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He then invited audience members to share their own favorite marital rituals.The results were moving, inspiring - and sometimes hilarious.Which means someone has to apologize first." He added that he always apologizes first.This guy’s been reading the marriage research, or maybe he doesn’t have to. He recounted the time that one of his ten grandchildren asked him, "Grandpa, are you the head of the family?So they make sure they invite other people along for company. During courtship the marriage is figural in our lives—front and center, if you will—and the rest of our lives are ground.When we get married, and particularly after we have children, this reverses: other things—the children, our work, our hobbies, our religious involvement—become figural and the marriage moves to the background and only gets our attention when there’s something wrong.I asked him about his secret of his marital longevity.

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At his banquet presentation at the Smart Marriages conference, Bill Doherty talked about the rituals in his own marriage, such as a nightly hot tub soak and conversation under the Minnesota stars.

This is not being dysfunctional, this is being normal. Paul, Minnesota, which is right near the Mississippi, the farthest north where big ships can navigate the river. (I never knew what those decimals meant in the studies. With new babies, our first priority is naturally the care of a creature that nature has programmed to get our attention. We tradeoff child care so that we can get some individual down time.

I like to use Mississippi analogies when I talk to couples. Not that I have anything against the south, but if you don’t want to go there, you’ve got a problem. We end up borrowing on our marriages, not just for a short time but for a long time.

Rituals can be everyday interactions, or they could be once a year, but they’re repeated. You have to know what is expected of you in a ritual; you can’t have a meal ritual together if you don’t know when to show up for it, and you can’t dance together if you don’t know what kind of dance you are going to do.

You’re not going to have much of a sexual life if you don’t end up in the same space at the same time.