Rituals Exercise 1

Exercise 1: Rituals

In the following exercise, create your own family ritual of
connection by talking about what you want. Discuss what these
rituals (or lack of rituals) were like for you growing up, what the best
times and the disasters were like for you. Then “script” your ritual so
you will know who is expected to do what, and when. Make these
rituals something you do regularly and can look forward to.

How do we or should we eat together at dinner? What is the
meaning of dinnertime? What was dinnertime like in each of our
families growing up?

How should we part at the beginning of each day? What was this
like in our families growing up? How should our reunions be?

How should bedtime be? What was it like in our families growing
up? How do we want this time to be?

What is the meaning of weekends? What were they like in our
families growing up? What should they be like now?

What are our rituals about vacations? What were they like in our
families growing up? What should they mean now?

Pick a meaningful holiday. What is the true meaning of this
holiday to us? How should it be celebrated this year? How was it
celebrated in each of our families growing up?

How do we each get refreshed and renewed? What is the meaning
of these rituals?

What rituals do we have when someone is sick? What was this like
in our families growing up? How should it be in our family?
Sociologist William Doherry emphasized the importance of
rituals of connection in families. He and his wife, Leah, created the
tradition of after-dinner coffee in which their children played or did
homework while he and his wife had coffee and talked. They all
cleaned up after dinner, then Bill made coffee and brought it out to
Leah in the living room. It was a time of peace and connection. You
can continue building in family rituals of connection you would
cherish by creating the following:
·A weekly date for the two of you, away from children.
·Celebrations of triumph–ways of celebrating almost any minor
or major achievement and creating a culture of pride and praise in
your marriage.
·Rituals surrounding bad luck, setbacks, fatigue, or exhaustion.
How can you support, heal, and renew yourselves?
·Community rituals for entertaining friends, caring for other
people in your community, or opening your home to others you care
·Rituals surrounding lovemaking and talking about it. These are
important events that get left till the very end of the day when
everyone is exhausted. Couples often think that lovemaking should
be spontaneous and don’t want to plan for it. But if you think about
when sex was at its best, usually it’s during courtship. Those
romantic dates were planned, down to what to wear, what perfume
or cologne to use, where to go, the music and wine after dinner, and
so on. So you need to plan for romance and sex. A ritual that makes
you feel emotionally safe in talking about what is good and what
needs improvement in lovemaking can be very helpful.
·Rituals for keeping in touch with relatives and friends. Family
events and reunions can be planned.
·Birthdays and special events that recur. Examples are holidays
of importance to you, religious celebration cycles, and anniversaries.
There are also important rites of passage that can be discussed,
such as confirmations, bat mitzvahs, graduations, and weddings.