I do

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life121 Comments


My wedding ring has been broken for nearly two years.

A few weeks ago, I finally ponied up the cash to get it fixed. A small stone was missing and apparently—according to the experts at Kay Jewelers—the entire ring was on the verge of collapse. They could not believe I'd never brought my ring in for servicing in its 20-plus-year lifespan.

Funny how my ring is a metaphor for what's been happening in my marriage for the past several years.

Stuff was missing, it was on the verge of collapse and not once in its 20-plus-year lifespan had it been in for servicing.

I've talked very little here on my blog about my love life which is funny, because working on my marriage to Dan has been the single most dominant thing in my life since February 2010 when we decided to see if we could tinker with all the messed up stuff beneath the hood.

Part of this decision has been to preserve privacy for me and my family as we fumbled our way through. Part of is because I was shocked to find out it wouldn't be a neat and tidy process that I could sum up in a quippy, heart-warming blog post. .

I mean, who wants to come online and say, "Guess what? I've been a horrible person in my marriage and in my life?"

Who wants to admit to finding out that one of their core problems is complete self-absorbption?

Can't I just talk about being chubby and learning to run and scrapbooking?


I was one of those people who thought marriage counseling would finally, for the love of God, get me what I wanted out of this thing. I thought it would be a referee match of sorts and that I would come out on top in at least half of the battles.

I mean, come on! I've got to be right at least half of the time, right?

But the past two years have been about uncovering my own dsysfunction; about trying to learn why I am the way I am and how destructive my ways of being have been. To myself and especially to my family.

And I ain't gonna lie: I have done most of this kicking and screaming. You can ask my therapist. I'm fairly certain she'll vouch for me on that.

But this year I decided to board her train. I stopped fighting it and decided to join her and see what could  happen.

And do you think it got any easier? Not really. But in order to make the changes in my life that I want to make, for myself, my husband and my family, I need to be connected to reality and to really see myself accurately. Painful as that has been and continues to be, it is what is needed.

It is what I continue to work on. Every day. And there is no clear cut path. Some days I get it. Some days I don't. But the change here is that I'm finally becoming aware of who I have been and who I want to be.

That's the contrast that will make real change possible.




So are Dan and I in the clear?

No. But really, no one is in the clear. Life isn't in the clear. And anyone who thinks that it is might as well be living in Fantasy Land, USA. I know this because I was the mayor of that town. Hell, I wasn't just the mayor, I was El Presidente Supremo.

Someone emailed me the other day to thank me for being honest about my marriage on this blog, which is what propelled me to write this today. I know there are people out there who have a lot of pain, sadness and disconnection; people who want so much to change things; to save things.

But I felt like I really wasn't talking about it. Not really talking about it.

Marriage is hard. Sometimes people have to fight like crazy to keep it going. And that takes two people in the fight, both greased up and willing to dig in and get really messy.

I am so incredibly thankful that I married a man who is in for the messy longhaul.

We are in a much more solid place today.

But the work continues.


Cathy ZielskeI do

121 Comments on “I do”

  1. #2

    Do I have the way with words the same as you? no, but wow reading this blog post is just like looking in the mirror and I am in the exact same place as yourself – thank you for sharing this as one thing it has done is made me feel normal. I too have a man willing to make things better and aknowledges things aren’t right but that I think is the start of a process you know can be made better. Thank you, once again x

  2. #5
    Kendra B

    Thank you for sharing! Your honesty is always refreshing. And as always inspiring since I so need to go to counseling, but keep putting it off 🙂

  3. #6

    Not my words but what I remind myself of regularly. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Admitting to yourself and those you love things that you don’t really want admit about yourself is half the battle.
    I’m inspired that you have the confidence to share this with us and the web-everse.
    As an onlooker to your life, because in reality we’ll never be neighbours or BFF’s or even in the same hemisphere, I appreciate that you share this deep and personal part of yourself with us and reveal a dimension of you I have not before seen.
    Well done you and good luck with it all. I’ll keep looking on, sharing and quietly cheering for you.

  4. #7

    Wow…I think you were channeling me in this post. It’s not easy and it’s not all pretty. More people need to hear this before they get married and wonder what is wrong, when it’s normal. It’s wonderful that both you and Dan are working on your issues. Best wishes to both of you, it’s hard but it’s so worth it (at least that’s what I’m told, we are still working on our issues too. 🙂

  5. #8
    Shanon Gibson

    I always admire you being brave enough to say there is something wrong and taking the effort to work on it. I have said that marriage is the hardest thing I have ever had to work on and I really mean it. Being a mom is more natural and 100 times easier (so far as my kids haven’t even started school let alone the moody teenage years!).

