“Have you heard of Words with Friends?” Dr. Silber asked us.
David and I had been living in a sexless marriage for years, which is what brought us to our marriage counselor’s office that day. We weren’t sure what to expect, but when Dr. Silber suggested we play fake Scrabble, it was a total curveball.
“You mean the app?”
“We having nothing left to lose,” David sighed.
We were hesitant at first, but Dr. Silber explained that Cognitive Mobile Gamification (CMG) therapy was a new approach that had helped other troubled couples work through their issues. By not having to be in the same room and playing a game free of real-world repercussions, it was possible for couples to forget, and then continue to forget about their own problems.
First we chose our WWF names; Dr. Silber encouraged us to “be creative.” I went with “J-Scoop” (a nickname from my high school field hockey days) and David chose “David349834” for some reason. Dr. Silber told us that if we created “therapy words,” they’d be counted as a quadruple word score. Then we started our first game.
What has followed are the most blissful months of marriage we’ve ever experienced. David and I spend 3-4 hours everyday in separate rooms. I chose the living room; he chose the garage. Having permission to not be around each other was vital. If I ever need to take some time between words to do other things, like talk on the phone with my best friend Debbie, that’s okay. The same goes for David, though he usually spends his time reading consumer reviews of ridiculous cars we can’t afford.
I’m not going to lie: there were times when it was difficult, when I just wanted to spell out the word “asshole” or “bitchslap.” But since I was alone and had time to reflect on whether or not I really wanted to go there, I was able to stop myself. Also, most of those letter formations are not recognized as words in WWF.
Oh, and the sex? After three to four hours on Words with Friends, the feeling of any male body against mine is enough to make me happy. I don’t judge David’s gut, or his weird birthmarks, or his lack of creativity because I know that after it all, I’ll be J-Scoop and he’ll be David349834. If I play my tiles right, I’ll prove that I am the one making this marriage work.