Moving is a highly stressful transition for most people, and especially so if it’s combined with a new marriage and living together for the first time. If your wife misses her childhood home, she is experiencing normal anxiety and sadness that come from homesickness. Homesickness, as defined by Chris Thurber and Edward Walton in “Pediatrics,” the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is "distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.” Be sensitive to your wife’s homesickness, and help her to create a new home where you are.
Explore together. When your wife feels homesick, it’s partly because she feels that she’s in a strange place, so explore your new home together to make it feel less strange. Find restaurants, bars, coffee shops, parks and hiking trails where you can hang out together. Have her run errands with you so she can become familiar with the landscape.
Make new friends. People start to feel less homesick once they make connections and support systems in a new place. Join a church or club together, or involve your wife in social gatherings from your work. When she has a busy social life in your new home, she will start to feel less preoccupied with her old one.
Allow her to grieve. It can make you feel anxious to see your wife so sad, but it is normal. The more time people spend away from home, the better they learn to cope with the distance, but the transition is always hard at first. Listen to her when she talks about home and be patient with her moods.
Decorate with reminders. Help her make a home away from home by hanging photographs and paintings of her childhood home, friends and family. If possible, find a grocery store that stocks foods from her childhood home. Ask relatives to send a care package with reminders of home so that she can surround herself with good memories.
Arrange visits. You can arrange for her friends and family to visit both of you, and you can also arrange to visit her home together as often as possible. Visits will help her maintain the social ties that are so important to her and will give her something to look forward to when she feels down.
Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.