8 Hacks To Keep You & Your Boo From Falling Out (During A Quarantine)

Embrace this "quality time 2.0" season that you're in.

Love & Relationships

I wish I could remember the exact episode, but when I recently read the not-so-surprising-news that "the Rona" is currently causing the divorce rate to skyrocket, it took me back to a scene on A Different World when Colonel Taylor was telling some Hillman College students that, when he actually broke their school schedule down, they spent less than six weeks a year (I think it was even less than that, to be honest) in class. All that money, all that hemming and hawing, for six weeks of actual class time.

Well, guess how much time (most) married couples spend together on a daily basis? I must admit that I shot a side-eye at the internet that I had a challenging time finding some actual US data, but according to The Office for National Statistics in the UK, it's a whopping—I'm being super sarcastic—two-and-a-half hours. If they are retired, four. That's kind of a trip, once you actually let that sink in. I mean, it's not like the marriage survival rate was all that impressive before we started social distancing and quarantining (it's reportedly somewhere between 40-50 percent). Yet, folks weren't trying to, how did Keith Sweat once put it, "Make It Last Forever", when they only had to spend 14 hours out of 168 hours a week with the person they chose to become their spouse? Wow.

I wish there was enough time to break down many of the reasons why this is the case. There isn't. For now, I will say I think something that RHOA member Cynthia Bailey said plays a role. She said in a fairly recent Entertainment Tonight interview that a part of what has made it difficult to quarantine with her fiancé Mike Hill is 1) they both usually are on the road a lot and 2) oftentimes, whenever they have a disagreement, she would just walk off or stay in a hotel. Now that they actually have to sit and deal with one another, things are…well, challenging.

It can't be said enough that marriage only magnifies whatever issues already exist.

So yeah, it's kind of ironic, isn't it? "It" being the fact that, now that couples, all across the globe, who committed to being together, actually have to be together, they don't know how to deal. That's why I give a huge shout-out to folks like actor Sterling K. Brown and his wife Ryan Michelle Bathe who are holding their marriage down, in part, by having online sessions with their therapist while we're on lockdown. It's an in-our-face reminder that, if anything, this should be a time for couples to remember why they got together, to figure out what they need to do to stay together and how to be more realistic and beneficial in their relational approach.

If you are married (or currently living with your partner), you are quarantined and, as much as you love your boo, you wonder if the two of you can survive this test in your relationship, here are eight tips that can help you to not only merely tolerate one another, but actually embrace this "quality time 2.0" season that you're in.

1. Listen. Differently.


While most of us have heard the Paul Tillich quote, "The first duty of love is to listen" before, I don't know if a lot of us focus on the word "duty" that is in it. A duty is a task that comes with a particular position. Guess what else it is? It's a required moral or legal obligation. Deep, right? Based on this quote, whenever you tell your partner that you love them, a part of what you're saying is that you acknowledge that you are going to take on the task, that you've got the moral—and if you are married, legal—obligation to hear them out. And to listen fully.

And just what does a good listener look like? You allow your partner to complete their thoughts. You do your best to maintain eye contact as much as possible. You pause before responding. You give the kind of body language that conveys interest and respect. You ask questions in order to gain clarity. You try and put yourself in their shoes before reacting to something that you may not like or didn't expect. You don't deflect by changing the subject. You don't hear only what you want to. You listen in the way that you would want your partner to listen to you.

I can't tell you how many couples I work with who, while they seem to love each other, the respect is tossed completely out of the window. The reason why I say that is because they absolutely suck at listening to one another. If this time of quarantining does nothing else for your relationship, use it as an opportunity to sharpen your listening skills. It's one of the best ways to show your partner that, not only do you love them, but you esteem them as well.

2. Give Each Other Space


There is someone in my life who works from home, along with her husband. Boy, he is definitely the clingier of the two (physically as well as emotionally). Interestingly enough, that has gone up a bit more, ever since their county went into "Shelter at Home" status. Anyway, recently she told me that she told him that, since she was homeschooling their child during the week, she needed the weekends to get some of her own professional tasks done. When I called her that next Saturday to run something by her and I asked where everyone was, guess where her man was at? Sitting across from her in her office. She sighed while she said it.