  6. #9

    Since my own marriage ended after 13 years, I want to give you both kudos for making the effort whether you write about it on here or not.

    We all have faults (or quirks) so don’t beat yourself up. You are evolving ~ I’m working on that too;>)

  7. #10

    Thank you so much Cathy. It is so nice to read something real. Frankly I think marriage is very hard and that most people have issues but just do not talk about them.

  8. #11

    This is probably my favorite blog post of yours. I think marriage brings out the selfishness in most of us; at least it did in my husband. ; ) Thanks for being real.

  9. #12

    Who knows why some relationships work and some do not. Biggest section of any library or bookstore is on relationships. Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate 32 years of marriage. How did we get here? It is all a mixed bag but I think at the core of it, we like each other and we started our relationship as good friends, making each other laugh. Sending good vibes your way as you work the love/marriage route. Love is worth it.

  10. #14
    Helen W.

    I just love your blog Cathy. You are so real!

    i am happy to hear you are both in it for the long haul, it is so easy to give up, but marriage is worth the work it takes.

    My husband and i recently took The Marriage Course which was created by a couple in the UK, and it was amazing. i would encourage you to ask if this is available in your area or at your church. it really breaks things down and puts energy back into your marriage. we were amazed at how many great times we’d forgotten and how small things can make a difference in our daily lives.


  11. #15
    Marilyn Johnson

    Great post Cathy. The tough stuff is hard to blog about but you did it with style! Marriage is HARD! Every day I feel the ups and downs. The things that drive me crazy about him are the things I love about him too. All depends upon my mood I guess! LOL.

  12. #16

    I will say, Mary-Lou, I believe the thing that has kept us together is that we are good friends too. And we have managed to still like each other through all the mucky muck.

  13. #17

    You’re not alone. Marriage is very hard. Everyone I know has given up – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, coworkers… My husband and I still making it work 15 years later. Counseling has got us where we are today. Keep it up – you are strong and it’s worth the effort!

  14. #18

    Thank you Cathy for your honesty, for voicing something that all married people face, and something I think our society doesn’t prepare us to expect – that, to quote Rizzo in that profound movie Grease, ‘it ain’t all moonlight and roses’! Bless you and your family x

  15. #19
    Jennifer Schmitt

    Thank you so much for sharing something that feels so common yet is so hard to talk about. Keep up the hard work. Tenacity and drive will pay off in the long run.

  16. #20

    Thanks for your honesty Cathy. Too often, we see blogs where the author seems to lead the perfect life. I’ve seen something on Pinterest that resonated with me. Don’t compare your insides to everyone elses’ outsides.

    Happy hump day!

  17. #22

    It is hard, marriage. I wish more people could realize, accept and maybe even embrace that. And loving someone is a choice, not a feeling. And I love my husband everyday. But I don’t like him everyday. And that is OK. (I’m not likable everyday either). Here’s to the hard work it takes to be with your best friend until death do you part, and be happy about it. God bless your journey. (I think having God in the fight is key)

  18. #23
    Happy with being unhappy?

    I feel like I could have written this! Well, except for the getting help part …. haven’t done that yet. Mostly because in truth, I sorta like being disconnected. My walls have been built pretty high to keep my self-righteousness intact. So terrible to admit. My husband is out of work (again) so money is tight. That means no cash for counseling of any sort. Maybe once we are on our feet — if that ever happens! — we can tackle this.

    How did you find a counselor? Does insurance cover any of it?

  19. #24

    I think its very honest of you to say you like the disconnection. I remember wanting to go back to that, I really do.

    Insurance does not cover this. It is costing us and arm and a leg. We have had to rearrange a few things to make this possible. We are definitely making some conscious sacrifices knowing that this is probably the most important thing well ever spend money on. : ) I found this woman through one of my best friends who has been working with her for five years herself. She actually lives in California and we talk to her individually three times monthly, on the phone. Sounds unorthodox, but then again, so is she.

  20. #25
    Nicole Prather

    Love Is the most powerful emotion. Those mountains that we face with our marriage and ourselves make us better people. You are awesome and real. I love that.

  21. #26

    I agree Cathy! Your honesty and transparency are encouraging. Not because you’ve got it all together but because you’re willing to admit you don’t. Reading the blogs of those that seem to have perfect lives is disheartening, reading yours? gives me hope.

