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Establishing Rituals of Connection

Have you ever heard the term ‘Rituals of Connection’? These are the rituals you build into your life that connect you with your partner, habits that build relationships and encourage closeness. These rituals are always important in a romantic relationship, but perhaps exceptionally so after experiencing the trauma of an affair.

As Eric and I know all too well, the process of an affair can truly disintegrate your relational connection — or even be the product of that loss. Either way, in the wake of such a stressful event, it’s incredibly crucial to intentionally build new rituals of connection together.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sacred a time every day where the world stops for the two of you, for 20-30 minutes. This could be the end of day before bed, first thing in the morning over a cup of coffee, an afternoon walk — whatever works for you and your schedule. The Gottmans call this the “stress-reducing conversation.” Building this habit, this ritual, encourages regular connection. The biggest problem in an affair is that one person has been hiding their inner world; they weren’t sharing as much. And when one person doesn’t share, the other person doesn’t share as much, either — it’s not an open door. You lose that connection in a profound way.

Make a commitment to each other to be an open door, to carve out that time every day for sharing the highs and the lows of your world. This isn’t really a conversation about your relationship; rather, it’s more about each others’ world. It’s about being present and connecting. Become each others’ safe haven, each others’ strongholds. Have each others’ back. That’s the kind of connection these rituals build.