June 6, 2008

Let Traditions Happen

For some reason, I don't really like the word "tradition." I guess it tends to connote something old, outdated, stodgy, or inflexible. We often hear it preceded by the words "stuck in."

But I've learned to get over that when it comes to my marriage. Within the first year of our marriage, my wife and I found ourselves developing our own traditions. One night, a few months into our marriage, my wife asked if I would bring her something to drink as we were getting into bed, referring to it as "a present" I could give her. Somehow that stuck and now she gets her "present" every night (usually water, occasionally tea :-). Another example is when the Olympics are taking place, for at least one night of it we'll drag our mattress into the living room and sleep on the floor with the all-night coverage going on the TV.

If things like this seem trivial and silly to you, just remember that no relationship develops very far without some aspect of uniqueness. For example, you and your best friends probably have at least a modest arsenal of inside jokes that you've developed over time. It's not that you tried to create inside joke material, it's that the opportunity arose as you spent time together and you let it happen. Traditions in marriage work the same way. They give your relationship a unique identity and help you and your wife develop some specific things that define you as a couple — experiences or dynamics that you share only with each other.

So what might it be in your marriage? The possibilities are endless...repeating a certain special date occasionally, doing something unconventional as part of your normal daily routine, having sex every time you stay the night somewhere new, making pancakes every Saturday morning, or whatever. What traditions have you and your wife created together?


  1. My wife and I started a fun tradition on our first anniversary. We sit down, get cozy, and pop in our wedding video. It reminds us of so many things: how young we were and how far we've come, old friends we once knew, and a special part of our journey together. It's always good for a few laughs. Our three kids join us when we watch it.


  2. Those don't sound trivial. They sound lovely.

  3. how dear, how divine. my wonderful husband also brings me a gift of a glass of water most nights (on pizza nights it's alka-seltzer!) and it always reminds me that he loves me, does not place himself above me, and will always cherish me. that nightly glass of water is always on the bedstand in the morning, as well, to remind me once again of why i get up and fix him breakfast and do all that i do.

  4. I would call these "traditions" healthy relationship activities. My face split in two with one of the largest smiles I've had lately when I read about the all-niter on the mattress during the Olympics. Those happy memories are what make our life worth every cent of hard work, selflessness towards those we love, and general pain that comes with maintaining relationships; that and the person whom you have a relationship with, like my lovely , dear, and sweet wife above.