  22. #27
    Melissa Jones

    wow… what an amazingly honest post, I love it. You are lucky that you have someone (and that you yourself) that isn’t willing to give up… my very best wishes to both of you 🙂

  23. #28
    EE K.

    Thanks for being so honest and real. A reminder to take a look at ourselves and see that we’re not perfect, like we think we are.

  24. #29

    Cathy, first off…(((HUGS))) Thanks for sharing this with us. Marriage is messy and getting through the mucky muck is hard. 7 years ago, we went to marriage counselling and it has forever changed me. You are correct in saying that nothing is ever in the CLEAR. But, working on your marriage and yourself is the BEST thing you can do for your kids (no matter what age they are) and for you and Dan! Good for you guys and thanks for being so honest here on your blog. It means a lot that you share even the “YUCK” in your life with us! 🙂

  25. #30

    I grew up in a home that was seeming perfect, that is until I graduation high school and my dad walked out because he’d “never been happy” and life with my parents hasn’t been the same since. Reading your story of struggles and CHOOSING to fight, just reminded me that yeah–things can get pretty ugly. And nasty. And so far opposite of the “happily ever after” we so often take for granted. But if we’re willing to continue to CHOOSE TO LOVE, to choose to work at the crap we build up in and around ourselves, that wonderful–beautiful–things happen. And for me personally… that’s something worth working for. Thank you for being up-front, honest and real. You inspire me (as always).

  26. #31
    Sue in Grapevine

    Good for you, Cathy! Your marriage is so worth fighting for — even when your main opponent is yourself! I thank God that He gave you a man who also thinks that marriage is worth fighting for.
    Here is what I write in every wedding card I give: Never waste an opportunity to be kind to your spouse.
    Thanks for sharing this; you never know who you may have helped!

  27. #32

    Congratulations on your bravery in writing this post! After several years in therapy, my relationship with my husband is better than ever. I too was the broken one, even though I wanted it to be him. Understanding our past and how it makes us who we are, was my key to sanity. It takes two people, with a forever love, to make it through the muck.

  28. #33

    i only echo everyone else’s comments, and say that the vow we took has been the part that has held us together at times.

    i’m grateful for the vow.

  29. #34
    Sarah F in VA

    Marriage is hard. Thanks for your honesty.

    Speaking of which, it always cracks me up when the front headline of People is someone too young, ie. 19 YO Miley Cyrus, getting engaged. Really? Do you really think that’s going to last 50+ years Miley? Really?

  30. #35

    I felt like that, too, and am now divorced (have been for 15 years after having been married 17 years). There is sometimes counseling within churches that is free or based on income. You might want to check that out.

    Cathy, this was so heartfelt and touching. It is hard to admit our own faults yet so easy to see others. Thanks.

  31. #38

    Don’t forget, you and Dan are in one of the hardest times of marriage. Lots of competition there for everyone’s attention.

  32. #40
    Peggy M

    marriage isn’t easy period. And a lot of people take the easy way out & simply give up. Those that don’t understand that it isn’t all roses and rainbows and that it requires work to keep it going.

    Just like your ring, it requires regular check-ups and maintenance is such a great metaphor as well as oh so true.

  33. #41

    You never cease to amaze me. Your honesty and openness about yourself, your marriage is inspiring. I agree with your saying it takes 2 people in the fight – to save it, that is. After 31yrs my husband walked away without looking back and I really didn’t see it coming. That was just over 12 months ago. A friend said to me the other day he never fought to save anything. That is definitely the one thing I have struggled with and wondered why. It takes 2 to make a marriage work as much as it takes 2 to make a marriage fail. I offered counselling, I wrote page after page of reflections, emailing them to him after he left trying to make sense of it all. I never got anything in return. I am not sure what I could have done differently except to say that I knew our communication had hit rock bottom but I honestly thought all would right itself. How wrong I was and so I applaud your efforts Cathy for the courage to do all you have done. To be truthful being alone sucks big time, even with late teens still in the house. So continue to fight with everything you have and with any luck you won’t find yourself talking to yourself all day everyday because your best friend is no longer there beside you. And that’s because mine left her husband and decided she wanted mine instead! …..and I hope they don’t live happily ever after! Sad but at least I’m being honest.

  34. #42
    Sue C

    That’s why I love you Cathy. Keeping it real. Been down that road too. It’s hard work being married. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary last August. The kids are gone (youngest is in 3rd year college) and life is pretty dang good. Hang in there. You are awesome.

  35. #43
    Leanne in CA

    Thanks for being honest. Hopefully you and Dan can continue to laugh together and make this work. You both still love each other and it is worth fighting for! Hang in there.

