Couple-y Rituals Be It Birthdays Or Movie Nights Influence Your Decision To Marry, Says Study
Last year, I was dating someone who made me select my own gift on Amazon and then literally handed the package to me, unopened. Like all he did was get it delivered to his address and hand it over to me – and somehow that is supposed to make me feel special. Of course, with the kind of enthusiasm he showed for buying me a gift, it was obvious that he will put no effort into making me feel special on my birthday. There goes a ritual that could have helped things last! I picked the restaurant, and we had a boring most dinner while my face looked like I have just woken up from a coma. No offense.
It’s not like I expect expensive presents or something like that. Give me nothing but bro, don’t hand me an Amazon package that I only ordered. So yeah, that didn’t last. The months that followed showed me a glimpse of what my life would be – Diwali was boring, his birthday was boring and life was boring. Eventually, we broke up and I spent New Year’s with my friends and it was possibly the only fun holiday of 2019. Apologies, ex – no hard feelings – but you gotta up your game. And now there’s a study to prove that couples “rituals” help people decide if they want to get married to someone.
According to a University of Illinois study, rituals with regards to birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, etc have a major significance in our lives, when it comes to relationships. “Rituals have the power to bond individuals and give us a preview into family life and couple life. We found they help magnify normative relationship experiences,” says Chris Maniotes, lead author of the paper, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
And these things do matter. We probably don’t decide things consciously on the basis of these rituals but subconsciously, they serve as a reality check. These are landmark days of the year and somehow, we remember these. We don’t celebrate our birthdays with random people; we do it with those closest to us. Why? Because these events – though commercialized – are special! We need a partner that matches our vibe.
While these rituals are usually holidays and special occasions, couples create their own special events and those help them bond too. Say Friday movie nights or Sunday dinners, etc. These rituals go beyond just being comfortable with certain plans. They are based on routine but have a symbolic meaning, we don’t consciously are aware of.
“Rituals provide a unique time to review one’s partner and relationship; you get to see a host of behaviors and interactions that might normally be obscured…Some of the ways rituals affected commitment to wed with these couples was by altering their view of their partner, giving them a new perspective,” Maniotes points out.
The researchers analysed 24 millennial couples who had been in a relationship for more than two years. The scientists observed that their commitment to get married increases or decreases with time, with the influence of how they interact with each other in these rituals. “Rituals can reinforce bonds and strengthen commitment, but they can also showcase conflict areas and make people less likely to see the relationship heading towards marriage,” reports Science Daily.
“Rituals seem to really play a role in pausing and slowing down individuals, helping them take a better look at their relationship. They help them see, ‘this is who we are as a couple; this is who we are as a family,’” Maniotes says.
It’s not really these rituals directly but what they stand for. There is an invisible string binding you together and these things make you wonder celebrate your New Year’s for the rest of your life. When you find someone who enjoys the same things as you or even shows enough interest in planning these rituals – you feel that maybe if you marry them, life would be a series of pleasant events.
These rituals help you understand how you resolve differences of opinions, are you’ll equal or how much does your partner care about what you want to do. Say, for instance, you want to party but he wants to stay home and watch Netflix. Do you’ll do both? You want to go around town looking at Christmas lights, does he come along and show enthusiasm anyway? There’s so much you can tell from these important events.
“Just recognizing the importance of rituals in our lives, and the magnitude of the role they play, can help us integrate them in an intentional way,” he concludes. Go ahead, create a couple-y ritual, and see how that impacts your relationship. You will possibly have a better idea of whether you’d like to marry them.