Touch and Miscellaneous

Nurturing Touch

Kissing Rituals

Kissing is culturally determined – whether or not, whom, how, how long, etc…

Massage

Touch is good for you.

Miscellaneous

Reciprocal Romantic Service Acts

Romantic acts of service are generally NOT considered a couple ritual…

The Choosing Ritual

When a choice has to be made, the couple splits up; each starts at one end of the store and…

You Wanna Bet?!

Minor squabbles over this and that happen all the time…

The Fun Box

Similar to “The Nurture Jar,” one couple decided to have a “Fun Box”…

Songs for the Heart

Some couples have special songs that they use at various times…

Photographic Evidence

Here’s another ritual that, surprisingly, sporadically popped up amongst couples…

King or Queen for a Day

This ritual borders on a romantic act, which is distinguished by being a surprise…

Kissing Rituals

Kissing is culturally determined – whether or not, whom, how, how long, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kissing_traditions

While cheek kissing is a common greeting in many cultures, each country has a unique way of kissing. In Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro the Netherlands and Egypt it is customary to “kiss three times, on alternate cheeks.”  Italians usually kiss twice in a greeting and in Mexico and Belgium only one kiss is necessary. In the Galapagos women kiss on the right cheek only and in Oman it is not unusual for men to kiss one another on the nose after a handshake. French culture accepts a number of ways to greet depending on the region. Two kisses are most common throughout all of France but in Provence three kisses are given and in Nantes four are exchanged.

For the how portion, the Kama Sutra offers a variety to explore:
http://www.dating360.info/the-kama-sutra-over-30-types-of-kisses/

In the “Worth 1000 Words” couple ritual, Nose Jousting was one of the examples given, repeated here.

A couple from Northern Alaska used to “Eskimo kiss” (rub noses) sometimes for practical reasons.  When they moved to California, they continued to do it every now and then.  Later, the guy wanted to quit and just do some nice, regular kissing, but she still wanted to Eskimo kiss sometimes.  He would try and dodge her and get in a normal kiss, which turned into a funny game of nose jousting.  Now, they do both, but they will sometimes nose joust as well, which they assured me got plenty of strange looks in public, but was extra fun and meaningful for them.

Time/Place:

  • Whenever getting into car
  • Whenever getting home
  • Upon seeing one another when separated
  • Under mistletoe, which is usually strategically placed
  • At a party, and sneaking off somewhere for a deeper kiss
  • Waking up or going to bed
  • End of a movie/tv show
  • Whenever you see an animal of a certain kind (you decide how rare)
  • Whenever someone says an unusual word in your company

Principal Purposes Served

  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Foster nurturing, affectionate, loving contact

Massage

Touch is good for you.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/touching.makes.you.healthier.health/
http://www.oprah.com/health/Health-Benefits-of-Touching

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/health-benefits-of-touch
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug02/massage.aspx

Hugs and cuddling are part of all cultures on the planet . . . for good reason.  And, also why there are couple rituals around hugs and cuddling.  Likewise, massage is an extremely common couple ritual.

Turns?

  • __x__ amount of minutes for each person.  Or, the massage is given, but not reciprocated, at least in that moment.
  • In the morning, she would give him a foot massage, and at night, he would give her one.

Degrees of massage:

  • Shoulder rub through clothing
  • Back rub through clothing, perhaps in a chair, or lying down
  • Bare skin back massage
  • Full body massage

Timing:

  • Before going to bed, after bathing is the most common
  • Just after waking up is another, especially if one partner gets up a little before the other one
  • After work
  • Scheduled:  some couples put it in their calendars for a particular day/time each week
  • Like the Nurture Jar ritual, massage is sometimes requested as there is a felt desire for one

Technique:

Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Foster nurturing, affectionate, loving contact

Reciprocal Romantic Service Acts

Definitions/Distinctions:

Romantic act = one is surprised (and hopefully delighted) by the other, and usually a one-off or very rare event

Couple Ritual = both know about it, and it recurs/happens over and over again; both generally directly benefit

Service = doing something for another in which one does not, or only slightly/tangentially benefits

Romantic acts of service are generally NOT considered a couple ritual.  And, in regards to a repeated service, the act can very often or always be in the spirit of work instead of warming one’s and the other’s heart.  When both people in the relationship engage in these reciprocal acts of service for more everyday tasks, it’s sweet that the other is though of.

