kRIS Krankle – Can a Marriage Survive a Quarantine?

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kRIS Krankle / men’s issues

founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women       

Married to the same woman since graduating from high school, 52-year-old kRIS Krankle does his best living shoulder to shoulder with a well-educated, self-assured, progressive wife. In 2001, he founded M.I.L.D.E.W. (Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women), which now has eighteen chapters nation-wide. He has been writing for The Brewster Gazette and The Lemonade Stand for the last decade.


Can a Marriage Survive a Quarantine?

April 24, 2020


I attended a social distance group at M.I.L.D.E.W. recently and it helped me deal with how the wife and I will approach the next few months of lock-up. And actually, that’s the first thing I learned at group – not to call being sequestered with the wife by the term ‘lock-up’.

I learned a lot at group that day especially from Reggie who’s always been pretty much different than the rest of us. He attends group because he wants to find a way to teach his wife to be a better communicator. When I first heard him say that, I told him right to his face – “It sounds like she’s the guy and you’re the chick”. I received a group demerit for that.                                

So Reggie explained that it wasn’t going well in self-quarantine. Actually, that wasn’t true. Reggie’s wife was doing just fine, but Reggie himself was depressed. That is, Reggie was more depressed than his usual somewhat depressed. The group leader, a very fine-looking woman, Dr. Honeydew, asked him why? Reggie was quick to reply.

“It’s hard to explain. It’s a global crisis, right? We’re quarantined. And Peggy, she already has scheduling conflicts … it’s like nothing’s changed for her – she zooms and Facetimes and I just seem to get lost in the shuffle like it’s always been. I thought maybe this might be a time when, you know, when we could get closer or something. When we could communicate.”

  • The doctor asked Reggie – “What do you want to communicate about?” Reggie responded, “About our feelings.”
  • I almost lost my lunch. Meanwhile, everyone else looked at the floor and rolled their eyes. I thought to myself, here we go, another round of poor Reggie, sensitive Reggie, I-want-to-grow Reggie … Nancytime.     
  • Trying to be positive, Dr. Honeydew asked,         
  • “When you do communicate, Reggie,                         
  • what do you enjoy talking about?”

That made Reggie pause. He had to search his marriage inventory. It took him longer than usual and he began to become frustrated. He knew he had to come up with an answer.

“I don’t know, we hate politicians I guess … we sort of hate them together. And lawyers, definitely lawyers. Our mutual disgust with lawyers brings us closer. Meter maids. I’m not sure anyone likes meter maids. ” The doctor shook her head in a circular motion strategically signaling both yes and no, a graduate school move to make the client feel that the therapist understands.

“An’ I guess how stupid people seem to be,” Reggie confessed “that seems to bring both of us comfort. We definitely like that a lot.” How stupid everyone else is.

Classic. I’d seen this before in group. This was red meat for the doctor. ”What do you mean how stupid people seem to be? Explain that to me, Reggie.” Due to the doctor’s  major cleavage, no one saw Reggie shrugging his shoulders.  

“I don’t know … it’s like a lotta people are way more stupid than we imagined … it’s probably always been that way. I just didn’t notice it so much. I guess it’s just with the pandemic and everything, I’ve realized Peggy doesn’t need me, like at all. She’s totally self-sufficient. She might miss me in the beginning if I go down with the virus, but if push came shove … she really likes being by herself.” Reggie ended there.

In the beginning, looking at Reggie the whole time I’m thinking to myself – crimony, get a pair of huevos will ya? Yet as Reggie droned on as only Reggie can, I began to realize it was like some tune you couldn’t get out of your head … like Neil Sedaka or something, and as the group went on, I began to ask myself that same stupid question over and over again – does the wife need me or not? It was weird because it was a question I’d never asked before.

Of course, the science nerd of the group, Chad, raised his hand and par for the course, he told us something no one wanted to hear. He began with “In crisis, for humanity to survive, it’s best if the females totally outnumber the males.

“Theoretically you only need maybe five males to inseminate the world. You need far more females. Otherwise, repopulating would be way too slow  and peter out.” I thought to myself, peter out, well-played Chad.

  • Someone shouted from the far corner –                        
  • “I’d sure like to be one of those five guys.”               
  • Now that’s my kind of man. It must have been the new guy who started coming last week. I’ve got to get to know him.                                             

Sure, I could go deep and ask myself does the wife really need me … I could if I wanted. Unfortunately, she earns more than I do, so I do admit asking that question is a little intimidating. I could answer she needs me in a dark alley, you know, for protection. Most men are good for protection. It’s a property issue.

But does she need me in the way Reggie is saying? Sure, just like Reggie’s wife, she’d miss me if I wasn’t around, but she’s one of those women who always has things to do and places to go. The only place I have to go is pretty much to the john.

So as it turned out, the moral of the story and that group is I must admit I have to give Reggie credit for making us all think that day. And leave it to the good doctor to sum it up for the peanut gallery – she’s really good at knowing when an hour is over.

“Reggie, it’s o.k. to be vulnerable, to want to be needed or to need someone else yourself. All people need to be needed and that vulnerability is the raw material and glue that binds us all.” When I got home from group, the wife explained what all that meant. Good for Reggie.