I’m a nerd who has always been fascinated by the History Channel. Learning about cultures and practices from centuries past is intriguing to me. Sometimes, what fascinates me the most are the questions that never really get answered in the books or documentaries. I have questions like, “If pioneers lived in one-room log cabins and had a dozen kids, then when and how were they ever able to have sex in a house with no privacy?”
That’s a good question, right? Maybe for you, it’s a more relevant question than ever because this Coronavirus quarantine might have you stuck in a house full of kids 24/7. While the unexpected surge of family time could have some positive benefits, one challenge it poses is how to have any alone time with your spouse. This really extends past just the logistics of how to have sex in a full house; it also extends to how to have any private conversations.
So, how do we make this work? How do we maintain an intimate connection with our spouse in home dynamics where the regular routine has been turned upside down? Here are a few tips that might help…
1. Create a locked door “Do Not Disturb” policy.
We had our kids walk in on us one time when we were sharing a moment of marital bliss. They pushed through a flimsy locked door in a vacation rental home while we were sharing a home with extended family at the beach. It was a REALLY awkward moment, but one positive that emerged from that awkwardness is that it firmly established a locked door policy in our house. Now, whenever any of our boys approach our room and the door is locked, they know it means we are having some private time. Even if it’s just to watch a show or have a conversation, your kids (of all ages) need to know there are some “Do Not Disturb” moments for you and your spouse. Clearly, if your children are very young or there’s some kind of emergency you’ll need to leave the room, but establishing a policy could still make your bedroom a safe space where you can temporarily retreat for some privacy with your spouse.
2. Give your spouse a lot of non-sexual touch throughout the day (and some sexual touches too.)
In a busy house where everybody is running into each other, it’s easy to start overlooking your spouse or just seeing them as another body in your way as you’re bumping into everyone and everything. Be intentional about pausing to touch your spouse in affectionate ways. Many of these touches will be non-sexual like a shoulder rub, a gentle grabbing of their hand, or a kiss on the cheek. These touch points are so important to stay connected. They also can pave the way to foreplay and eventual lovemaking later in the day. Even in seasons when you’re not stuck in quarantine, a lot of touch throughout the day is a powerful way to stay connected to your spouse physically and emotionally.
3. Make some privacy a priority.
When your routine is shot and your house is full of people and noise, there might be a natural tendency to get into a survival mode where you get on cruise control and hit “pause” on any type of intimacy with your spouse. While this is an understandable response, it’s also a dangerous mistake. In times like these, you need private time with your spouse more than ever. Make it a priority to connect in conversations with each other. If able, leave the kids for a bit and go on walks around the neighborhood just to talk and get some exercise. Take advantage of your new “Locked Door Policy” and make your bedroom a safe and sacred space to connect. Many of these habits will serve you well if you’ll keep doing them long after the quarantine has been lifted!
Now is a good time to learn from our pioneer ancestors from centuries past. If they were able to survive quarantines from Cholera and countless other pestilences with no electricity and make it, then we can surely make it with air conditioning and Netflix! If they could find a way to consistently have sex in a one-room cabin and a dozen kids, then we can surely lock our doors and find time to make love while the kids are watching a movie. I know these are unprecedented times, but they also bring unprecedented opportunities to reconnect with your spouse. Make the most of it!
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