If the romantic act of repeated service does warm BOTH, and CONTINUES to have that feeling to it,
then it is a rare and useful couple ritual.

Variations

  • Opening door of car or building
  • Doing laundry
  • Plugging in cell phone/tablet/laptop
  • Filling partner’s car with gas
  • Cleaning a meal’s dishes
  • Doing the grocery shopping
  • Making the bed

Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Foster trust
  • Manage conflict
  • Help to accomplish tasks
  • Emotional money in the bank

The Choosing Ritual

When a choice has to be made, the couple splits up; each starts at one end of the store and meets in the middle with their selection.  When they meet, they look at the selection and pick which one they want.

Choice options:

  • Grocery store – what’s to eat?
  • Decorations for the home
  • Clothing for one another
  • Bookstore
  • Craft fair
  • Exhibition hall
  • Department store
  • Video game
  • Drug store
  • Camping store
  • Furniture store like Ikea

Principal Purposes Served

  • Provide regular opportunities for play
  • Fulfill needs for predictability and novelty

You Wanna Bet?!

Minor squabbles over this and that happen all the time.  In the end, you often hear, “Wanna bet!?”  The bet may be over a fact, something that happened in the past, what someone said, or any number of other things.  People settle the immediate dispute by placing a wager on who is right, with the ante usually being a certain amount of money. With couples that have been together for even a little while, money very often loses its appeal as something to bet with.  One of the reasons may be that people throw their lot together and then usually switch from keeping score to not really caring all that much.  Money loses the zing that it commonly has with others.

Not that I’m trying to promote gambling, but I think it’s really lost opportunity that sporting betting between couples isn’t very common, because a good bet makes matters playful and intriguing.  Well, here’s an incentive you can use instead of money, a way of betting between mates that works out much better, better even than almost any other conceivable wager.

The two best “prizes” for winning a bet I’ve heard of are a surprise and a favor.  Let’s look at a surprise bet first.  You’re betting that whoever turns out to be wrong will have to surprise the other person, usually before the week is out.  I’m talking about a good surprise and not something spiteful or bitter!  With money, the amount of dollars indicates the confidence and consequence.  This element can be simulated with the surprise wager as well.  Use the qualifier of a little, medium, or huge surprise.  Betting for a surprise also serves to fulfill the need for predictability (the rules are known and agreed upon) and novelty (the surprise is unknown).  Both people usually have fun with it no matter who wins or loses, so the betting becomes fun almost regardless of which end of the stick you’re on.

The favor bet works a little differently.  Instead of being surprised by the loser, the winner chooses what the loser will do for them.  I use the word favor rather loosely, because a forced favor does not fit the definition.  Nonetheless, it is an entertaining wager.  If you use this bet, let me suggest a few parameters.  The “favor” must not get you into trouble.  It should have a time limit (like 10 minutes), which can vary depending on the gravity of the wager.  If it isn’t requested or used within a set period of time (1 week, for example), it expires.  If you make this kind of betting system part of your couple rituals, stipulate that the winner must agree to place a bet under reasonable circumstances again.  This last point is important, because otherwise someone could ask for some killer favor and then refuse to bet again.  No hostilities, just playfulness!  Otherwise it’s not the right couple ritual for you.

Principal Purposes Served

  • Build the relationship culture and history
  • Communicate values and beliefs
  • Foster trust
  • Help to accomplish tasks
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Fulfills the need for predictability and novelty

The Fun Box

Similar to “The Nurture Jar,” one couple decided to have a “Fun Box.”  Instead of for support, they would collect things they both wanted to do together.

Items were collected over time and they would pick something out when they both had the time and energy to do something.  Sometimes they allowed themselves to keep drawing until they found something that fit their mood that day, and other times they wanted to “resign” themselves to whatever was first chosen.  They also had another box next to it, which held items they had already completed.  The boxes usually held some significance, or the box changed forms until it held some special meaning.  Boxes varied from cookie jars to shoe boxes to envelopes to jewelry boxes.