I've known this couple, ever since they got together; they are homies, for sure. But even the best of friends need time apart. All of us need time to ourselves. So yeah—let your partner watch a movie alone or go into another room to check emails or read a book. If you've got a Type A personality and you feel like quarantining is the time to check off your ongoing to-do list, don't take it personally if they want to do some projects alone or at a later date. Don't feel the need to be up under them through every phone conversation that they have. If sex is shifting into less frequency right through here, don't freak out; when you have less alone time, sometimes you are more protective of your physical space.

An author by the name of Katrina Kenison once said, "Solitude is the soul's holiday." Your partner wanting to spend time without you, especially during a quarantine, doesn't mean there is something wrong in the relationship; it simply means that they also value the relationship that they have with themselves. If you want them to be whole and happy individuals, you will encourage them to do what they need in order to cultivate that relationship…even if that means stepping away from you sometimes.

3. Still Plan Dates


One of my favorite pastor-authors on relationships is a guy by the name of Kevin A. Thompson. In his article, "No Wonder You Don't Love Each Other", he talks about the fact that, when a couple is not intentional about spending quality time together, that can cause love to fade over time. And just how much time should that be? A marriage counselor by the name of Garett Coan said in another article that, in general, "For the happiest, most harmonious relationship, the pro suggests spending 70% of time together, and 30% apart. That gives each of you enough freedom to explore your own interests while still being rooted and invested in your relationship."

Yes, we are in a different set of circumstances right now, since you are probably around your partner almost 100 percent of the time. But don't assume that just because you're both sitting on the same couch, sleeping in the same bed, or dealing with the same child simultaneously that you are actually nurturing your relationship. Order some takeout, light some soy candles and have an indoor picnic on the floor. TIDAL's hip-hop and R&B playlists are free to non-members right now; throw a 90s house party once the kids go to bed. Have a movie night together that features each of your favorite flicks as a kid. Play a few rounds of Stripper Twister or Fantasy Pictionary where you draw out your sexual fantasies and see if your partner can guess what they are. Make desserts together naked. Do things that will remind you that, just because you're (temporarily) confined to the same space, that doesn't mean that quality time and creativity have to suffer. Because you know what? They don't.

4. Be 2.0 When It Comes to Respecting Each Other’s Privacy


I dig the word "oneness" when it comes to married couples. For one thing, it's biblical (Genesis 2:24-25). Yet, just because two people have decided to "become one" (which means it is a process…a daily process), that doesn't mean that they aren't still individuals too. A lot of people seem to miss this when they are in a serious relationship. You each have your own phones. You each (probably) have your own social media accounts. You each have your own extended families, friends, co-workers and lives. And while your partner should be the one who you should feel the need to "hide from" the least, at the same time, they should trust you enough to let you have some freakin' privacy.

A quarantine makes things tense enough with you going through your partner's phone, semi-stalking their social media or sitting at the door through every phone conversation they are having. Give them some freakin' privacy while remembering that private is not a synonym for sneaky. Real talk, now is a great time to build trust in your relationship by letting your partner have privacy that they need, all the while reminding them to extend the same courtesy to you.

5. Avoid Becoming a “45’er” 


What is a 45'er? I mean, I'm thinking that you can look at the GIF above this and guess. And while I could use Donald Trump, our 45th president, as a cautionary tale when it comes to so many things, what I'm going to go with today is dictatorship. A dictator is someone who is basically a control freak. In a marital union, I oftentimes say that it's someone who thinks that they have the right to treat their spouse like they are their child—and being an abusive parent, at that. Barking orders. Making demands. Acting like their way is always right while their partner's way is always wrong. Wanting everything to happen on their timetable. Being overly critical. Constantly trying to control how resources should be used. Throwing out ultimatums left and right. Who wants to live like that?

My mother's husband used to say all of the time that when someone sees a couple where the man is unbelievably handsome and the woman isn't a supermodel, what they have to keep in mind is most men will take "ugly peace" over "pretty loud" any day. What he meant by that is peace is beautiful to a man. Shoot, peace is beautiful to healthy and mature women too. Just look at our country right now. Trying to dictate is not only non-beneficial but it's counterproductive and extremely unattractive. Your partner is not someone to boss around; they are someone you are to work together with.

Now, more than ever, is a good time to focus on how the two of you complement each other, even in your differences. You are only going to cause resentment and, quite possibly the end of your relationship, if all you're focused on is how much authority you can exert.

