Dating in Place

How to Maintain or Improve Spousal Relations in the Age of COVID-19

Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash

Make Your Dining Room A Restaurant

This is what we did last Thursday. We fed the kids dinner on the early side and told them that we’d be on a date after 7. We set the table and lit candles. My husband made us cocktails, which we drank in the TV room. He then set out dinner on serving platters and opened a bottle of wine. Music played.

Host A Virtual Happy Hour with Another Couple

Two nights later, we set my iPad on a tall stack of books and had a drink with my brother-in-law and his wife. It was 9:00 pm their time, 6:00 pm our time. They had just put their kids to bed and were still wearing “fancy outfits” they’d worn for Dress-Up Dinner with their one- and three-year-olds. My husband and I snuggled close so both our faces were in the frame, and his brother and his wife did the same. Cocktails only last thirty minutes but it was fun to see them and catch up together. After we hung up, we wondered why we didn’t do a happy hour with them more often.

Go Grocery Shopping Together

We never go grocery shopping together. It’s a chore that is usually somebody’s “turn” to do, although I do the shopping more often than my husband. I don’t completely mind. I believe that I’m more efficient a shopper than he is. (My “belief” in my shopping skills benefits him, I acknowledge.) We decided that given the insane lines and an interest in being in public for as short a time as possible, it would make sense for us to shop together by splitting the list and getting out of Safeway in half the time. We got to the store at 7:45 am on Sunday and it was busier than it usually would be but not as bad as it had been the prior week. We saw another couple we know, and from eight feet away, the wife said loudly, “This is how we date now, I guess.”

Walk, Walk, Walk

This is obvious; one of the few ways to get cardio and fresh air is to leave the house and walk or run in a direction that keeps you at a socially acceptable distance from other people. My husband and I run at different paces so that’s out of the question (I’m not sure he can even run as slow as I do). And so we walk and talk, or not talk. The best topics of conversation are noticing spring come alive around us and gratitude about what is missing from our lives. Mainly, the best part of this is how much less driving we have to do, but we also reflect on our time together. Inside the house, we can worry about disease, economic catastrophe, and our children’s limitless boredom and restlessness. But outside, there are trees and birds and it’s quiet because no one is driving on the highway.

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