The door creaks open, you hear the keys jingle, and you know they're home. Who is typically more excited to see your spouse walk in the door: you or the dog? Pretty sad to think about sometimes"

Every time our spouse walks through the door, we are given a chance to show them affection, value, and love. Often they are met with complaints, demands, or distracted, half-hearted greetings. I know that response because I do it too!

After hearing author Pam Farrell challenge wives to respond to their husbands with joy and excitement, I knew I needed to change my habits. Here's what we have found to best communicate, "Welcome home, honey!"

Give Future Notice

Call or text to let them know you are on the way. I best receive my husband Ben when I wrap up my project or mentally prepare for a short break. Having those few transition minutes can make such a difference in the entire night. If you're a parent, spend a few moments preparing your children. Let them know that they can greet their parent, but that they also need to allow some space for Mom and Dad to reconnect with each other. On the other hand, if things at home just got crazy, you can let your spouse know on the phone what they are walking into when they get home.

Give a Long Hug

The average hug lasts three seconds. But don't run away after that! Give them a LONG hug. How long?

In an article based off of a University of North Carolina Study, 20-second hugs are proven to fix things. Oxytocin (the bonding hormone) increases, and cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases. You can make some major changes in your health and closeness to your spouse just by taking time for an extra long embrace.

Give Full Attention

Find a place to spend a few minutes where you can give each other attention and time to catch up from the day. It works best if I leave my computer in another room or walk away from the desk where all my paperwork is. Get distractions out of view! What will work for you? The porch, your bedroom, the love seat in the family room? Try to get away from things tearing your attention away from your spouse.

Coming Home Happy

It's not just welcoming the other spouse. If you're the one coming home, aim to make your spouse glad to have you home again!

Sometimes, the problem needs to be left in the car before you walk through the door. I remember one night, I was driving home after an emotional wreck of a day, being hit with problem after problem. I knew that Ben would be there to encourage me and deal with tough experiences. But I also knew these were problems that didn't have to be dealt with at home, and that I could start our night on a positive note if I dropped the problems before walking in the door. So I drove around the block. I shed a few tears, relived it a few times, and moved on. Four circles later, I was ready to come home!

I texted Ben to let him know I had a hard day, but felt ready to move on together, and it was a great night! Keep in mind, I would never tell a couple to sweep a legitimate problem under the rug. But if the situation allows you to move on, don't drag it into your relationship. Instead, take some time to be optimistic!

Try one of these ideas tonight and see what a difference it can make. Go the extra mile to welcome home your honey!

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Jo Cross' blog, Real Married Life. It has been republished here with permission.

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