Hugging 101

Hugging 101

This morning, I found myself yearning for love. I just wanted to be in the arms of someone who would tell me that everything would be okay. For various reasons, the past week has been a rough one for me. Truth be told, I’ve been mired in what I call The Dark Place, which is exactly what it sounds like. In The Dark Place, there is no light, warmth, or hope. It’s not a rational or fun place to find myself, but I was there nonetheless.

I knew my husband was the person I needed to lean on. Yet, from my vantage point in The Dark Place, my husband was part of the problem. He seemed distant. I felt as if we spoke two different languages. I also felt some sort of odd tension between us. But one thing I know about The Dark Place is this: human interaction and touch is one of the fastest ways to get out of it.


I needed a hug, and I needed one from my husband. However, I realized that I did not even remember the last time we had hugged. This lack of hugging was not intentional; it was just one of those things that happen during marriage and parenthood. When we have a few moments to ourselves, we often spend them in silent decompression mode: sitting in a chair and staring into space, letting all of the stress from the day ooze out of your skin and into the air around you.

It doesn’t have to be this way, however, nor should it. I could decompress while we snuggle together, for instance. Touching is so important for a happy, loving relationship. Touch is a form of communication, and this form of communication is even more important in a marriage like mine, where verbal communication can sometimes be stifled by a Strong and Silent personality.

So I drove to his store. I walked in. He was surprised to see me. There was one other customer there, reading the paper and drinking coffee. I didn’t care. I needed a hug. I faced my husband.

I said, “I just came here for a hug. I really need a hug.”

He hugged me. I hugged him. He lifted me off my feet and squeezed me so tightly that I’m positive he adjusted my spine, hopefully for the better. He put me down and eased his grasp. I put my head on his chest.

I said, “Thanks, that’s all I needed.”

“Glad I could help,” he said.

I was glad he could help, too.

My husband and I once practiced a hugging exercise that was described in one of the marital improvement books I’d read. I came away from that experience with this belief: There is no right or wrong way to hug. Just do it.

Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, which tells the real life story of how she went from the brink of divorce to falling back in love. It's available for pre-order on Visit her blog at