Pamela Druckerman is a contributing writer to The Economist’s 1843 magazine and New York Times Opinion, and the author of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (2012). (May 2020)

Follow Pamela Druckerman on Twitter: @pameladruck.

NYR DAILY

Pandemic Marriage, Ménage, & Me

Detail from Simone Martini’s Blessed Agostino Novello altarpiece, 1325–1328

Even under normal circumstances, marriage is a kind of quarantine: you’re supposed to live together, eat the same dinners, and sleep in the same bed. One of the first things I read about China’s coronavirus outbreak were the divorces: the many couples who supposedly emerged from quarantine no longer able to tolerate each other. After just a week of lockdown en famille, awe for my husband’s analytical powers gave way to frustration over his almost total lack of practical skills. He could foresee a pandemic, but he can’t operate a can-opener or unblock a sink.