The manner in which we start something often dictates how it ends. If you go into a tense meeting at work already anxious, it will likely result in acting flustered. If you start a construction project without much planning, it will likely lead to multiple expensive trips back to Home Depot.
How you return home after a long day follows the same pattern. If you come in the door irritated, combative or disengaged, you’ll likely experience an unfulfilling evening. On the other hand, if your first interaction upon returning home is fun, satisfying and pleasant, it will set the stage for a more enjoyable evening.
Not every evening is going to be pleasant, but we can stack the deck in a way that helps make it much more likely. We do that by altering our coming home rituals. We all have a rather predictable process of steps we take upon returning home. We might check the mail, pat the dog, take off our shoes, change our clothes. We repeat these steps just about every time we come home. This forms our ritual. Sadly, embracing and reuniting with our spouse is absent from said ritual. We want that to change.
Creating a new ritual
- Before stepping through the door: get off the phone, take a deep breath, exhale that deep breath, and smile.
- Come into the house: empty your hands, take off your shoes, remove your coat/gloves/hat.
- Find your spouse: say hello, and give them a 5 second hug or kiss.
- Settle in: now you can change your work clothes, sort the mail, say hello to the kids, etc.
- Reconnect: within 15 minutes of settling in, take 5 minutes to listen about your spouse’s day, and share about your own. This is not a time for addressing conflict, or resolving issues. That can come later. This is simply a time to reestablish an emotional connection with your spouse.
- Rejuvenate: Later in the evening, on most nights, spend at least 30 minutes engaged in quality time together. Have fun together, laugh, or connect deeply over emotional sharing. The choice is yours, just set it aside and guard it as sacred time between the two of you.
Gives this a shot for the next 10 days and see what sort of impact it has upon the rest of your evenings and upon the large climate of your home and relationship.