  36. #44

    If more people were this open and honest about the sometimes sucky-ness of marriage, I believe with all my heart that less people would get divorced. Prayers for you and Dan 🙂

  37. #45
    Squeaky Connors

    I shared your blog post on my fb page and this is what I wrote: I have admired Cathy Zielske as an artist for many years and recently have been enjoying her blog. Today I admire her for her honesty, for sharing the truth instead of wearing a mask, and for being vulnerable. I believe this is the way to live – “true-faced”. If we continue to hide behind our masks, we will never become real.

  38. #46

    The fighting for it is so much harder than giving up but so worth it in the long run. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids. Praying for you. xo

  39. #47
    Angie K

    Thanks Cathy for sharing your humanity. There are many days when all I want is the “easy” button, but then I read a post like this and remember that we are all working towards something better, and it’s not “easy” for anyone.

  40. #48

    thank you. it is easy to believe everyone on the other side of the fence, or computer screen, has an ideal life. we never picture them with the same issues we have, or even worse. i think it is the picture in our heads of what we think everyone else has that makes it harder for our own relationships. you don’t have to share that stuff with us, but thank you for doing so – you aren’t alone and we know we aren’t either.

  41. #49

    Sorry to hear about your experience Jo. But yes, it takes two people for it to either work or not work. Wishing you peace in your new life. : )

  42. #52

    Thank you for sharing – love your honesty. Have you looked into a marriage encounter weekend? http://www.wwme.org Best weekend of our lives. Marriage is work – I am proud of you and Dan for both sticking to it and not taking the easy way out. Proud to “know” you both! More power to those who respect the words “till death do us part”. You’ll be in my prayers…

  43. #53

    I am inspired. I am inspired by your honesty. I am inspired by your courage. I am inspired by your strength and will to tackle challenges, not only in your marriage but also in your quest for health and fitness. I am inspired by your gifts: writing, design, scrapbooking, and on and on. You’ve got what it takes to work things out. Sending encouraging thoughts and positive vibes your way.

  44. #54

    Sometimes your company’s employee assistance program will cover a certain number of sessions with a counsellor — my dh & I went a few times together & I also went myself. Sometimes even just a few sessions can be helpful in pinpointing the conflict areas & suggesting some resources & courses of action.

    I’ve often thought there’s a lot of untold stories that lurk behind many of the blogs and sunny, sweet, picture-perfect scrapbook pages we see. So thank you for your honesty, Cathy, and all the best to you & Dan and your family as you work your way through this.

  45. #55

    This is an amazingly honest post. I am not married, but I must say I really admire you and Dan and your willingness to be honest and to work on your relationship. If I were married, I would hope that I could follow in your example. Thanks for sharing.

  46. #56

    The best book I have ever read on marriage/relationships is “Getting The Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. I got it because some dear friends were struggling and I wanted to help. It ended up being a real help in my own marriage. We read this book outloud together and talked about it. Getting married is a piece of cake but the challenge is staying married. The key is two people committed to the “work” of the marriage. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  47. #57

    Hugs to you, I’m sure this wasn’t easy to share. You are not alone, and I’m sure everyone who has followed you over the years (incl. myself!)wants to give you nothing but love and support.

  48. #58
    Fred T

    Thank you for sharing. I can relate to every thing you said. It really warms my heart and gives me hope for my marriage.

  49. #59
    Leslie B

    Thank you for the post – for being honest and vulnerable. And thanks to you family for letting you do this. Marriage is hard. It is. And it’s a long journey…sometimes I feel that I am not properly equipped and wearing the wrong shoes. But you walk in those shoes long enough, you get used to them and even comfortable. That’s where I am right now – knowing I need to make changes but so ‘ok’ with how things are because it’s safer…it’s what I know. Here’s to better and more honest days ahead for all of us. It’s not going to be easy, but I know it’s worth it. Thanks again for sharing.

  50. #61

    Love this. I love your posts on your kids, on dieting, on quitting smoking, and scrapbooking. But THIS is Real Life. I’m part of the couple that “has it all together” according to our friends. But that’s just on the outside. It’s hard to know what to share, and what to keep private. And personally, I’m not a big fan of *over*sharing. But I like Real. Because it reminds us that everyone has issues, and we’re all working through them. Thanks!

  51. #62

    Tears and love my beautiful beautiful self absorbed friend.

    I am so happy you are in this current space.

