Can This Marriage Be Saved?

IMG_4076In the spirit of the long-running column, Can This Marriage Be Saved?, from the magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, today’s post will explore a troubled relationship in my own home, and its chances for success.

Kerry’s turn:

I didn’t want a new love. I had lots of others I was involved with and the relationships were comfortable. I had a busy, fulfilling life and the last thing I needed was weaving.

But weaving was so charming! I’ll admit, it wrapped me up and tied me into knots. I was completely infatuated! I dropped my other relationships or rushed through time with them, in order to spend more time with weaving. I didn’t care about any of those others—I thought about weaving all the time.

And weaving wanted it that way. It wanted all of me.

I liked that weaving was deep and complex and demanding. I didn’t mind the inconvenience or the cost or the quirkiness. I didn’t love everything about weaving—the physical abuse that came from dressing the loom, the temperamental little fits it would throw, if everything wasn’t just so. But I was willing to overlook all that.

I was in love.

Lately, though, weaving is different. The tension is weird. It’s like, if I don’t give it all my time, it does things wrong on purpose, just to punish me. Every time we get together—and I really am trying to spend time with it, as much as I can, I mean, I have a life outside of weaving—every time we get together, it messes with my mind.

It acts up, does little things to confuse me and get me all nervous and unsettled. And it tells me it’s all my fault. I don’t know, I just don’t feel so comfortable and happy with it anymore.

Weaving’s turn:

At first, it was great; she was great. She gave me all her time and treated me as her top priority. I never made any secret of what I wanted from her—devotion, time, energy, forgiveness.

I know I’m not easy. I’ve heard that before and many of my relationships fail because people think I’m too demanding. But she claimed to want that from me. She said she loved that not everyone could make it work with me, and that she wanted to learn everything about me, even if it took a lifetime.

She’s changed. She doesn’t spend time with me like she did and, even when we’re together, she’s distracted and irritable. If things don’t go exactly her way, she stomps out of the room. And she blames me.

And she’s definitely seeing others. It’s clear she’s cheating on me with chocolate and quilting, and she even thinks she should spend time with her family! And her cats! I mean, she knew that cats and I wouldn’t mesh well, but she got more of them anyway!

I’ve about had it with her. She knew I was looking for a monogamous, committed relationship and now I see her as a dilettante. I can make things very uncomfortable for her if she is going to treat me so casually . . . .

The counselor’s turn:

Like so many new couples, Kerry and weaving got caught up in the halcyon newness of the relationship. They focused on the here-and-now, all the perfect little moments together, and didn’t plan for a long-term commitment.

Their early total devotion to each other was unsustainable—we all need other people and interests in our lives. Kerry set up false expectations when she spent so much time with weaving and swore she’d never leave it, but weaving should also know, from past relationships with others, that relationships ebb and flow. Weaving can’t expect 100% of Kerry’s time and affection.

They both need to know that relationships are difficult and that, to last, consistent effort needs to be made. Consistency is a key—the relationship needs to be a priority every day, they need to spend time together, get to know each other at a deeper level, and not expect everything to always be wine and roses.

Weaving is not willing to put up with an on-again/off-again affair. Kerry will need to decide if she is willing to commit to the demands it will place on her. She knows that the payoff to that commitment is great . . . but is she willing to make hard choices?

Weaving needs to be more patient. The relationship is new and weaving is not the easiest partner to get along with. Weaving needs to remember that passive/aggressive behavior—the petulant breaking of warp threads or tangling of pattern and tabby wefts—are never a healthy way to deal with stresses in a relationship.

These two have strengths that can complement each other and I believe the relationship can, indeed, be saved. Patience, consistency, and relaxed time together should help them get through this tangled web they’ve woven. Come on you two–make it work!

75 thoughts on “Can This Marriage Be Saved?

  1. Kerry, I always love your posts, but this is a real winner. What a great idea to describe your feelings about weaving in this way. Like your counselor, I hope you both find a way to make things work.

    • Thank you, Jan–that’s such a nice thing to say! But no books for me! I did one once, as an academic type, and don’t need that kind of stress in my life ever again!

  2. As someone who went through a bitter divorce from weaving, I appreciate hearing both sides of the issue. Weaving is a high maintenance partner that demands constant attention. Our relationship didn’t survive a child. I hope you can get into a more open relationship.

    • Well, weaving doesn’t have to worry about a child coming between us, at least! Weaving seems to have left a long line of broken relationships . . . but I’m committed to working out our differences!

  3. I love this post, excellent humour and writing. So, the honeymoon is over in this relationship, and it is time to decide how to move forward into a comfortable, long-term relationship. Or not. For me, weaving is a chameleon that reflects the backdrop of my life. In super busy, high stress times, it’s pain weave and playing with colours. In calm times, the weaving can be more complex and technical. Mutual support and respect!

    • That’a perfect philosophy, Barbara! I need to remember that and try to match my weaving better with the other stuff going on in my life. My (most recent) mistake has been trying to weave with two shuttles for the first time, while also dealing with other stressful demands on my time. I should be working on plain weave . . .

  4. oh my, the days of wine and roses are allusive. Too much wine isn’t helpful when treadling and roses have thorns that catch fine yarns. Hope you find a tangle free solution, treadle on.

  5. 🙂 A little humour goes a long way in any relationship I feel there are more uestions to be discussed together however – Is this the first chocolate season you have faced together? Did weaving really think you could be monogamous? What does chocolate think? And where is Don in all of this carrying on? What about the children?

  6. One thing I’ve learned is if you find yourself saying, “He’s really great except when he treats me like that…” he’s probably not the right one for you. Honestly, this is what women say about their abusive partners. Perhaps you can be friends, perhaps not. Please update us, but if you find yourself concerned about your safety, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.

