to learn everything there is to know about the other person?
Over time, as that knowledge gets more and more saturated, curiosity can wane. It is important however to recognize that curiosity is not the same thing as interest! Just because someone is not a huge unknown to you anymore, that does not mean you cannot continue to show interest.
Not only that, but all of us are changing every single day. There is no possible way you can know everything about another person, when each day that person is making discoveries and changing in little ways (and sometimes huge ways)! Share that journey by asking questions. That is how you keep a relationship fresh over the years, instead of drifting further and further apart.
4. Say “thank you”
It is easy to take something for granted when it becomes a routine. But happy couples never do this. Each day they remember to thank each other for all the little things. If you enjoyed that delicious meal your partner cooked for you, say so. If you appreciate the understanding he or she gave you recently while you were struggling with something, say thank you. Expressing appreciation daily is something no relationship can survive without.
5. Do romantic things
When you first got together with your partner, you probably made a few grand romantic gestures. The thing about romantic gestures though is that they may not seem so romantic in hindsight if they go away. Way too often we do romantic things while we are pursuing someone, and then feel like our work is done after we get the girl or guy.
Then we wonder a few years down the road what happened. Why has all the intimacy gone out of the relationship? Maybe because you have both taken each other for granted and stopped doing the things that made you feel so close and loved and special!
There is nothing truly romantic about going out of your way to impress someone just so you can give it up when you feel secure with them! What is truly romantic is continuing to make those efforts long after you tie the knot. Happy couples do not see romance as a means to an end, but as something to celebrate in and of itself.
6. They keep doing the activities they did when they first hooked up
This is very much in line with romantic rituals. What activities did you do when you first got together that made you see each other in such an exciting light? Do you still do those activities years later?
If you got together by playing tennis, and a few years go by and you don’t play tennis anymore, why would you expect the magic to linger? If you both used to love to talk about challenging ideas, but you have set them aside because you have become insecure, why would you expect your relationship to stay strong? Don’t give up on the activities that brought you together. Let them evolve, but never let them go.
7. They don’t give up on sex
All it takes is a passing glance at a magazine rack in a supermarket to notice that couples often lose interest in sex over time. Either they feel like they have “done it all” or they simply aren’t in the mood as often because they’re getting older and they are no longer new to each other. And again they wonder why the intimacy is going out of their relationship.
But why should sex be something you only do when you happen to be in the mood? What does that say about your interest in your partner? When you let your relationship only exist for your convenience, and neglect it the rest of the time, you are letting yourself and your partner down.
Couples that take an intentional approach to sex and never stop learning about each other in the bedroom have more fun and enjoy more intimacy. Remember, you and your partner are changing over time; none of us are static. Odds are that there is always new ground to explore!
8. They listen
It is great to be able to finish each other’s sentences, but do you really know what your partner is thinking? Happy couples don’t talk through each other or assume they know what their partner is trying to say. They listen carefully to each other, and try not to jump to conclusions in their minds. They realize that they are both unique, distinct people. They recognize, respect, and appreciate the ongoing trust in their relationship.
9. They schedule deliberate time to be together
With busy lives and jobs and obligations, it can be easy to relegate relationship time to the back-burner. But this is another way of taking the relationship for granted. If you really love someone, you will demonstrate it with your actions. Where we spend our time and energy determines our true priorities.
Happy couples prioritize each other. They schedule time just for each other, even when they are busy. They respect each others’ schedules and understand when time is limited, but they never allow relationship time to “just happen.” They make it happen.
10. They practice the golden rule and then some
As the golden rules goes, “Treat each other as you would want to be treated.” That is a great rule of thumb for relationships, but happy couples also realize that there are differences in what they want, expect, and need from a partner.
They take this rule a step further. They treat their partner as their partner wants to be treated. They celebrate each others’ uniqueness. They have empathy for each other, but they also realize that they cannot read each others’ minds and emotions. They ask for clarification when they need it, and they strive to understand each others’ unique needs.
The bottom line with relationships is that they are always changing and evolving, and that is a good thing. Relationships fall apart when then are taken for granted. So long as you approach your partner with intentional daily gratitude, love, interest and passion, your relationship should flourish!