  52. #64
    Kathryn Methot

    WOW…I am amazed…I have experienced the feelings about myself and my marriage that you’ve expressed so much more eloquently than I could. I’m tempted to have my husband read your post and say, “There…that’s what I’m trying to say!” We are coming up on our 26th anniversary this month. I am incredibly thankful for my man too…and feeling messy but pretty solid. Thank you!

  53. #65
    Shawna Z

    Initially, I discovered the blog following the untimely demise of Simple Scrapbooks. The longer I read, the more I liked; your design and technique, the ability to declare that it is hard to eat well and move more, and the periods of disconnect. These are components of my life as well. I have recently made a thorough attempt to look more objectively at things. I am making a conscious choice to become more connected with my family and husband rather than through social media. I feel this “technology trap” has painted an unclean window for me to peer through believing that life is all and good for others and making me wonder why I am not measuring up to these super-women! Kudos to you for being honest (brutally at times) and reassuring to me, that I am not the only one fighting these battles. Many thanks!

  54. #66
    Julie E

    My own marriage has been an emotional roller coaster and I am sure that without therapy and a LOT of effort on both our parts, we would never still be here fighting the good fight… together. But man, it’s still tough, huh? Thanks for opening up. It was brave.

  55. #67
    Jenny in NV

    Kudos to you for taking the time to make it work, we all, by nature, would like to do things the easy way.

    You, Dan and your family will be in my prayers.

  56. #68

    That’s my biggest recommendation to anyone deciding who to spend their life with — marry someone who is your friend, at the core of things. (Also, before getting engaged, take a road trip together and put up a real Christmas tree together. If you still love them afterwards, that’s a good sign.) Cuz a friend will still love you when your 40ish tush no longer resembles your 20ish tush. And will want the best for you. And will have your back. So glad you and Dan are working on things. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  57. #69

    Sometimes there are no-cost or low-cost options out there. Not always, not everywhere. Some ministers have a background in family counseling. You can try Googling it for your city/area. Good luck.

  58. #70

    I got engaged at 19, married at 21, just celebrated 23 years of marriage. So, it can happen. 🙂 Then again, I’m not a multimillionaire “singer” either, so there’s that. lol

  59. #71

    Thank you for this post & these honest words. I can completely relate to the self-absorbed comment you made after having gone through therapy myself & then some joint couple’s counseling. We will have been married for 11 years this July but together for 14 & most of it has been rocky. But we’ve stayed together throughout b/c the thought of not being together was more painful than the thought of leaving. Marriage is hard but it is also amazing. Thanks again – sometimes I forget how everyone has their sh*t & no one’s life is perfect. Cheers!

  60. #73

    Cathy – I have been a fan of yours for years, even as I get away from the hobby that led me here. I applaud you for this post and thank you, because I know it is NOT easy to discuss your marriage and it’s flaws, nor is it simple to admit your own. I know it’s a struggle when a marriage is in trouble. I know what it’s like to be in a marriage where only one person is fighting and after a while, you just can’t fight that hard anymore by yourself. You’re lucky to have one another, and I wish you both (and your family) peace and strength along this road.

  61. #74

    Thanks for sharing this. Perfect timing for me as we go through some tough stuff but like you and Dan, we both think it’s worth fighting for and sorting out. We have almost been married 25 years after meeting on a blind date! We have faced lots of challenges over those years nut always manage to get through them and end up stronger. Do glad you are able to work through your challenges too. Take care xx

  62. #75
    Lori Hudson

    I hate to think it is a 20 year thing and everybody goes through it… because I am so special, you know. But, you get bogged down in jobs and kids and start to ignore each other and your problems. Then you start to believe you couldn’t do any better anyway. Two years ago, I gave up on my marriage. I didn’t want a divorce because we weren’t fighting all the time and I didn’t want any other relationship. I got tired of blaming him and decided to do it on my own. Worse thing was, my husband didn’t even notice. He didn’t notice he had been cut out of our life and he LIVED IN THE SAME HOUSE! It wasn’t until one day I mentioned in passing that I planned to move to London when my youngest graduated high school that he paid attention. He was shocked! Long story cut to today. He is so much more involved in our family. I learned to be stronger and like you, face an unwelcome reality check. I think we might just make it another 20 years. He even went to a Bruce Springsteen concert with me AND stood in line for the pit. That is love I tell you. My point… oh yeah, sometimes you have to just let it all go and see what comes back to you. You know, love is like a butterfly and all that stuff.

