By Andrew Kushnick, MFTI
You’re probably thinking, “I know how to come home – on the train!” No, this is something different. I’m talking about how you reunite with your partner after a long day. You’re tired. Work was rough. You’re hungry. But you’re about to interact with someone who is very important to you and who may be equally stressed. Thankfully, by implementing a few simple practices, you can turn what might have led to conflict into a valuable opportunity to strengthen your bond.
- Give your partner a real embrace. A full-body embrace. It’s well-established that human touch releases oxytocin, the “love hormone,” helping to relieve stress. So go ahead: put down your work bag, and do it. Hold your partner until you can feel yourselves starting to relax. This grounds you in each other. And it should go without saying, but this comes before greeting the dog or the kids.
- Quietly feel your partner’s presence. Make yourselves comfortable. Gaze into each other’s eyes until you sense a softening. Bring your awareness into the shared space. This allows you both to gently transition from the stressful workday into the sanctuary of your bond.
- Soothe your partner’s work stress. Too often, it’s tempting to avoid talking about it. But you’re each feeling it. Notice any signs of tension or tightness in your partner. Ask what’s on his or her mind. You don’t need to find the solution to a problem; all you have to do is listen. That simple act shows interest. It shows that you care.
- Ixnay on the technology. So there are work emails you have to return. Or you want to text your friend back. Unless it’s an emergency, they can wait. Tune into your partner instead. Get a decent sense of how they’re doing, and how the two of you are doing. Social media will still be there after you’ve shown your partner that he or she comes first.
- Graciously accept your partner’s thanks for your sweet text or call from during the day. This implies that you have actually done so! With a quick “thinking of you” in the middle of a crazy day, you can foster a valuable sense of continuity and safety. And you’ll reap the benefit when you come home to a loving and appreciative partner.