Dear Barb—Conversation with COVID-19

Dear Barb:

Hi, my wife and I have been married for 10 years and we seem to be growing apart.  We don’t have any children and that was our choice, but it’s like we don’t have anything to keep us together.  It seems to be getting worse since the beginning of the pandemic, even though we spend all our time together, we seem to talk less and well, we can’t do anything, so we stay home except for the occasional walk or grocery shopping.  I don’t want our relationship to fall apart, but I don’t know what to do about it.  Do you have any suggestions to spice up our marriage?  

Thanks Mike. 

Hey Mike:

You may not be growing apart; you may be feeling this way because of the pandemic, as it has changed all of our lives so much.  You probably don’t have a lot to talk about because you don’t do anything or go anywhere which is what usually generates conversation.  You say you stay home most of the time, what do you do during this time?  If you just sit and watch TV, this isn’t doing anything together.  How about playing cards or a board game or preparing a meal together.  Try to create something interesting to do together.  You will be surprised how preparing dinner together will generate conversations, probably nothing mindboggling, but just sharing thoughts and feelings.  It seems like you two have gotten into a rut, but you can get out of it if you work at it.

Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship; try a different approach to communicating.  For example, sitting, watching TV and only talking to each other when there is a slow or uninteresting part is not healthy communication.  Words are a powerful force to connect or disconnect so choose your words carefully.  A few positive words can go a long way in creating a close intimate bond, just as a few critical words can easily create a defensive negative atmosphere.  Turn the TV off and spend time talking, it doesn’t have to be about your relationship, talk about anything, like a book you read or a movie you watched.  A conversation that begins in this way, will likely lead to more personal topics, and help you both to see a new or different side of each other.

Also spending a bit of time apart is a good thing.  Even in the middle of a pandemic, you can go out by yourself for a walk, or a bike ride, or drive in the car.  This will give you both some breathing room.  Growing apart is a normal part of marriage and doesn’t necessarily mean there are problems or issues.

Thanks for writing in Mike.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

Of course, we had to finish with a Dear Barb, as we did in every issue over the past year.  This one, from back in March, remains sadly relevant.  Something that one student noted “I come back to this one every wave.  It still works.”  If that’s not Best of material, what is?