What if you greeted your partner like you greet your kids?

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The moment you see them a smile breaks out on your face and you can’t take your eyes off them.  Nothing is coming between you and them as they match your expression and make a run for your arms.  You squeeze them tight and ask them how their day was, genuinely interested to hear every detail about what they ate for lunch and the different coloured bugs they found.

 

Now contrast this with how we greet our partners. (and I write this because I am 100% guilty of this too).

 

They walk through the door at the exact moment the baby is screaming for you to pick them up, the big one has spilt milk all over the bench and dinner has started burning on the stove.  Even though you know it’s not your partner’s fault you can’t help but feel resentful that they’ve had a ‘peaceful’ day at work while you’ve been handling all of this and yet they come in and sit down for a rest. You barely look up to make eye-contact – let alone physical contact. They ask how your day was and you launch into a tirade about all the things that went wrong and how difficult it all was.  Then you snap an instruction about helping with something feeling further frustration that they didn’t just know to help. Couldn’t they see that x/ y/ z needs to be turned off/ cleaned up/ picked up!!??

 

It’s really no wonder the distance grows, is it? Why the divide starts to feel so vast that we begin to feel that they really do not understand us at all.  It’s unsurprising then that we start to question what we saw in this person in the first place, isn’t it?

 

It’s not hard to imagine how it feels to come home to this sort of cool, sometimes resentful, mostly disinterested sort of reception.

 

I’ve been on the receiving end at times  (though I must admit I’m most often on the other side) and it sucks.  I feel like shouting ‘aren’t you happy to see me!?’ ‘ God dammit just give me 5 minutes of undivided attention before you turn back to  building whatever it is you’re building/ footy / your phone!’ Funny how we can do it to our partners without noticing but when it happens to us…

 

I know it feels like shit and yet I still continue to do it?!

 

But what if we changed just this one thing.  What if we simply changed the way we greeted them, every time they came home.

 

What if we turned our whole attention to them coming home.  If we greeted them with a smile.  If we sought physical touch (a kiss, a hug) just like we did in the old days.  What if we let the dinner cool and the kids whinge and showed them despite everything, despite the chaos, we are happy they are home.  And not because they are reinforcements but because they are simply them.

 

I wonder how things would change then?

 

How do you greet your partner when they get home?

 

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