If you’re married and live on the East Coast, you may be questioning your wedding vows right about now. Sure, you’re in it “in sickness and in health” ― but what about through “bomb cyclones” from hell that slowly drive you both nuts?
This excerpt from a New York Times story pretty much sums it up:
To help keep your sanity as a couple and not go stir-crazy during these trying times, we asked marriage therapists to share advice for snowed-in spouses. See what they had to say below:
1. Start eating.
In an ideal world, you’d be at some new brunch place in the city, taking your first bite of fried chicken and sipping a Bloody Mary. But you aren’t living in an ideal world ― you’re living through a snowpocalypse, and you’re essentially under house arrest with the rest of your family.
If you can’t agree on anything else, you can all probably agree that you’re hungry. To that end, warm up those frozen tamales from Christmas ― or use the leftover cheese from your New Year’s party for a makeshift charcuterie board. If you’re really feeling ambitious, score brownie points with your spouse by making breakfast in bed.
“Hey, you may not be at a hotel, but you can still get the hotel experience in small ways when you’re experiencing this weather,” said Danielle Kepler, a marriage and family therapist. “Figure out what food you have in your fridge and eat it in bed, wearing robes and your pajamas as if you received room service.”
2. Put your cellphones, laptops and tablets away.
This one might send a shiver up your spine ― and it’s already so cold ― but hear us out: It’s kind of fun to put away all your electronics and see if your family could survive, Little House on the Prairie-style. You might even end up engaging with each other.
“Consider your snow day an old-fashioned day,” said therapist Amanda Stemen. “Light some candles, home cook a meal, play some records, and enjoy what may come. Focus on one another, rather than on work or other distractions. Plus, doing something different like this increases oxytocin so it feels like you’re beginning something new and exciting.”
3. Have sex.
This is perfect Netflix and chill weather. Taking off the sweats you’ve been wearing for two days straight may seem frightful, but the payoff is so very delightful, said sex therapist Celeste Hirschman, who co-authored the book Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion.
“You both might be very hesitant to get naked, but grab a blanket; there’s lot of sexy fun you can have while bundled up,” Hirschman said. “I suggest wrapping your partner up in that warm blanket and giving them some great oral sex down below.”
Woah, this “bomb cyclone” just got a whole lot bomber.
4. Divide and conquer when it comes to cleaning.
Sure, it’s not the most fun idea on this list, but face facts: Your home has been a total pigsty since the holidays, and now you’re stuck living in it. Get busy cleaning.
The best part of tidying up? It could lead to some of that sexy time mentioned above. A 2015 study from the University of Alberta found that couples who divvied up chores had higher relationship satisfaction and more sex than couples who didn’t mutually contribute.
5. Get ahead on your taxes.
Why not just lean into the awfulness of your current situation and really get some work done? It’s a supremely unsexy activity, but you’re frozen inside anyway, so set your cold hearts on getting some tax work done, advised couples therapist Aaron Anderson.
“This is a good one, because you save yourself the stress and arguments that inevitably come when you’re trying to cram in April,” Anderson said. “Not everything couples do is romantic.”
Anderson even provided a to-do list for snowed-in love birds: Dust off all those receipts and organize them, write down the value of donations you donated to the thrift store, and call your mortgage provider and get your latest statement.
6. Grant yourselves permission to be lazy together.
The opposite argument could be made for being super lazy: You’ve muddled through the holidays with your families, and now you’re dealing with this snowmaggedon nonsense. Give yourself a break.
“The kids are probably in their rooms binge watching who-knows-what, so go ahead and enjoy the silence together,” Anderson said. “Sit down, cuddle and just talk. You probably do this at night when the kids are asleep, but couples’ nighttime conversations are different than their daytime conversations.”
The other benefit of having quality adult conversation, according to Anderson?
“Your kids will get to see you two communicating, which will set them up for their own relationship successes later down the road,” he said.