“I don’t know if I can survive this,” my friend lamented.

“Is it the stress of worrying about getting the virus?”

“No, I don’t know if I can survive being with my husband 24 hours a day!”

My friend lives in Boulder and considers herself an independent woman. She’s used to going to work every day. Meeting friends for coffee. Going shopping, to the movies, and to the gym to work out.

Her plight reminds me of a story I heard about an old retired couple.

As the story goes, the man worked as a truck driver. He would be gone for three days, home for two, then out for three or more days.

His lovely wife took care of the household, raising their children, while he acted as the bread winner.

Then he retired.

They were home alone together, the children long gone. He provided helpful tips on how she should take care of the house.

Things like how to load the dishwasher, organizing the pantry, grocery shopping.

Finally, one day she reached her limit.

“When I married you, I married you for better or for worse!” she exclaimed.

“But I did not marry you for lunch. Tomorrow, you are going to leave this house in the morning and not return until dinnertime. I don’t care what you do. Go to the library, find somewhere to volunteer. Just leave.”

He was astounded. But he did find a place to volunteer, and he found his purpose. And their marriage found a new level of peace and serenity.

This story reminds me of my friend, and the uncharted waters many are navigating.

For some reason, Bryon and I have not yet gotten on each other’s nerves. I believe it has to do with the lifestyle we live in our rural home outside Nederland.

We lead simple lives, and rarely go out even in the best of times. I think the last time we saw a movie at the theater was three years ago. On rare occasions, when we go grocery shopping in Boulder, we splurge and eat dinner at Panera.

A friend of mine back east is despairing about how to exercise. “But I go to the gym usually four times a week, what am I going to do?”

We don’t have a gym in Nederland, and even if we did, I probably wouldn’t go. Once I’m ensconced in our log home, I really don’t want to leave, except to walk the dogs.

But I know the value of weight lifting, so we have a room that is half office, and half workout room. The closet stores all our outdoor things like rock climbing gear, backpacks, skis and other thing. We also have a wide array of dumbbells and barbells neatly stored on a rack. A small tv allows us to play workout videos. It’s our own in-home workout room.

We even have two separate home office, one in the workout room and one up in our loft. This allows us to both work remotely without disturbing each other.

These individual spots also allow us to retreat somewhere when we feel the need to have “our space.”

So yes, life is not so much different in the coronavirus era as compared to “normal” life.

And that is the secret to successful relating to your spouse during this trying time.

Best of luck…