  63. #76

    Holy crap, it is the hardest thing! Sometimes we’ll have a fight and I’ll sit back and think, “How are two strong-willed people, I mean–we are two *different* people, supposed to put up with each other every day for the rest of their lives?” It seems like such a tall order!
    Right now I’m on the other side of the hardest times in our marriage, but only because, like you said, both of us had to be willing to fight for it. And I’m as grateful as you are that I married one of the men who would fight for this with me instead of bailing during the 1000 times many would have.
    I’m pulling for you guys. Thanks for sharing your muck–from a fellow muckster. 🙂

  64. #77
    Jamie Danford

    Heck yeah C-Dawg, I respect your honesty and candor. As my beloved Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work.” I’m proud of you for your willingness to go for it and fight for your forever.

  65. #80

    Funny how I wouldn’t have had a clue, until some recent talk about your marriage, that there was anything wrong. I don’t know who ‘led the way’, but I prefer the honesty. I was beginning to wonder if all the bloggers I followed were perfect. About ready to look into blogging. . .but thanks, now I don’t have to.

  66. #81
    Laurie T

    “Every marriage is salvalagable” (sp?) so quoted our marriage counselor. Even ours, through many years of infidelity – both my husbands and mine. The pastor that counseled us layed hands on us and prayed and I felt a peace. Through forgiveness and prayer – and giving everything we had to God – we will now celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in September. We have 3 kids, 2 grandkids (the kids know all the details – and still love and respect us both) and life is amazing. We ride motorcycles together and truly enjoy spending time with each other. God has truly blessed us. I guess the best advice I can give you is “give it all to God” He can work miracles. {hugs}

  67. #83

    Wowee, Cathy – how honest you are. Thanks for sharing and just saying how it is. Have you listened to this?

    – it’s Brene Brown on Vulnerability. Ammmaazzzing. And she’s very listenable, if that’s a word. It’s not, but she’s listenable nonetheless. Again, thanks for sharing. Yep, agree, marriage is a lotta work.

  68. #84

    You are a brave brave lady, on many fronts. I fight the fight with my husband together. He is content and happy. I am the one wanting more bug knowing I want it from him so it’s a good place to start! Thanks for the honesty and inspiration.

  69. #85

    Thank you for sharing, a story straight from the heart. May God bless you and your husband on your journey together.

  70. #86

    I read that and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Self-absorbed? Um, yeah, that’d be me.

    Going through life and saying to myself, “I’m a nice person, I’m a pretty good mom, I work and make decent money, I’m nice to him and I take care of paying the bills and household chores.” THAT does not make me a good wife.

    I do take more than I give.

    I do disconnect like someone else said.

    Being nice to someone does not equal the love that he deserves. He gives me so much love, but one day he might tire of being the giver.

    So I picked up the phone and called him and told him I loved him. My mind still didn’t stay 100% focused on him. That is a huge problem. (Little ADHD here – okay a lot.)

    But your raw and honest post HELPED ME to see myself in a truer light and that is probably the first step – to see that I need to work on being the giver and not the taker.

    Thanks and best wishes.

  71. #87

    YES! In fact, I loved it so much I am now reading her book, The Gifts of Imperfection and am amazed at how what she talks about lines up with what my therapist is trying to teach me. I love Brene. A complete fan now.

  72. #89

    Thank you for sharing. As a newlywed (1 year on Monday) I’m in quite a different place … but that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned – no one’s marriage is perfect. Honestly, I wondered if we were doomed, because it was so hard. It’s been comforting to know that we’re not alone, we’re in this thing called life together.

  73. #90

    Thanks for keeping it real, Cathy.
    I have a great partner in life and have taken that for granted for 17 years, but realizing that we have to work at keeping it good between us. With three active kids and a busy schedule, we’ve both gotten selfish. First comes the have to dos, then we both get our workouts in (he goes one direction, I go the other) and then there’s not a lot left.
    I tend to be kinda no-nonsense about things, and told him that I’d already picked up my own mother’s day gift, so he didn’t need to get anything. And so he didn’t. And when I asked what we were doing, he said he thought we’d go get dinner, but he didn’t make any reservations. I’m sure he knew I would want to pick the place. And so I did. And maybe the fact that he picked up a generic card from Trader Joe’s for a Mother’s Day card is a little telling. We’re kinda skimping on each other (Wow! Aha moment for me). The thought is there, but not the follow through. And I wanted a little ‘special’ darn it! But maybe he’s not feeling inspired to give it me. Because maybe I’m not giving him much either. Ouch. Time to refocus…
    Thanks for putting this smack in front of my face, Cathy…

  74. #91

    Good for you, Cathy. Glad to hear your “ring” is getting the attention it so desperately needed! I love happy endings.

