30 Seconds to Intimacy: Reflecting on HOLD

I don’t remember exactly when Josh first mentioned it. Maybe it was something his therapist said. Perhaps it was a random article that caught his eye during a mental work break. All I know is that since he mentioned there was a “right way” to do them, all our subsequent hugs have piqued my interest.

Hugging, it seems, is good for our neurobiology. And 30 seconds of it increases intimacy-cementing hormones (namely, oxytocin). This is the chemical released during childbirth and, interestingly, intercourse. As much of a 30 second EMBRACE (recall that this is my #oneword2017) can enhance, solidify, and tenderize your relationship with your partner. Not that Josh and I need it — we’re that obnoxious couple that has never fought, despite dating for over a year and living together for nearly six months. Part of that is because we’re naturally so fucking compatible that it bewilders us on a daily basis. The other is because we actively work to preclude conflicts before they originate.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to have a huge blow out at some point. We’ve even placed a bet on what it will be about and who will start the fight (my bed: probably about his ex and it’ll probably be me saying something feisty).

But in the meantime, we are diligent to take care of the other person. To be on their side. To support and forgive and clarify. And this week, I wanted to give those long, restorative hugs a try.

So every day, we would HOLD one another for a long embrace. Sometimes it was in the bathroom, naked post-shower. Sometimes it was in the doorway, holding my purse post-work. Sometimes it was in the kitchen, wet hands from doing dishes post-dinner.

You don’t just wrap your arms around each other, either. Josh gave me instructions during our first run — you must also put your weight into the other one. Really lean in there. Rest your body against the other person. Hold tight-ish. Maybe place your face in the crook of their neck and breathe in their pheromones.

And for reals, y’all, it works. It’s an instant rejuvenater. At first we hugged for the designated 30 seconds. Oftentimes it lasted far longer, the two of us slowly revolving in our own little world. The hugs infiltrated our sleep, TV watching, and meal times. Josh thrives on physical touch so this week’s verb benefited him even more than me.

This week was a good reminder that our VOWs needn’t be major in order to be impactful.

Next week we shift gears and begin to TAKE

Lin’s VOW mantra:

Lin’s Song of the Week: Hold On by Rivvrs

Be sure to read Steph’s #VOWhold post (coming soon!)

A List of the Unexpected: Reflecting on SURPRISE

A matching ice bucket and decanter, which fit nicely with the theme of my our bar cart.

The Power of Now.

A basketball.

The letter I posted two weeks prior, the day the address change was submitted to the post office. Returned home and set aside to be read… when the message was no longer pertinent. Yet still sentimental.

Space in closets, drawers, and the bookshelf.

Tickets to Sam Bush.

A vintage picnic basket for dinner and movies (and yoga, and concerts) in the park. Coming Tuesdays this summer.

A geometric painting of a lemon, created when I was stoned.

Matching mugs — Damn it feels good to be a gangster. x and Oh darling, let’s move to Avondale and be adventurers. x

His-and-hers Student-Affairs-pink underwear.

All new bedding — despite being identical to their predecessor.

A hot sauce kit from a sister.

Rosemary cookies from a mother.

Doonesbury comics from another.

Orange roses.

A wax seal in the shape of a Z.

New sneakers for more urban hikes.

A new dress for The Great Homecoming. And a new journal to mark a new chapter of life.

Arriving on Thursday afternoon rather than Friday night — and beginning a life together.


This week contained many surprises to mark an occasion so momentous that we weren’t the only ones to celebrate — friends, family, and neighbors contributed.

Reflecting on the excitement of these items and experiences helped solidify that my love for surprises, both in giving them and receiving them, lies in the act of generosity and care meant exclusively for the benefit of the receiver. Every extra item chosen in an Amazon order or on a trip to Target, or in making additional space in my home was exciting because they were done specifically for the appreciation of another. The giver revels in the anticipation because they foresee the joy it will impart. The size of the gesture and the price tag associated means nothing. It’s the act of love, to show they are known, they are cared for, that they are truly seen, and they are prized above all else is our message. And we speak this love language well.

Here’s to more of the unexpected in coming weeks and years. In the joining of two lives and seeing where we go next.

Keep a candle burning because this week we WORSHIP

Don’t forget to check Steph’s post on #VOWsurprise (coming soon!)