Do you remember your family holiday rituals growing up?
I remember a time when my sisters and I stayed up all night singing Christmas carols. Only to run down and open presents on Christmas morning.
Rituals matter. Rituals are how people create a sense of meaning in the different seasons of their lives. This is also why rituals are vital to the life of a couple. With it, there will be a sense of unity. Without it, a sense of disengagement.
Every single family is a cross-cultural family. The reason is you both would have grown up with your own understanding of what is important to you. The bad news comes when there is little communication about expectations. For some, family time is important and how one feels loved. For another, it may be the presents.
The good news is when you decide to become a long-term partnership; you have the choice to create a new culture. You communicate about what was good and not so good about your upbringing around this time. You give and take, and decide, “how will the holidays look like for us?” By creating your own set of rituals, over time it will build a sense of unity and purpose to your new family unit.
Example:My wife and I decided for every season we would do an activity together annually. Spring means maple syrup. Summer means camping. Fall means apple picking. Winter means going to the first lighting and other Christmas activities. The point is, we intentionally discuss our rituals and make it a point to stick with them. This creates a sense of anticipation for every season together.
Here is a tool I prescribe to. Take out a calendar with your partner and discuss: What could we do together daily? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually?
Like breathing, you can create a rhythm within your relationship. Slowly building up meaning and significance and unity. This is how couples grow old happy and in love.