The Relationship Ritual this Entrepreneur Uses to Keep Hers on Track
An elevated practice that helps you live your best life? That’s a ritual. We've asked women we admire to share the daily rituals that make them who they are. Discover their secrets and try a new ritual for yourself.
When I first met my husband, we fell in love instantly: it was super fast and easy-going. But in the last two years, my husband and I each started our own companies and we had a baby. We became so focused on our businesses and the baby that we completely forgot about our relationship. We had to check ourselves and start making time for rituals that would be our own.
I don't think you can actually “have it all.” I always say that you can have it almost. I think it's actually only possible to focus on 3 things at a time — relationship, health, career, family — and you have to choose which ones for yourself. When we had a baby, that really pushed our relationship to the wayside. One day I woke up and told my husband his haircut was nice...and he replied that he got it a week ago. I felt so bad, I hadn't looked at him in over a week. It was then that we decided to approach our relationship as something we could hold up with habits: we could fall back on those routines even when things were hard. Here’s how to create your own relationship rituals.
Making time for your partner is the foundation of every good relationship. Whether it’s asking for a nanny to babysit once a week while you go on a date, or just setting up a block of time in your calendar that’s reserved for you every week, you have to make sure you’re making time weekly to really be together. This means putting your phone in your pocket for an hour and making the most of that time: you can imagine that’s pretty hard for two CEOs.
By organizing your time, you can make sure that the time you spend together is meaningful. By this, I mean making your life as efficient as possible, so you don’t have to spend time together on simple tasks. My husband and I do this by sharing our calendars with each other, so we never waste time with scheduling and we each know when the other is busy. We also automate tasks that would usually be time-consuming chores, like buying groceries or toiletries, by using delivery services whenever possible. By automating whatever we can — using services like Instacart and Amazon Prime — we give ourselves more time to spend together.
Keep the romance alive
Relationships need romance, but the longer you’re together, the more you actually need to put in work to create romance. It may sound counterintuitive, but it goes along with the idea that having all the things you want takes work. Instead of doing typical date nights every week at expensive or typical restaurants, try doing things that make you both active. We used experiential stuff to bring the romance of spontaneity back to our time together: Ethiopian dinners where we ate with our hands, the Korean spa where we could get massages together, and even deciding to go car-free on the weekends and bike instead. This way, we could merge “self-care” with our relationship, which meant we were choosing to focus on both our health and our relationship, instead of just one.
Another way to be romantic is to keep your environment comfortable: make your bedroom a space where both of you actually want to spend time. We invested in a comfy mattress and really soft sheets, and we cleaned up our bedroom so that it was minimalist, getting rid of anything that didn’t make both of us happy. When you keep your bedroom sacred, you may never want to leave.
Our bedroom essentials:
A Comfy Mattress
Classic White Sheets
Learn to communicate
Start seeing a couples therapist once a month, or more often if you need to. If that’s not in your budget, try reading the same book together — something that focuses on how to improve the way you communicate.
In therapy, you can really learn to talk to one another differently. When there’s a problem, we tend to lead with accusatory statements about what the other person did wrong. One of the biggest things I learned in therapy — that’s really helpful in life in general — is to lead with your emotional state when you communicate. Instead on focusing on what the other person did or didn’t do, start with “I feel _____ because _______.” Learning to communicate with your partner in an empathetic way changes everything, and it makes you a better communicator in general, which will help you in all of your relationships.
Take time to get away (and ask for help if you need it)
Try to go away together for a weekend on a regular basis. Going away really helps you reconnect and feel a sense of freedom: it takes you out of your regular environment and lets you bring a different spark in. If you can only afford to take a day trip, that’s fine: just make sure you're creating an unforgettable experience that will help you reconnect.
Not everyone can afford to take trips without getting help to do so. It looks different for everyone, but you have to admit that you need some help and ask for it in order to make your relationship really thrive. We had to get a nanny, which was hard for me to admit I needed. For people that didn’t grow up with a lot of help, it can be hard to acknowledge that you need extra support. I’m an entrepreneur and I want to own everything — I want to cook every meal like I saw my mom do, and I want to be there for my child at every second — but I had to let go of some of that stuff in order to focus on my relationship too.
Adopt this Ritual for yourself
Katerina Schneider is Ritual’s founder and CEO. Prior to founding Ritual, Kat was a venture partner with Troy Carter at AF Square, managing a portfolio of over 70 tech investments including Spotify, Uber, Dropbox and Warby Parker. Kat founded Ritual when she was pregnant and couldn't find a vitamin brand she trusted, so she decided to build her own. She was named to the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and serves as a global shaper for the World Economic Forum. Kat lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter Tali.