Friday, May 27, 2011

It's the little rituals

This morning, my husband lingered for a bit before leaving for a late morning meeting. It was so nice to be together in the quiet after the kids went to school. Coffee cups and small talk and peace. Then we began to go about our days, and from the bedroom, I heard the door shut. A long silence followed and I thought he left without kissing me goodbye. He was gone long enough for me to think for quite a while about how much our little rituals mean to me. They are the little things that hold me in tight, so much more so than the grand gestures and costly vacations.

The times we make certain we bring the camera are not the ones that mean the most to me. They are the goings in and out, the openings and closings of the day, and the time we spend together in the holy moments such as church and before-dinner prayers.

I wanted to share our few little rituals, and I wanted to know what yours are. In the sharing, we can help one another weave a few more of those threads that hold up all the others. In our marriage, I think the earliest ritual we started - back when dating - was the habit of holding hands during prayer. Whenever we are sitting together in church and it comes time to pray, with eyes closed, we instinctively reach for the other's hand. There have been hard seasons, no doubt, when that hand holding was so difficult. But it never stopped. Thankfully, there has always been at least one of us willing to reach out and take the other.

My husband and I also kiss and hug every night before bed, and every greeting after being apart for the day, such as his coming home from work. Again, during tough times, we can hardly look each other in the eye. But most of the time, one of us is willing to press through hurt and pull together what is trying to pull us apart.

For our children, there is the kissing, hugging and prayers at bed time. My husband has the ritual of singing and playing guitar for them, and they love it so much. Hearing their little voices trying desperately to sing "Father, I Adore You" in a three-part round is so precious. They want to do it so badly on their own! They are getting it, slowly but surely. And not just the song, but the safety of being pulled into our family, the little rituals helping heal the broken places among us.

This morning, turns out my husband had not left. He was fiddling in the garage, that place that exists outside of the dimension of time, and eventually came back in. I heard the door open and shut again, and his heavy footsteps come back into the bedroom. "I thought you left without saying goodbye," I said imploringly. "You did not!"  He grinned back, incredulous. It seemed a silly thing to him, that I thought I was forgotten. Impossible, really. And then I was drawn in just a bit more.

So what are your little rituals in your family relationships, the repeated things you find holy in your simple everyday? This weekend, let's be conscious of them. Let's try to draw one another in tighter, safer, and resist the temptation to pull away. We need each other, and there are rich blessings to be found in connectedness. 



  1. Great post! I agree with you. The little rituals are so much more valuable than the costly vacations or toys.

    I am SO incredibly ritualistic. To name a few...

    1. We say the same prayer over Jude every night. "Lord, guard his mind. Lord, guard his heart. Lord, guard his body."
    2. Before going to sleep, Alex gives me three kisses on my forehead and one on my lips. Ever since our first night as man and wife.
    3. "I love you" is the very last thing we say when on the phone or when leaving each other.
    4. To decide who gets to hold Jude, we race to say, "I call boy!" first. Every time.
    5. We say I love you via hand squeezes. The first person squeezes three times for, "I. love. you." The second person squeezes back four times for, "I. love. you. more."

    I wouldn't give these and all our other rituals up for anything.

  2. I love this! We have an always kiss before you leave and right when you come home rule too. Even when he's just come home from a long day doing his messy job (landscape maintenance) we alway kiss, and then meet on the stairs for a proper hello once he's cleaned up! We also speak in abbreviation, like L.G.T.B (let's go to bed) and other silly things-they're code words we can share with each other and no one else knows what we're giggling about. Of course, there's lots, lots more between us and our kids too!

  3. really sweet post leslie!
    john and i have our sweet rituals too...
    *good morning, happy friday (or whatever day it is that day)
    *greetings and goodbyes are always filled with hugs and kisses
    *we do 'the 5 A's every night' - affirm, address, ask, amen, affection! start by affirming him with something he did today, address anything that he did that bothered or hurt me, ask what i can do for him tomorrow, ask what i can pray for him tomorrow and end it all with a simple kiss of affection. should not take more than 2 minutes :)

    hope you have a beautiful weekend!

  4. i love this post. period. thank you for sharing :-)