I’ve been married now for just about 22 years. (Our anniversary is Saturday.)
I’ve been working on myself and my marriage for about four of those years.
What do I know so far about life and love?
I know that people who have effortless relationships are lucky or lying.
I know that I’m really not a damaged person, just a very neurotic one.
I know that growing and changing the core of who you are is hard but possible.
I know that internal growth without pain is not possible.
I know that saying “I am enough” is actually not true at all when you still have work to do.
I know that saying “I am a work in progress” is a much safer bet.
I know that children learn from watching the adults in their lives.
I know that my time to influence, educate and model for my children is finite and limited.
I know that I don’t have any control over my life. Life does what it wants to do and it’s my job to navigate it with innocence, responsiblity and flexibility.
I know that I’ve unlearned and continue to unlearn ways of behaving badly around the people I love the most.
I know that there is a direct correlation to the work I’m doing and the true bonds it has allowed me to create and refine.
I know that true friends are rare and a gift.
I know that truly seeing someone else and trying to understand them is the most precious and loving thing you can offer.
That’s my list so far.
Happy anniversary, Daniel Zielske. There’s really no one else on Earth that I’d rather work on my s#%t with than you.
Susan A says
Loving “I am a work in progress”. So needed to read those words today.
Perfectly put! And Happy Anniversary …a tad bit early!! 🙂
May the blessings continue for years to come~
lynne moore says
Congrats and Happy Anniversary. We will be partying for you… we are having our anniversary party on Saturday night. (Our 25th was in August but we can just now get it done.)
I needed to read this today. Thank you. And happy anniversary! (Ours was last Saturday – 11 years. Where did that go?) I am totally stealing “There’s really no one else on Earth that I’d rather work on my s#%t with than you.” 😀
Cathy – I love this list, being only married a year…
I wanted to send an encouraging note… When I read the time you have to influence your children is limited – yes it is as you are older than them. HOWEVER don’t think you can’t be the best example of a person for them to follow even as they leave the nest. My mom is 54, I am almost 30 – and she’s been inspiring me for the past year with the changes she’s made, both for her physical body and her mental well-being. And it’s kind of awesome to be working on ourselves together.
Much love to you on your journey!
: ) Yes, thank you.
Happy anniversary, Cathy & Dan! Hope you have a chance to do something romantic and fun. (P.S. We’re all works in progress.)
Happy Anniversary! I so appreciate posts like this. We are all a work in progress…to be sure!
Liz Toms says
Wise words Mrs Zielske! What grabbed me the most was the bit about your time to influence, educate and model for your children is finite and limited… I’ve been thinking a lot about this sort of thing lately. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you both have a wonderful anniversary – and many more to come! x
Kimberly Kalil says
I really appreciate your honestly about life and marriage. Thank you for sharing and happy anniversary.
Jackie Strange says
Cathy, I love how real you are. Admitting that marriage is a work in progress is not easy when other people make it look so easy. I am going to remember what you said their either lucky or lying! Happiest of anniversaries to you and Dan. Thanks for keeping it real!
Deb @ PaperTurtle says
Dang I love your honesty and courage to share stuff like this, Cathy. Every item on your list is something that fits me as well, so thank you for posting this, and thank you for continuing to share your journey of self-refinement. I think you’re awesome, imperfections and all!
A tremendously honest and brave post Cathy.
Thanks for the reminder to not take the special people in my life for granted and to think about how l am around them. Much love to you xx
Kendra B says
Happy Anniversary! This is an awesome list!! Thank you for sharing it 🙂
Thank you for sharing. What you wrote is beautiful.
Kim Berry says
Cathy I celebrated my 24th this year ,and events that happened layed a big blow to it. I am inspired by your candid words.We have taking the route of counseling and committed to work on it ,the first time ever .Your words filled my heart with hope and joy ! Kim
Abby P. says
Well said — you got this!
Good for you, Kim. Work can be really hard, but the rewards, well, they can be really big. : )
Nicole Hankosky says
I adore you for your honesty and for sharing yourself with us. Trust me, can relate…..oh, I can relate.
Julie F says
Congratulations ~~ hope you have a happy celebration! I love that after all this time, he is still the one you want to work on your s*%# with…. inspiring!! 🙂
Have a happy anniversary! I’ve enjoyed your honesty the past few years as you’ve shared about how you and Dan have committed to making your marriage work. It really is inspirational.
Loving the “life does what it wants to do” part! Happy anniversary!
Happy anniversary Cathy and Dan. May you have at least 22 more anniversaries.
After years of following your blog, I still remain amazed at the power of your written words. I am certain that they resonate with so many of your followers. Congratulations to you and Dan on your 22 years of marriage and thank you for sharing your journey with us.
Happy Anniversary! I love this post. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations to you and Dan!
Our 40th will be this Sunday….we married three months after meeting. Sometimes it’s been wonderful, sometimes it’s been horrible, sometimes it’s been so sad or hilarious. And sometimes we both wanted out….but leaving seemed so hard too. I’m so thankful that the good times outweigh the bad and the sad times. And I’m especially thankful that both of us didn’t want out at the exact same time and we were willing to work on this thing called marriage. It’s more fun now than it ever was! Congratulations to you and Dan on your 22 years!
