Touch & The Long Distance Relationship

 

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This week’s main blog post was about the benefits of touch. As the week has worn on I’ve thought a little bit about the many unique circumstances we all face in life and relationships.

My own marriage and the “routine” we have is a bit “abnormal”. My husband works away from home for at least 5 days at a time most weeks; sometimes it’s longer or even much longer.

When he first started this type of work it was hard on us. He’d get home and we’d kind of nod at each other, accuse each other of “being weird”, despite our nightly video chats and phone calls, and it was just always a three day adjustment when he’d return home. His week off was half over by the time we felt “normal” again.

We chose to try to jump start that adjustment by meeting on the front porch and hugging for five minutes solid before he came in the door. Sometimes it lasts longer (or takes place in the garage if he uses it), but that’s our routine and it is very helpful to our situation. No more major days long getting used to each other again!

During our earliest days together we had to learn how to navigate mornings. Neither of us is especially cheery in the morning. We’re fog-filled brains, in need of coffee, and irritated that life requires us to get dressed up some days. Communicating with words and facial expressions is hard when you’re functioning at about 2% of your typical cognitive ability. So, we decided to stop talking in the morning. (I know, a counselor that says not to talk?!)

For a week we experimented with only smiling and hugging in the mornings until the first cup of coffee was down the hatch. Then conversation could begin. That routine saved us so much argument over perceived slights (turns out our assumptions on body language and facial expression aren’t super accurate through sleep blurred eyes, who knew?!). It has made our mornings so much better.

Distance work is difficult, but many couples in today’s economy not only survive it, but thrive in it. We certainly do. Add hugging in and hugging out to your spouse’s arrivals and departures in addition to your facetime calls and texts.

If you try this out, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment or send me a message!

Happy hugs!

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