Hooked on a Feeling

A study was published, about a decade ago, that intrigued me. It claimed that hugging your partner for 20 seconds significantly lowers your blood pressure and promotes a better stress response.

I’ll speak for myself, here – I. Need. That.

Boatloads.

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I know that I’ve mentioned the whole “hugging thing” before. I guess it’s no secret that I’m a Hugger.  There’s a flip side to that, in my marriage, though. When I’m hurt, angry, or disappointed, I withhold the hugs.

And, it hurts both of us.

I need my oxytocin!

Our marriage needs The Oxytocin!

Before you go worrying that I’ve gone down a bad path, oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that lowers stress. It’s also commonly referred to as a “bonding hormone”. It doesn’t take a rocket researcher to figure out that a marriage can use all the bonding support it can get.

Indeed.

Knowing that a little extra hugging does a marriage good, is helpful. It also means that when I withhold the hugs, it’s a double-whammy.

Not to mention the fact that Sweetman and I desperately need the grace that those extra seconds of hugging bring to our feelings. Because, I don’t know about you, but for me?  Feelings don’t always cooperate with monogamy, commitment, or love-as-an-action-word.

And, For The Love, I wish they would!

But grace courses through our veins when we hug it out. We are given the opportunity to press pause on the marital discord. Fueled by proximity and a whole lot of blood pressure lowering oxytocin, our bond is strengthened.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken. But, when it is, an extra long hug will reattach those strands, and firm up the tenuous ones.

Go on, now… give it a try!

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Today is day 30 in the Write 31 Days challenge over here.

One More Day! Wait till you see how hot it gets tomorrow…

Eight Hugs a Day

Virginia Satir, a noted Family Therapist, once said that, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

I might be okay.

Sweetgirl hugs me no less than 10 times before she even leaves for school in the morning!

But, I suspect that it’s not the actual hugging act that helps us to survive. I believe it’s the knowledge that someone, the someone on the other end of that hug, cares.

Science has shown us that babies thrive when they are held and hugged. Research has born out what The Creator of all humanity intended by endowing a mother with the ability to nurse her child – we humans need connection. Hugs provide that. On a basic, flesh-to-flesh level, they usher in confirmation that everything is okay in this moment.

The apology is accepted.

The love is returned.

The parting truly is such sweet sorrow.

And sometimes, as when a Sweetboy and his mother engage in an epic battle of “why can’t I be like everyone else”, you just have to Hug. It. Out.

And grace?

Well, grace rides in deftly disguised as a hug.

And the boy-child is none the wiser.

But his mama surely is.

And other times, when a Sweetgirl throws a tizzy over some friendship slight that she may or may not have taken part in, but she doesn’t want to hear that of course, you just have to Hug. It. Up.

And the girl-child is none the wiser.

But her mama most assuredly is.

Indeed.

And she’s thankful.

In fact, she’s been known to get in a few extra squeezes, just for good measure.

If I combine all that hugging, and I pray for another opportunity, or four, before day’s end, that gets us right on up that eight a day.

And beyond.

Because, Grace always goes beyond the minimum necessary. -tweet that!

Always.

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This post is day 8 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Family Sandwich

Sometimes, we call Sweetboy “The Big Cheese”.  For all of the reasons you can possibly conjure in your mind. And then some.  Now that you know that pertinent piece of information, what I’m about to relay will make more sense.  Maybe…

Sweetman, Sweetgirl and I were down in the playroom snuggling on the couch while Sweetboy was up stairs hopping away, when Sweetgirl asked for a “Sweetgirl Sandwich”.  This is not an edible sandwich, however; it’s a kind of hug.  Daddy and I stick a kidlet or the kidlets in between the two of us and we do a squeeze hug, which we call a Family Sandwich.  (This all started as part of Sweetboy’s Sensory therapy when he was little.  We would help him alleviate his need for sensory input by providing great big bear hugs.)

I suppose Sweetgirl decided it was high time we had just a “her” sandwich.  In any case, we did a Sweetgirl Sandwich and she giggled delightedly and asked for a second helping.  We obliged.  Sweetboy heard all of the ruckus and made his way down to see what was going on. When he discovered that we were doing a Family Sandwich, he, of course, wanted in.  So we smushed the two of them in between us and hugged the stuffing out of them both.

At this time, Sweetman informed the kidlets that we were the pieces of bread and Sweetboy was the Big Cheese.  Sweetgirl instantly asked, “And what am I, Daddy?”  We looked at each other above their heads and that man? He read my mind!  Because, his response was, “You’re the Turkey, of course!”  We all collapsed into fits of giggles and laughter.

And it was the most satisfying Sandwich I’ve had in a good long while.  Indeed.