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Greg and Rose Yerex were left stranded in a Princess cruise ship when one of the passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. While the experience was nightmarish, they still came out of the quarantine with a stronger relationship.

Many couples are discovering new things they love about each other – and hate about each other during these times of self-isolation. Perhaps, the first ones to experience the couples’ coronavirus quarantine were the passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Back on February 4th 2020, they were told that 10 people aboard the ship tested positive for the coronavirus. That number quickly climbed to 700 and the passengers were forced into a 14-day quarantine sentence while the ship was docked in Yokohama, Japan.

The circumstances of the quarantine were certainly not ideal–passengers have had to deal with very poor living arrangements, some of them stuck in such small cabins–it has also been a revelatory moment to some couples.

The quarantine taught them what real problems are

Katherine Codekas and Matt Smith are perhaps the most known couple from the cruise, having shared their dinner photos to social media during their quarantine. Both divorce lawyers, they have been married twenty-one years, and shared they got along famously, discovering all their normal issues they’d bicker over, no longer seemed to matter.

However, it’s Greg and Rose Yerex, a Canadian couple from Ontario, who were also confined aboard the Diamond Princess ship.

A nightmarish turn but a positive ending

Things took an eerie, nightmarish turn after the first passenger was diagnosed with coronavirus. Thus began their struggle in an unknown land.

A Canadian couple in their sixties, the two also tested positive for the virus on the cruise. However, the couple was thankfully, asymptomatic. “We felt fine,” Rose told The New Yorker.

Still, since they tested positive, they were put in quarantine and couldn’t leave until they each produced two negative tests at least twenty-four hours apart.

It felt like Gilligan’s Island. We set sail for a journey, something happens and we don’t get home.

Rose Yerex to The London Free Press

Yes, they felt like castaways but inevitably, the experience ended up teaching them how to love each other in a whole new way.

They had no choice but to communicate

The experience, despite its anxiety, enabled them to get over some existing problems in their relationship, which started 34 years ago. Inevitably, couples who have been together so long can experience issues arising down the road.

In the very small space they were in, a room of about 12- by 14-feet and taken up mostly by a king-sized bed, they had no other company but each other.

We learned to talk to each other again. We’ve been married thirty-four years, and we’d drifted into some pretty serious bad habits.

Greg Yerex to The New Yorker

Their newfound, enforced proximity led them to get to know each other on another level. Yes, even after 34 years of marriage, they still learned new things about each other.

Being put together for twenty-four hours a day for two weeks, we wound up learning a lot about each other’s fears, hopes, and dreams.

Greg Yerex to The New Yorker

The story didn’t end yet there, though. The couple was cleared by the Canadian public-health agency but are still quarantining back in their hometown—voluntarily.

“Greg and I decided that there’s a lot of fear out in the community and that people would feel more comfortable if we quarantined for another fourteen days,” Rose said. “We have an acre of property. We can go outside in the yard. We can wander around the house. It’s pretty cushy.”

While the couple has shared, they are “glad it’s all over. It’s a huge relief,” this was an experience that has brought them closer and made them appreciate each other more, and they aren’t even turned off to cruising.

And, even after all they’ve been through, the couple aren’t ruling out another vacation at sea.

“We haven’t given up on cruising — but not for a long while.”

Their experience shows that, despite the constraints of quarantine conditions, there can still be good things flourishing–event between two people who have been together forever.

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