What’s in the box?:

  • Places to travel
  • Events to see (e.g., sports, arts, museum, special exhibits, music, theater, speaker, etc.)
  • An article want to write together
  • Read the whole paper
  • Learn something brief
  • Give each other a massage going out for one together
  • Hiking / longer walk
  • Workout / gym
  • Play a sport (e.g., golf, archery, soccer, Frisbee, bowling, etc.)
  • Sex
  • Workshop / class
  • Window shopping / shopping
  • Movie
  • Make something together

Principal Purposes Served

  • Build the relationship culture and history
  • Provide regular opportunities for play
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Fulfill needs for predictability and novelty

Songs for the Heart

Some couples have special songs that they use at various times.  They may sing it together on a walk, at the start of a meal or event, in the shower, or in the car.  For the self-conscious, humming or whistling seem to be favorites.  The songs usually have special significance and are frequently silly children’s songs, or traditional folk songs from the culture.   A song that has special significance to the relationship, such as being present in the early days frequently or during a particularly memorable moment, is also common.  In this case, hearing the song (rather than reproducing it yourselves) triggers the heart connection.

A digital variation is sending one another songs back and forth that would be enjoyed in some manner.  This version can offer a sense of play and predictability (that it will happen).  E-mail, texting a link to a song, Facebook, chat clients, etc.

Finally, a musical couple (both were musicians) would write one another a song once a year, and then sing at their anniversary.  The songs were different every year, and they would work on it all year long, so that the verses had a bit of history as well as sentiment mixed together.

Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Build the relationship culture and history
  • Emotional money in the bank

Photographic Evidence

Here’s another ritual that, surprisingly, sporadically popped up amongst couples.  Surprising as photographs together is such a ubiquitous practice that it is almost akin to saying brushing one’s teeth together would be a couple ritual.  Indeed, both photographs and brushing one’s teeth are not couple rituals, as they fail the benchmark of being particularly meaningful.  Photos are meaningful in their own right for what they represent – a memory, and that memory is often an unusual event (thus the picture is not a ritual in and of itself).  If it is a recurring and meaningful (and planned) event the photograph represents, then it is the event that is the ritual, and the photo simply the reminder of it.

Soooo . . . what makes photographs sometimes a couple ritual?  Glad you asked!

When the act of taking the photograph has some special quality/character to it, you’re in couple ritual territory.  Below are some examples couples have shared over the years.

  • The self-portrait photograph has a cheesy smile, a similar background, a familiar look, framed in a particular way
  • Time of day . . . pictures while eating dinner in various locations with a particular pose that remains the same
  • Item of clothing that is the same in all the pictures (or flowers have been mentioned as well)
  • Body part is in the photos.  One couple had their feet in the picture (lying down of course), while another had thumbs up on their hands bordering the frame of the photo on the left and right.
  • Both people would do a handstand, and be in museums, parks, restaurants, etc., doing a handstand in front of something

Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Build the relationship culture and history
  • Provide regular opportunities for play
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Fulfill needs for predictability and novelty

King or Queen for a Day

This ritual borders on a romantic act, which is distinguished by being a surprise, and primarily in service to one person.  What makes King/Queen for a day a couple ritual is that it is planned, recurring, meaningful, and reciprocal (meaningful to both).

For that day (or hour(s)), your mate has royal power to command you as s/he wishes.  Offering absolute power requires absolute trust, and the reaffirmation of that in the act (regardless of what the requests are) is very powerful.  One couple made special tokens that could only be cashed in once every two months

Sample options/decrees:

  • Bringing food and drink
  • Cleaning / organizing
  • Running errands
  • Massage
  • Sexual favors
  • Cooking
  • Showering with complements
  • Doing something with the children
  • Being sung to
  • Fanned and fed grapes

Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Build the relationship culture and history
  • Foster trust
  • Provide regular opportunities for play
  • Help to accomplish tasks
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Fulfill needs for predictability and novelty