You love your spouse, but would you spend 48 hours handcuffed to each other?
Like many busy couples, New York City comedian and filmmaker Mark Malkoff, 37, and his wife Christine Peel-Malkoff, 35, yearned for more quality time together. So, Malkoff came up with a plan. They would spend 48 hours handcuffed to each other as they went about their daily routines. “We wanted to see each other more, but we were also curious to see how our marriage would fare under such extreme conditions,” Malkoff told Yahoo! Shine.
More on Yahoo! Shine: 9 Secrets From a 73-Year Marriage
Peel-Malkoff wasn’t surprised by her husband’s proposition; it was only the latest in a string of stunts. In 2007, Malkoff visited 171 Starbucks in 24 hours. Last year, he tried to cure his Internet addiction by living in his bathroom for one week sans technology. And he conquered his fear of flying by living on an airplane for one month in 2009. “At first, Mark suggested we handcuff ourselves for a full week and I said, ‘No way,’” Peel-Malkoff told Yahoo! Shine. “So we agreed on 48 hours. But I wasn’t sure if we could do it.”
More on Yahoo!: Couple Has Been Married 106 Times
Malkoff: “During our eight-year marriage, we’ve spent a lot of time together, but I did have reservations—how would we use the bathroom? We’re pretty respectful of each other’s privacy in that regard. However, I think the best marriages are ones where people are comfortable with each other. Maybe it would be good for us.”
Peel-Malkoff: “I was worried about the bathroom situation too, but luckily our toilet is situated right next to the door, so we were able to use it while the other person waited patiently outside. It closed almost all the way. We also agreed not to eat or drink as much as we normally would, so that wouldn’t be a big issue.”
Malkoff: “On the first day we ate breakfast and showered before putting on the handcuffs. We knew we wouldn’t be able to shower for another 48 hours. Thankfully, we had body wipes on hand."
Peel-Malkoff: “I didn’t really think my outfit through. I wore a denim button-down shirt and jeans. I should have worn a tube top, something I could easily wriggle out of. Mark wore a long-sleeve shirt and slacks.”
Malkoff: “The first thing we did was take a walk in our Queens neighborhood, and got a lot of stares and whispers. We also stopped by our neighborhood deli and waved goodbye to the cashier with our chained hands. Then, we went to a restaurant and ordered drinks and shared a hummus plate. The waiter kept smiling but he didn’t make any comments. It was weird that no one said anything to us."
Peel-Malkoff: “At home, Mark made some tea, while I washed dishes. Then I vacuumed the apartment while Mark stood there checking his phone. We are both right-handed, but I agreed to have my right hand chained. So I had to learn how to use my left hand, which was really difficult.”
Malkoff: “I also had some work to do so Christine read a book beside me. I was very aware of the fact that I had an audience. None of it was private, but it definitely felt odd to have someone listening to every word I said. I became very aware of my surroundings.”
Peel-Malkoff: “While watching a movie later, I couldn’t do normal things like check email on my phone, because even something that minor would affect Mark—or at the very least, he would be distracted by it. Refraining from these activities was really nice because it forced us to stay present and engaged. That was the whole point of the experiment.”
Malkoff: “Sleeping was a whole new experience. I always sleep on my back with my arms folded across on my stomach but that wasn’t happening. So we slept spooning. I slept so much more peacefully handcuffed!”
Peel-Malkoff: “I didn’t. I need my space while sleeping. I wouldn’t recommend this experiment at night.”
Malkoff: “The best part of the experiment, aside from spending more time together, was that we learned to engage and communicate with each other in a brand-new way, both physically and mentally. Every time one of us had to tie a shoe, scratch an itch, or eat, we would interact.”
Peel-Malkoff: “We made an agreement beforehand to avoid discussing serious topics [in case we argued or got upset], and that included work. So, we were forced to come up with positive topics and we ended up learning new things about each other. It felt like we were dating all over again.”
Malkoff: “I would be up for the experiment again, but this time, I’d like to do it with another couple.”
Peel-Malkoff: “I would consider it.”
More on Yahoo! Shine:
Does Online Dating Really Lead to Better Marriages?
When Is It Time to See a Marriage Counselor?
How Facebook Ruined One Man's Marriage