    • Haha!! I didn’t mention the abuse I’m giving weaving, did I! Really, I’ve got some weaving that appears to have suffered from physical violence. But I’m working toward a peaceable solution . . .

  7. Isn’t it funny? One thing I’ve always loved about weaving is how you can just leave it for months, and come right back and pick up where you left off! Nothing can happen to that warp once it’s safely on the loom. (Well, I guess a cat could lay in the same spot every day, and stretch part of it out, but that’s why God gave us extra laundry baskets, etc., – to protect warps from lazy cats!)

    So your warp broke or your wefts tangled. You know that if you bought a textile with those features from an antique store, you would be saying, “Oh look! Proof a human made it! I love that handmade touch!” So don’t be too picky about your own weaving, just look at those little quirks as evidence of humanity.

    You have to do what is right for you, but please remember, that no matter how difficult weaving acts, WEAVING NEEDS YOU!!! Here’s what I mean: Back before the Internet my work was published in a magazine, and sometimes people thought that was impressive. But it was easy to get in, because it was a weaving magazine! It had a circulation of 30,000. In comparison, Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine has over 250,000 Facebook followers! So weaving could really use an articulate creative friend like you.

    So take a break, but please don’t get divorced!
    But if you do, I will be one of those people who manages to stay friends with both parties.

    • I think this might be my all-time-favorite comment ever! You seem to know me so well with all that “Oh, look! Proof a human made it” talk! I laughed OUT loud! And another thing a cat can do to a warp, is chew right through the warp threads. Don’t ask me how I know this–I just do. I will continue to “keep company” with weaving–its mysterious ways do fascinate me. Quilting is sort of like the nice, safe neighbor boy and weaving is James Dean . . .

      • Well, I was inspired by some of the earlier commenters. I loved how they entered into the spirit of the “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” format!
        I’m glad to hear “James Dean” will still have a place in your life!

  8. I like Textile Ranger’s comments. Treat weaving as an old friend you can go to and start where you left off. But if the picture is any indication, you two are weaving beautiful fabric together!

    • Textile Ranger knows me better than I know myself, i think–she’s fab! The current project, the one pictured, IS pretty but it is the bane of my existence. Too much new stuff when I’m too distracted by the rest of the world!

  9. As all of the above have stated I love this post, it is obvious how passionate you are about this new project. I think you need to manage your expectations of both yourself and the weaving, it looks so good it would be a shame to call it a day.

    • Managing expectation is exactly right. I want to be great at it and never struggle, right from the start, and that isn’t realistic. I need to relax and enjoy!

  10. I always love reading your blog for the new and fun ways you present your stories 🙂 Love this! I hope you two can make the relationship work 🙂

  11. I have a long time commitment with ‘Baking’. It’s been my daily priority and we’ve gotten to know each other at the deepest level possible. It is not always a bed of roses, of course, but we somehow, always work things out. When the going gets tough, we take some long time offs, just to have some breathing space and reminisce over the past. The ‘time off thing’ has been the saviour during our difficult moments.
    Have a lovely day!

  12. I laughed out loud at this…. geeze…. I’m sure I’ve had the very same experience somewhere. Ahhhh to figure out if the honeymoon can become a marriage….. I have little doubt- you two can’t live without each other. As with all relationships some patience, time and understanding will deepen and solidify the unity….. If not I’m sure Smojo and Gigi will take your mind off it. 🙂

  13. Wonderful post–I absolutely loved the “Can this Marriage be Saved” format. You are such a creative and thoughtful writer.

    I don’t know anything about weaving–but I know that I’ve often been impressed with the complexity of the patterns you make. This may make absolutely no sense (so please ignore if that is the case), but it crossed my mind that it might help “save the marriage” if every other piece you did was an easy, relaxing pattern. That said, it’s candy season; and I think you should do what you currently enjoy.

    • What a nice response, Sheryl–thank you! I think you are actually exactly right about alternating relaxing projects with more demanding ones! I made the mistake of trying something brand new right when candy season was heating up–that’s the source of a lot of friction between weaving and me!

    • Good point–weaving and I need each other! Poor Don, indeed–but he has his own weaving to keep him company, and that relationship seems pretty smooth for the two of them!

  14. The early stages are so exciting and engrossing, but there comes a time when you have to take a step back and and pay attention to all the things you neglected when your passion began. You will work it out because the love is still there.
    I decided to leave my marriage with knitting when knitting sent me to the doctor from the abuse to my hands. We still hook up now and then (sorry, wrong metaphor), but I have gone on to have a healthier, more versatile marriage with sewing.

    • Knitting was abusive! Glad to know you wouldn’t put up with that! Actually one of the things I like about weaving is that, so far, it puts fewer demands on my creaky hands than some other things do.

  15. The narcissistic looms are the worst. So much of that ‘It is I who exist first and foremost and require great gobs of your devotion” garbage. Yeah, I’d threaten to kick him to the curb. Surely he should see that there’s more than enough of you to go around if one is being balanced and reasonable. But looms are renowned for being unstable creatures. Maybe wave around your weaving fork and threaten him with a big old batten.
    Show him who’s boss. Eat some chocolate right in front of him.
    Whew. I feel better.

    • “Maybe wave around your weaving fork and threaten him with a big old batten”– I can tell you’re an accomplished weaver! 😉 Isn’t it interesting that we just *know* looms are male . . . ?

  16. I’ve just come across your blog and totally loved this post. While I’ve never tried weaving, I have wanted to break up with many new creative ventures! I’m now intrigued by weaving though…. 🙂

    • Oh, thanks for letting me know you were here! In truth, I do love weaving and, if you get a chance to take a class, do it! Even if you don’t end up with a long-term relationship, it’ll change your perspective on, and appreciation of, fabric forever!

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