6. Go the Extra Mile 


Former anchor Diane Sawyer once said, "A good marriage is a contest of generosity." On the heels of that, if someone were to ask me about a constant problem that I see with a lot of my clients, it's how freakin' selfish they are. It's like, they didn't get married in order to do much giving at all; all they were focused on is what they need and want. In other words, they didn't want a partner; they wanted a glorified servant. The (healthy) marriages I know that have endured consist of two people who don't do the bare minimum or even keep tally on who's done what. Both spouses are invested in meeting each other's needs—and doing it lavishly so, when at all possible.

Generous is a pretty dope word. It means you are unselfish. It means that you aren't mean or small-minded. It means that you aren't petty. It also means that you give willingly and liberally. So many marriages don't make it because, rather than honing in on what they should be giving, they only think about how to get more from their spouse. In a time in our history, when so many are in a state of lack, strengthen your relationship by doing more for your partner, by intentionally going the extra mile.

7. Don’t Hold Grudges


Something that I find to be pretty childish is holding a grudge. Now, for the record, I'm not saying that I'm not someone who used to do it; I'm simply saying that it's immature. It wastes time. It doesn't resolve anything. And, low-key, it's a way to emotionally manipulate someone. This doesn't mean that if your partner irritates you or even totally pisses you off that you shouldn't take some time to process. But a day is very different from an entire week—and yes, I know quite a few couples who go the week-long route. It gets them absolutely nowhere.

In order for this quarantine to go as smoothly as possible, you and yours are going to need to be in a good space—physically as well as emotionally. That is going to require patience, forgiveness and learning how to let some ish go (which means, once you say it's done, you quit bringing it up). You don't have enough space, literally, for everything to be an issue or a battle, so purpose in your mind, each and every day, to not hold grudges; especially about inconsequential stuff. Right through here, it's better to be at peace than to "win" every issue or discussion. Maturity teaches a person that. And a healthy relationship is a really good teacher.



Just because you may be home a lot more, that doesn't mean that you are calm, relaxed or that you are getting a quality night's sleep. With all that is going on right now—job shifting, bills increasing, kids home, etc.—it's not like you're exactly on a vacation. That's why, for the sake of your sanity and the stability of your relationship, it's important that youget some quality sleep. If you don't, it can lead to fatigue, moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness and even depression. And what about any of that sounds like it's helpful in a relationship?

If you are so stressed out that you can't seem to fall asleep, no matter how hard you try—well, if you've read enough of my articles on here, you know that sex was going to come up. When you engage in coitus, it triggers the natural hormones oxytocin, dopamine, prolactin and progesterone. All of these help to relax you, put you in a good mood, and make it easier for you to get a good night's rest. Not too long ago, I wrote the article, "The 'Seasons Of Sex' That Married People Go Through" yet if there was ever a time to focus more on "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important", "10 Things Couples Who (Consistently) Have Great Sex Do" and "10 Simple Ways Married Couples Can Make More Time For Sex"—for the sake of your sleep, sanity and relationship, this would be it!

BONUS: Keep Your Expectations As Realistic As Possible


OK, so back to why divorce lawyers are making such a killing right now. From what I've read, financial strain and also rich folks wanting to get out while their net worth is down are two leading reasons. As someone who actually specializes in reconciling divorced couples, I just want to say three things about that. One, divorce is serious and rarely a "solution" to anything (check out "What Some People Regret About Their Divorce" and "6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage"). Two, very rarely do we make wise decisions when we're anxious, tense or stressed out. Meaning, just because your partner may be getting on your very last nerve right now, you've gotta admit that these are some pretty extenuating circumstances that we are all in right now. Make sure that your emotions (and cabin fever) aren't getting the best of you. There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10—NKJV) Now is the time to lean on your partner; not push them away. And three, be realistic about what you're expecting out of your relationship during this quarantine.

Just like your man may not be a cakewalk all day, every day, you'd have to be a total ego maniac to think that he's not making some serious compromises to try and keep things smooth sailing with you as well.

Bottom line, you and yours can get through this—if you want to. Don't let a virus infect your relationship. You're stronger than that. Your love is bigger than that. Y'all are better than that.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?

7 Things Married Couples Do To Damage Their Sex Lives & Don't Even Know It

10 Hacks To Get Your Marriage Back On Track

10 Things Marriages Need On A Daily Basis

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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