It is our 15th anniversary. We’ve had ups and downs…I choose to look out our relationship as a series of choices with their own consequences rather than hard work…work has a somewhat negative connotation where as choice is much more optimistic 🙂
Congrats on your anniversary. Great post! We have been married 25 years and continue to grow and change and work on our relationship. Wow, the sentence about the finite time to influence your children really made me stop and think 🙂
Happy anniversary and thank you so much for the observation that: “I know that my time to influence, educate and model for my children is finite and limited.” I try to think about this every time I’m feeling aggravated with my partner or life. Your observation is so true and one of the essential thoughts to keep in place as you navigate family life. Hope Dan and your journey goes from strength to strength and thank you both so much for all of the honest sharing that you do. Much of it leads your readers to reflect on their own lives and relationships and try to make changes for the better.Happy anniversary. Best wishes.
Great post Cathy, love the way you write and keep it honest!!
Happy Anniversary to both of you!! So glad your working things out and sticking together!!
Congratulations on your Anniversary!! You said ” My time to influence, educate and model for my children is finite and limited…” I can tell you that even after your children have left your house, they will still learn from you, maybe even more so as they become adults because then they will be realizing that they didn’t truly “know everything” when they were teenagers. My parents are a bigger influence on me now and I have learned more from them in the past 10 years than I did the entire time I lived under their roof (and I come from a family that is very close, always has been and I had a wonderful childhood!) But as I get older (I will be 44), I find that I learn so much from my parents everytime I am with them. The examples you are setting for your children now, with you and Dan working on your marriage and everything else is a good start for them and your examples will continue to mold them into the adults they will become even after they have left the nest.
I know that this is one awesome post. Happy, happy anniversary.
mary e. says
Brenda, Had to write and say that your reflection on marriage is so great and what I,too, think it’s all about. Sometimes great, sometimes not so much. Sometimes wanting to abandon, sometimes wanting to cling. We, too, are especially thankful that we ‘both didn’t want out at the exact same time and were willing to work on this thing called marriage’. As we come up on our 25th, with two teens at home (AGH! some days!), I am more and more grateful for the journey I’ve traveled with my husband. We’ve grown as a couple, and as individuals…
Marriage isn’t a place – it’s a pilgrimage…
Thanks for your wonderful way of saying it, Brenda, and Cathy, thanks for bringing such brevity to the cyber world – it’s why I visit every day!
Now that is an honest post! Our 20th was Wed. and it certainly is not easy yet we are conditioned to believe otherwise. We had an honest conversation and my husband said he thinks I’ve become more “complicated” now than in our early marriage. I fully agree with him…big changes emotionally have been happening in my 40s…not bad, but I am certainly more complex. Wouldn’t want to work out my s@@@ with any other guy either. Thanks for such unfiltered honesty in your post.
I love your list and have appreciated your insights into marriage through the years. My husband passed away last year, 1 week after our 21st anniversary. Marriage is hard, so you have to really love your spouse to want to make it work – and to work out the $#!+! I miss him every day, but so appreciate the qualities he left behind in our feisty 19-year-old daughter. And we continue to learn from each other every day.
I understand exactly what you are saying…our lives are truly a journey is not just a trite saying, it is truth. I know that I have done a lot of wandering, gone off the path, been lost in the woods, lost my way…but it is a lifelong journey and we should never downplay or forget to celebrate all the accomplishments along the way. Go you!
and a big congrats to you and Mr. Z…22 years is no small accomplishment, not always easy, but so worth the effort no?
Amen! Happy Anniversary!
Happy Anniversary Cathy and Dan! Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for your honest words. Life is a travel of experiences, work, growth and discoveries for all of us at every age we are, sometimes are better other times are hard but with no hard times there is no growth and learning in us for the next challanges that we must face in life. there always must be a balance between sadness and hapiness. Best wishes may you have more 22 years full of good challenges 😉
Happy Anniversary! We are approaching 35 years married and it has definitely had the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Thankfully there has been more good than bad; but sometimes the bad felt like it would force us under.
I think we all are a work in progress if we are honest. Thank you for your heartfelt words today.
nice Cathy, really really nice:o)
Again just saying knowing your not the only one ,means the world!! Thanks for your honesty .
Bec Kilgore says
You have described it so well. Good for you and Happy Anniversary!
Karen Freeman says
Those words tugged at my heart as well. Wise words to contemplate and act on. Thanks.
so, so, so good.
Love your honesty and had to smile at some of the points as they fit perfectly for me – especially the one about behaving bad around the people we love the most! Been married for 11 years and a couple for 20.
‘I know that people who have effortless relationships are lucky or lying.’
No joke. August was 13 years for us, and I’m still surprised at how much work it is somedays. I am a fairly easy going person, wear my heart on my sleeve, and the hardness that my husband’s childhood created in him is a constant hurdle for us. I consider myself a work in progress, as well as him, and we dance this dance trying our best to figure out how to manage life together. Your honesty is always refreshing. Transparency is always best, I think. 😉