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!