The Art of Partnering

The following post was sponsored by Plum Organics' Do Your Part(ner) Campaign. Bomp chicka wow wow. 
Years ago, when Hal and I were at our lowest marital moment, I read a Modern Love essay that has since become a returning entry-point for us during tumultuous times in our marriage.

The essay was about a couple who were planning to divorce when a new neighbor moved in next door. This neighbor was ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. She was a NIGHTMARE. She drove the almost-divorced couple CRAZY by doing unspeakable things that caused irrefutable anguish and overwhelming strife. And in doing so, brought them totally back together.

In short -- the awful neighbor saved the couple's marriage by giving them a reason to unite. Similarly, Hal and I have found that our marriage is always at its strongest when we find good fights to replace our bad ones. Because linking arms for the good of the kids can only take you so far in a marriage. Becoming passionate about things TOGETHER is what inevitably unites us.
case in point, our mutual love of the show, Broad City!
The last few years have been really tough on our marriage. We have been emotionally tapped out, financially strapped and completely out of sync as partners. We have always been great co-parents but for the last year or so, we kind of... let everything else go. I take full responsibility for that -- feeling like there isn't enough of me to be all of the things to all the people. I have been perpetually tired since Bo and Revi were born, overwhelmed and very EVERYTHING IS FINE externally while my insides are like help help no no help what is happening how did I get here no. 

I have always prioritized my children/being a mother before my marriage/being a wife. I think that's incredibly common and I don't think it's a a bad thing. However, in order to make a marriage work, a conscious decision to remove the kids from the equation from time to time is imperative. Intimacy does not always go hand-in-hand with child-rearing, ahem.

But in recent months as we have become more determined to fight something other than each other, there has been an undeniable shift in our bond.


When Plum and I first discussed partnering on this campaign I warned them that I was basically a case study for the cliched married person in unsexy-survival mode. Couple time? What is that? Sex? Lol! The whole point of Plum's Do Your Part(ner) campaign is to encourage couples to make love... a priority (zing!) because for many of us, prioritizing "married time" over "family time" is... not happening. And it totally should be.

Hal and I were never married without ALSO having children, so "alone time" has always seemed like a mythical thing. It doesn't help that we have always majorly sucked at making time for each other because UGH, LET'S JUST STAY IN, WANT TO?

ED: We are notorious for planning date nights and then canceling with our babysitter last minute because it's just too much work to GET DRESSED UP and SIT IN CHAIRS somewhere else.

Very often I underestimate the importance of getting up off my ass and maintaining a healthy, happy marriage. I tend to think, "well! If my kids are doing well, that's what matters!" But the truth is, THAT IS NOT ALL THAT MATTERS AT ALL.

By putting "family first" we so often put our relationships... well, last. By saying, "Ugh! I'm too tired to do sex things," we are too often depriving ourselves AND our relationship, which leads to... not actually putting our families first at all. Because "family" isn't JUST about parenting, it's also about partnering...  about nurturing the foundation of our partnerships, openly communicating, prioritizing, fornicating....

Which brings me to sex, an awesome thing people do with each other when they can find make time to actually do it. Because, spoiler alert, when you have kids and jobs and life and feel very unstable in the world, LIFE IS VERY TIRING and VERY STRESSFUL and, well... it can be quite the challenge to get in the sex-mas spirit. I am currently feeling about as sexual as a fart. (No offense to those who find farts sexual.)

I don't think there has ever been a more stressful time for Hal and me as a couple. We are in the process of putting our house on the market (I know it's sad --  It's also happy, though and I'll write more about it later) and that's just like 15% of life's current (work/life/family/children/money/politics) stresses. In short, this is not a sexy time for us. This is a motivated to make change time. A trying-to-find-a-new-place-to-live time. A please-unplug-before-you-have-another-panic-attack time, but not so much a "let me sext you a photo of my boobs" time.

Womp womp wommmmmp.

Regardless of what might be keeping you and your partner from going at it like newlyweds, open and honest conversation about WHO NEEDS WHAT and WHY is imperative. Intimacy is HARD to maintain for a host of different reasons, ESPECIALLY when babies (children of all ages, too, really) are involved. Couple parenthood with the whole been-married-for-many-years situation and, well... sex drives have a tendency to wane. (ED: There are only SO MANY ways you can spice up your sex life when you have literally DONE IT ALL sexually with the same person.) 

The point of Plum's Do your Part(ner) campaign isn't to become overnight sex freaks, but to reclaim the part of your relationship that, for whatever reason, has been... MIA.

For me, this campaign is about acknowledging my marriage as a living, breathing thing BEYOND my children, and nurturing it in new ways so that we can GROW together and be our best possible selves for each other AND our family.
Plum has ALWAYS made it their mission to initiate unfiltered dialogue when it comes to the realities of parenting and it has been my honor to partner with them and their #parentingunfiltered campaign several times over the years. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, PARENTS. WE ARE IN THIS THING TOGETHER. LET'S KEEP SHARING THIS STUFF AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE DO.

And so, for the next two weeks, I will be pledging to prioritize intimacy and to do the necessary work to be a better partner.

That will include:

- Prioritizing alone time, specifically NAKED alone time.
- Planning TWO date nights in two weeks. (The last time we had a date night just the two of us was literally last summer I'm not even kidding. WE ARE THE WORST.)
- Challenging myself to unplug at 8pm every night in order to french kiss underneath the proverbial bleachers.
- Resistance as foreplay because LITERALLY nothing makes me hotter for my man than political action. LET'S CALL OUR REPS TONIGHT, WANT TO? YEAH. OHHHHH, YEAH. 

I don't know that taking a pledge will turn me into a master of intimacy but I do intend to give it my all (and hope you will, too) because, let's be honest, WE CAN ALL USE MORE LOVE IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW.
Here's to fighting the good fight, friends. READY BREAK. 


Plum is hooking me up with FOUR "Do Your Part(ner)" kits ($175 value) for those who want to join me in taking the pledge to spark some fires a la bomp chicka wow-wow.

To enter to win, take the #doyourpartner pledge, here and write about how you take time for your relationship below. I'll be giving away 2 boxes of goodies this week and 2 boxes of goodies when I write my follow-up post two weeks from now. (All gift boxes include: truffles, a $50 gift card, massage oil, lube, wine glasses, Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity, snacks, snacks and more snacks because #makelovenotsnacks.)
Good luck and happy pledging! sexosexosexo