Rise and shine! Mornings can be the key to a successful day and a successful marriage. Rituals and routines both demand discipline, repetition and practice, but the purpose behind them is completely different. Routines become subconscious habits while rituals require thought and allow life (and your relationship) to blossom into a beautiful, enriching thing. You need both in your life and your relationship.
Here are 12 morning rituals every couple needs to feel connected and be productive:
1. Get things ready the night before
This requires some preparation before your morning but makes every morning run smoothly. Every night, prep your breakfast and set out your outfit. Night-before-preparation dramatically decreases your morning rush so you can share a couple more moments with your sweetheart.
2. Set your alarm early
Getting up 20 minutes earlier than usual gives you time to accomplish these awesome morning rituals. It's a small sacrifice to make for such a great reward.
3. Morning contact
Instead of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, roll over and snuggle your spouse. Ten minutes of physical intimacy first thing in the morning can set the stage for a pleasant and loving day.
4. Say "I love you"
Say it to believe it. Hear it to feel it.
5. Meditate or pray
Take deep breaths and clear your mind for a few minutes. Mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. If you believe in prayer, ask God to watch over your spouse and provide for their needs.
6. Stretch in bed
Wake up your muscles! If you're not into morning exercise, try simply stretching together. You'll feel rejuvenated, alert and it's an opportunity for flirting and conversation with each other without even leaving the bed.
7. Stay comfy
Slip on a robe and slippers to make your body feel like you're still in bed. It helps ease the waking up process and puts you in a pleasant mood to greet your spouse with. This is especially a good trick if you're not a morning person.
8. Share breakfast together
Instead of rushing out the door, try sitting down to eat breakfast across from each other. You won't see each other all day so enjoy your morning (and your food) together.
Breakfast is a good time to practice eye contact. It will bring you joy when you realize just how lucky you are to be married to that good-looking person across from you. Add a smile to express your love and devotion, too.
Discuss your top priorities and together plan out your day. By picking the most important things and explaining how you are going to accomplish them, you'll have a more succesful day. It also helps your partner envision what your day is going to look like and will give you both something to discuss later that night.
11. Compliment each other
Giving genuine compliments can make your love's day (and will probably amplify your self-confidence in the process). Compliments also help remind you of the things you love about your spouse.
12. Kiss and hug before heading out the door
It's your last chance to make sure your significant other really knows how much you love them before you leave them all day. Leave a lasting impression with a long kiss and hug. When you come home after your long day, pick right back up where you left off.
Rituals connect you with your spouse and help make life feel full. We need both routines and rituals to turn mundane tasks into special bonding moments between you and your spouse. After a long day, you might be too tired to connect with each other, so make sure these relationship-building moments are established first thing in the morning. Whether it's exercising, eating breakfast, cuddling or reading together, you'll feel closer and be more productive when you achieve these things together.
Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.