A husband comes home after a long day at work and discovers a gut check as he walks in the door. He is not happy. He is actually happier at work where people seem to pay him more respect. Once he gets home, he puts his work stuff up and settles for the night. Meanwhile, he finds his wife working her nightly routine. Both his wife and kids barely recognize him when he walks in the door. He begins to come up with excuses for staying later at work to ‘finish up’ a project or ‘follow up’ on some phone calls or other contacts. Although he is physically present at home with his family, he is lonely.
A wife is tired after a long day, completing her nearly never-ending To-Do List of things that need to be done. As the end of the day draws near and her husband walks in the door, she immediately feels the tension in her shoulders. To avoid this tension, she buries herself in her nightly routine of dinner prep and helping the kids wrap up their homework. Although the whole family is physically present, she feels completely alone and isolated from them.
This is a story I hear all to often with clients. My guess is that your family may resemble this story in some way. If so here are a few quick ways to break this ugly habit.
1. Always Greet Each Other
Every day, when you get home, be sure to greet each other with some sort of greeting statement asking them about their day, saying something along the line that you are happy to see them.
Smiling is contagious. When you smile at your spouse as you first see them, it sets the tone for the rest of the night. One that is much more positive as compared to ignoring each other.
3. Physical Contact
When possible greet each other with a simple physical contact. Whether it is a hug, a kiss, or some other touch, it lets your spouse know that you are glad to see them and that they are important to you.
Within the first hour after coming home, do a quick check-in to share a little about your day. This does not have to be long and can be as short as 5 minutes. Share not only the ‘Low’ parts of the day, but the ‘High’ parts of your day as well.