  75. #92

    *raising hand, and jumping on the bandwagon* Selfish here too. All I really have to say about men and marriage is that the overwhelming majority of them probably look at the majority of us like little puppies hearing a weird noise, and wondering what we think is so complicated. My husband’s ‘absolutely require’ list is, at best 3 maybe 4 items long. Mine is in it’s 3rd printing. The disconnect is mostly with me.

  76. #93

    Your honesty and transparency are encouraging. Not because you’ve got it all together but because you’re willing to admit you don’t. Reading the blogs of those that seem to have perfect lives is disheartening, reading yours? gives me hope.

  77. #94
    Meghan Dymock

    Thank you Cathy! You have so much more influence on people who read your blog than you know and I feel like this post was written just at the right time for many of us to hear it. Thank you for posting about the good and the bad because it is all part of life.

  78. #96

    thank you. i LONG for this. this honesty and just getting straight to it. i have noticed how we don’t ask each other about our marriages. how alone i have felt. how i try and share and it just falls to the ground untouched.

    continuing on.

  79. #97
    Jeanne Ann

    Thank you Cathy for your honesty. It’s not easy opening up to the people you know and love so doing that to strangers is even tougher. I am someone that didn’t do it right the first time, or the second time and swore up and down there would never be a third time but I am happy to say that after 11 years together and 9 of those married I am finally realizing that I married a man that must truly love me or he wouldn’t put up with me and that I am such a better person for having him in my life. I am sure that you and Dan are like that too and even though the road is rocky and really tough sometimes it just takes a special someone to put up with all the s**t we dish out sometimes. Hang in there and be strong!

  80. #98

    Wow, Cathy. Way to be honest. I swear, I stop reading blogs bc I am so sick and tired of the “oh I am in love with the most amazing man and I have three amazing kiddos and wow my life is ah mayze eeng.”

    It’s not just marriage that’s a challenge (it is). It’s self awareness and growth. Marriage is quite the crucible for it.

    Good luck to you and Dan.

  81. #99
    Katharine T

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I think more people need to talk honestly about what it takes to create a successful marriage – and it’s not just a few words and a white dress. My mom always said marriage is like housework – you have to keep doing the work or it piles up and then you have a mess.

  82. #100

    What we weren’t sold, in our bill of wedded bliss goods, was this idea that people change, therefore marriage changes. I love my husband so profoundly differently than I did 20 years ago. We have been to hell. Shook hands with the devil, cold-cocked him, and dragged ourselves back out. However, it’s a day by day process. And the reality of it is, it’s freaking hard. Thanks for keeping it real, Cathy. I think that the danger of scrapbooking is that, like Facebook, we can make things look pretty darn spectacular…when they just are not.

  83. #101

    beautiful to read. thks for sharing your heart and your life with all of us.. I know you don’t have to… kudos to you for going to therapy.. it is a sign of strength, not weakness like how some ppl think.. kudos to you! I’ve admired you for years… you are an inapiration… you are.. despite all your shortcomings, yes we all hv those don’t we?? thank you for just being you.. you matter, and guess what?? you are enough. You are enough. Love to you. xo

  84. #102

    Good on you, Cathy. You’re truthfulness is like a breath of fresh-blog-air. Thanks for a honest to goodness girl talk.

  85. #104
    Maria Stanley

    Thank you for this. It’s funny how you feel like you are on your own island when suddenly all these people just show up. I am happy to know I’m not the only one struggling with this or with life in general. This post and all these wonderful comments are a huge comfort for me and hopefully for you 🙂 My husband and I have been together for 5 years. I’m on Dan’s side of the fence, my husband Danny is very much in his own world. We are going to a counselor and we still like/love each so there’s hope right?! 😉

  86. #105

    I think this is something that needs to be shared. Im just sorry Ive taken so long to really start writing about it. : )

  87. #106

    Its funny, my life IS amazing, but not for only the happy, squishy ways. I love him so much, but that doesnt erase the fact that Ive made it nearly impossible to be married to me over the years. Brutal, but true. Life is messy. Im just getting in touch with it. All the good, bad and in between.

  88. #107

    I think if you still like each other, thats key. That is what has kept us together; kept him from kicking me out for all these years. Now, Im working to redeem and earn that like status. Good luck to you!

  89. #108

    Cathy I just wanted to say that I admire your bravery in facing up to things that you didn’t like about yourself. That must have been a terribly hard thing to do.
    That you love your husband and family enough to do something about those things is a credit to you. Hang in there kiddo.

