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October 16, 2020 Friday 01:36:20 PM IST

Rituals help dating couples decide relationship future

Parent Interventions

Rituals such as those centered around holidays and other celebrations play an important part in human relationships. When dating couples engage in rituals together, they learn more about each other. And those experiences can serve as diagnostic tools of where the relationship is going, a University of Illinois study shows. Rituals are experiences that are shared with others, and they impact communication between individuals. While rituals are typically celebrations such as holidays, they can also be idiosyncratic events a couple creates, such as Friday movie night. Most rituals are recurring events, though some (such as rites of passage) occur just once in a person's life. Rituals have elements of routine, but they have symbolic meaning that goes beyond routine interaction.

Maniotes and co-authors Brian Ogolsky and Jennifer Hardesty, researchers in HDFS, analyzed in-depth interviews with 48 individuals (24 couples) in the U.S. Southwest region. Respondents were on average 23 years old and had been in their relationship for 2.5 years. They were randomly selected from a larger study examining commitment to wed in heterosexual dating couples over a period of nine months.

For this study, the researchers looked at the impact of rituals. They found commitment to wed could increase or decrease, depending on the nature of the interaction. Rituals can reinforce bonds and strengthen commitment, but they can also showcase conflict areas and make people less likely to see the relationship heading towards marriage.

Couples who are dating can benefit from understanding how rituals affect their relationship. That's even more important during current COVID-19 restrictions, where rituals we used to take for granted are less predictable, Maniotes says.


(Content Courtesy: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/uoic-mon101520.php)


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