Good marriages and happy homes are built around lots and lots of time spent together. But, there always seems to come a time when spouses have to be away from each other such as business trips or military deployment. How can you manage to be cheerful, even when you have to fly solo for a while? This article gives some practical tips in answer to this question.

Stay busy

Sitting around pouting isn't going to do anyone a bit of good. At best, you waste time. At worst, you start getting mad at your spouse for going away, no matter how unreasonable you know that is. Keep up with your normal life instead. Keep your house clean (which is probably easier with one less person around anyway). Do a project you've been putting off (like refinishing that tacky dresser in your room). Turn on a movie or audiobook in the background. Sometimes, there's nothing like a little distraction to make you feel better.

Be with people who will talk to you

You could also do service to take your mind off loneliness. Help that new mom in your neighborhood or go to visit that one friend who seems to be having a hard time. If you can't muster that much good cheer, you could also just spend the time with other family members. My husband was out of the country for a week recently, making every method of contact sporadic and unreliable. Fortunately, I flew to see my parents and little brother for the week. We watched movies, played with the dogs, and generally just kept each other company. It was so much better than going crazy at home!

Get active

Exercise is a good idea any time. It's especially useful while your spouse has to be away because of all the happy chemicals that it pumps through your brain. Going to the gym is a great, basic way to do this. However, you could also go for a walk. Since you can't bring your sweetheart along for company, bring your sense of adventure instead and walk somewhere new. This could be a strip mall you haven't explored yet, that new aquarium downtown, or the trail that was too muddy to hike during the spring.

Have a girls' (or guys') night

When is the last time you had a slumber party, anyway? This is the perfect time to remedy that oversight! Grab a quirky craft, a chick flick and every home-spa implement you own. Call your best girlfriends, plus a few women you would just like to get to know better, and tell them to come party! You can paint nails, experiment with hairstyles, eat chocolate and just spend the evening laughing. This is a great opportunity to have fun with your gal pals without making your husband feel weird about having a houseful of women.

Alternately, you men can go to a game, go to a restaurant that doesn't serve salad or spend eight hours playing Halo. Your wife will be glad you didn't sit at home by yourself. When I went to visit my grandmother for Mother's Day, I worried about my husband every night, except the one night he spent with friends. I didn't care if they ate steak and ice cream for breakfast, so long as I had a cheerful husband to talk to on the phone ... and so long as the apartment didn't burn down.

Indulge occasionally

Sometimes, you just need to be a little wistful. That's OK. You can go through old letters, texts or pictures that will help to bring a smile to your face instead of a tear to your eye when you think of your spouse. Write your sweetheart a loving little note, acknowledging the sweetness and strength that he or she brings to your life. You might enjoy this part so much that it starts a new tradition.

When our lives revolve so thoroughly around our spouses, it's hard to remember that we have a wider support group to take care of us while he or she has to be away. If we call on these dear friends, stay busy and get moving, our spouses may come back to find us more cheerful and more in love with him or her than we were before. Your sweetheart may never want to leave you again!

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