  90. #109

    Some health insurance plans DO include counseling. It’s worth checking out to see what is covered. Our plan requires a small co-pay for each appointment.
    I asked my primary care physician, who was an absolute treasure, who he would recommend. That turned out to be a very good referral to a wonderful counselor. And asking trusted friends for their recommendations is another way to find a therapist. Wishing you well…

  91. #110

    Cathy-Thank you for sharing. Marriage is hard and there is always going to be work. I had to work on me to get back to us and it took time but it worked out. It took me 17 years to see why I wouldn’t want to be married to me either. Rooting for you and Dan.

  92. #111

    Sadly I haven’t looked over your blog in a year or so. Gotten a little busy in this thing called life that has taken me away from some of my pursuits that I miss so dearly, the inspiration of wonderful people…YOU! However, today, I was lead back and to see this entry, about life not being in the clear and all that goes with that statement, you are so right. I applaud you for talking more about it because I think we all feel it in one way or another and its the sharing that helps us to remember we are all struggling and we are not alone. Thank you, M

  93. #112
    Stephanie Thiel

    looking in the mirror is a very brave thing…ironic that I tuned-in today after months of absence from the blogs. my dearest of 20 years, left. turned 60 and decided he wasn’t cracked-up to be a family guy with kids and a mortgage. he quit. after years and years of threats and abuse…he just up and filed for a divorce. easy-peezy, leaving a wake of emotional destruction and debt. it takes courage to face your short-comings and do the work. the fact that you are taking the risk, speaks volumes of you and dan.
    sending good thoughts into the universe dear girl…

  94. #114
    Gypsy Chaos

    “And I love my husband everyday. But I don’t like him everyday.”

    This is a truth I’ve taught/told my children. You will always love your family; hate is not an option. Feel free to not like any of us all you want!

  95. #115
    Gypsy Chaos

    Catching up on all my blogs….
    Once again, you open your heart and cause others to do the same.

    You have the great talent of knowing just how much to share – just enough so that many of us see a shade of ourselves. All the details would cloud our similarities, and we’d think about you and your situation – but no, you sketch the outline and we fill it in with our specifics. Awesome, as usual.

    Using your ring’s maintenance was an excellent choice of metaphor. Now I’m wondering what it means when the ring is replaced instead of being repaired…. My channel settings were wearing thin around year #23. I told my husband the options given by the jeweler; he said I should just get another ring. I did; he had so little to do with the process that the ring has often felt unreal… But he did provide the text for the inscription “now and forever again”.

  96. #116

    Just an observation here — I work in jewelry arts. Perhaps this is some perspective: Get a second opinion before you invest in one ‘solution.’ Kay Jewelers is one of the biggest ripoff chains in the industry. Their telling you that a ring is ‘on the verge of collapse’ is absolute bull. In all the years I’ve repaired jewelry, I have NEVER have come upon a ring that suddenly looked like it was going to magically cave in upon itself. I mean, this is a good one, I’m going to share it with some colleagues! They wanted to sell you a small diamond (which you did probably need) but also add a huge bill of goods for ‘servicing’ your ‘near-collapse’ ring. Next time you do something like this, definitely get a second opinion from a PRIVATE jeweler. Shop around for solutions in your life. You may find one that is just as good, or even a better fit, and probably for less money than Kay snowed you for. Good luck to you in your marriage and jewelry journey!

  97. #117
    Rosie Lilya

    WOW! Trying to catch up after being on vacation. Ironically, today is my 25th wedding anniversary, HA! I have to tell you that I have “stalked” you for YEARS. You have shared so much, yet this is beyond. I LOVE TRANSPARENT people. It lets people know they are not alone. Sharing your weight loss journey and now this says volumes about you. You are awesome and selfless. You have reminded all of us that no one is exempt from life’s challenges. What is more amazing and the true lesson… it’s ok to get help. It’s ok to have someone help you figure out “life”. Whatever it takes to help you be a better you- thanks Cathy for being you.

  98. #118
    Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions

    Wow, the honesty. I love this. And you know there are SO many people going through it who will never have the courage to say a word. I may be wrong, but I believe that everyone goes through something like this at some point. For us, it was nearly immediately after getting married! And it created openness and honesty, communication and an opportunity for us to see that we were both willing to fight. It was, and is, so hard, but the hard times are fewer and further between, which is beautiful! Prayers to your family.

  99. #119
    Lucille Franks

    I feel for you. There are really things that happen unexpectedly. What we ought to do is to be at our humblest and most patient persona. Things can be fixed when there are people who want it to be changed.

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