Coping with homesickness in your cross-cultural marriage

You Can’t Click Your Heels Three Times

Do you ever find yourself wishing that going home was as simple as clicking your heels three times and repeating ‘There’s no place like home’?

There are many times that I have wished to be instantly transported back home. I have to clarify; I’m not talking about a permanent move back more like a quick visit. I’d love to spend an afternoon with a friend, hug my Dad and Mum, buy something I can’t get in Hungary and then click my heels again to come back to my ‘other home’.

There’s no place like home

If you are living in a country which isn’t your original home, then you can perhaps relate to that feeling.  It isn’t unusual to have feelings of homesickness. Some days, that feeling can disappear after a quick visit to the foreign food aisle at your local store, other days it isn’t as easily dismissed.

Missing Home and Missing Me

Firstly, it’s okay to miss home. It means that you loved home; you loved the people, the place, the sights, sounds and tastes. Combating both feelings of homesickness and a sense of guilt is difficult. You can still enjoy things about your adopted country while appreciating the things from home. It isn’t a competition.  A lot of people miss the sense of comfort, the sense of truly being themselves.

Being homesick isn't just about missing home, it's about missing being the real me. Click To Tweet

It’s Okay to be Sad

Secondly, allow yourself to grieve. Grieving is obviously deeper than simply missing home, but the reality is that there are things you will grieve about. You gave up a lot to move, and it’s not just okay to mourn, but it’s also important to mourn the things you’ve sacrificed. During our missionary training, one thing we were taught stands out in my memory. We were told that it was important to say good goodbyes and good hellos. The main point was that to embrace our new life we often have to allow ourselves to grieve and let go of our old life.

Being homesick is a sign that you love. Don't feel guilty! Click To Tweet

Don’t Feel Guilty

If you’re a spouse who is on home turf, then let this process take place. Don’t take it as an insult when your loved one isn’t on the top of the world. They obviously love you and have given up a lot for you, but they need to be allowed to mourn their losses. If you’re the spouse, who has moved then make sure you reassure your partner that they are worth the decision to leave things behind, but you need to be allowed to process the cost to you. Recognise the triggers. Events that would usually be ‘family’ events like Christmas or birthdays might be tougher on you than other days of the year. If you know in advance where the triggers will be, then make an extra effort to connect with family and friends on those days. It may be that you might even need to order a shipment of ‘goodies’ that you associate with that time of year.

Glance back, focus forward. Don't let homesickness consume you. Click To Tweet

We’d love to hear from you about what you miss most and your coping strategies for homesickness.

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