By Aiyana Ma’at
What do you think when you hear the word ritual? Important? Sacred? Habit? Pattern? One definition I read is: any formal act, institution, or procedure that is followed consistently. All of those things would be correct. Ritual…It instantly makes me pay attention. So, now on to what I wanted to talk about today…What important habits or sacred patterns do you have in your relationship? Do you have any?
For those who are stuck or need a little more clarity, let me give you a few examples from my own marriage:
1. Stay in touch with each other throughout the day.
Ayize and I are aware of each other’s daily lives and know most everything each of us has going on day to day. It helps to keep us connected in to how the other is thinking and feeling on an ongoing basis. We have regular times to talk each day about the simple mundane things that are happening in our day to more complex conversations around the kids, business decisions, etc.
2. BE KIND to each other DAILY.
This is often underestimated. A simple act of kindness can instantly shift the energy within you and your boo. Remember, it’s the smallest and simplest things that usually make the biggest impact. I know I can sometimes be moody but I really try hard to treat my husband the way I want him to treat me. Ask yourself if you would treat a friend the way you sometimes treat your partner. Would you criticize or put down? Would you always be trying to change them? Sometimes if we treated our friends the way we treat the ones we love, we wouldn’t have many friends. Work to make him or her happy rather than better.
3. Have fun with each other every single week.
More than just about anything I love being with my husband, hanging out, holding hands, cracking up, and acting a fool. It is some of THE most sacred time I have in my life. I am very protective over what I consider to be “our down time” because it is literally the road that leads to our incredible irresistible connection and success. We make time for what we value and I highly value spending time with the love of my life. Howard Markman has suggested a simple way to add to your fun things to do list. You and your spouse can each make a list of fun activities you’d like to do. Trade lists. Choose one thing from your spouse’s list. Have them choose one from yours. Schedule the activities. Each spouse takes responsibility to plan the activity chosen from the partner’s list. Make the scheduled activities a priority.
4. Make time for spiritual connection and personal development TOGETHER.
Ayize knows the strength of my faith and how heavily I rely on God to see me and our family through so much. He knows where I struggle in my spiritual walk. He knows how I feel about certain theological perspectives. He knows how I experience God and how I see God. I know what Ayize believes and does not believe in. I know the way he is most easily able to connect to the Creator and I know what resonates with him spiritually and what things make him grimace if he hears them said in a spiritual setting. I know where Ayize is still a work in progress and he knows what I still haven’t fully given over to God….real talk. Why do we know all of these things about each other? Because we make and take intentional time to ask questions of each other that you might otherwise only hear in a theological reflection group. Because we make no (or I should say we try hard not to make) assumptions about what the other person should or should not believe, do, or feel. Because we don’t use what we know about each other against each other and we know that ultimately all of life is a spiritual journey and one of our greatest responsibilities to each other is to be a reflection of the God within each of us.
Nurture your relationship by doing some of the things suggested here. You know yourself and your partner best, so think of other ways you can strengthen your friendship and your bond. With some effort and creativity, you can keep your partner as your best friend for life!
Aiyana Ma’at is the wife of Ayize Ma’at, mom of 4, and co-founder and owner of this website, BlackLoveAndMarriage.com, as well as PurposePusher.com. Aiyana is a Seeker, Motivator, Risk Taker, Explorer, & Overcomer. She is a self-described PurposePusher and does her best to live her life with self-awareness and intention. Some of her official titles include licensed psycho-therapist, certified marriage educator & relationship coach and speaker. She is clear that a part of the call on her life is to help bring insight and awareness to others so that they can “get out of their own way” and create the lives they want to have.