Marriage: the full time job, and the embroidered pillow

Before I wrote the letter to my husband (and posted it as a blog) in a fleeting attempt to revive what felt like a drowning marriage, i’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I was at the edge of a cliff ready to jump; staring single motherhood in the face and terrified of what my future and my children’s future might hold because I just didn’t think I could take it anymore. What stopped me was a group of friends slapping me in the face with the reality of the situation, and forcing me to take some time to reflect and remember how things used to be. Why couldn’t they be that way again?

Madly, butt-crazy in love. Nothing else mattered but each other, being together. At one point I risked nearly everything to be with him, I knew he was the one. Not just someone, but THE one. The one I was absolutely meant to be with for the rest of my life. I even called it fate more times than I can count.

Couldn’t we get that back? Was it too late?oldblog

No one ever told me that marriage was WORK. Hard, dirty, manual labor. It’s not just signing a piece of paper and going on your merry way. It’s not just an agreement recognized by the state; it’s a commitment you not only make to yourself, but to your partner as well. To love them and stand by them ‘for better or for worse’- and didn’t this count as worse?

How can one walk away when they’ve never really tried? REALLY tried. When we made those vows 5 years ago, we meant them, and they deserved to be respected enough to try to follow through on them as best as we possibly could.

Real, TRUE love doesn’t just fade away. It doesn’t just disappear one day when you’re not looking, never to be heard from again, never to be felt again. It is always there… but sometimes it gets lost in the mix of busy days, stress, and money problems and has to be found again. And that’s where we are now.

I wish it were as easy as putting a GPS chip in it, flicking a button and being able to say “Oh, there you are” and putting it right back where it belongs… but anything that’s worth anything is NOT easy; and that has been a hard lesson to learn, one i’m still learning and probably will be for the rest of my life.

As much as old dogs don’t like to learn new tricks, we both have had to make adjustments. I had to learn to stop being so angry about the little things because i’d let everything build up for so long that everything started to annoy me, and in the process I learned there was really no reason to be annoyed about these things in the first place. He had to learn that he can’t just come home, be here for 5 minutes, and start in on how badly the kids have been acting “all day” when i’m the one who deals with them.

After writing the letter, and his response, I think we both not only felt a little raw, but also scared to say anything to each other. We were afraid that any showing of anger or frustration at one another would result in another blow-out fight between us, and neither of us wanted one of those again. After a day or so walking on eggshells, the guard finally came down and we both realized that it’s OKAY to feel stabby with each other sometimes. Even the best marriages have those “I could seriously punch you in your stupid face right now” moments- and a lot of what made us who we were before the kids and the money problems or anything else took priority was the fact that we could joke around with each other like that.

Agreeing to help me write a blog from his point of view and then he bails out at the last second so I have to write the entire thing myself? That might make me want to inform him that i’m going to smother him.

Waking up at an UNGODLY hour to take the first available physical therapy appointment just so my husband doesn’t have to go into work late? I told him this morning it was smother-worthy.

Having one of the kids use two walls as a personal coloring book, and then spending an hour attempting to scrub it off with a Magic Eraser, and then having the first thing my husband asks me be “Did you try the Magic Eraser?” I’m getting out the sewing machine and embroidering his name onto a pillow. I figure if i’m going to suffocate the life out of him, it might as well be with a special personalized pillow- and he knows this.

As insane as it sounds, this is us getting back to how we used to be. Joking, sarcastic, a little dark- that was US. The us we have both missed so much for a very long time. The us we both want to get back and haven’t known how. Who would have thought that just letting down our guard and being comfortable again would open that door?

I know we have a LONG way to go to get back to the “us” we once were, but this is the first time that I have truly felt as though we could do it.As insane as it sounds, this is us getting oldblog2back to how we used to be. Joking, sarcastic, a little dark- that was US. The us we have both missed so much for a very long time. The us we both want to get back and haven’t known how. Who would have thought that just letting down our guard and being comfortable again would open that door?


In part thanks to a joke about an embroidered pillow.

Posted on January 24, 2012 by Holdin' Holden 21 Comments
Holdin' Holden

About Holdin' Holden



  • Marriage is a full time job. I have been there done that kinda like you right now. Some days I just want to punch the ever living CRAP outta him. With the stress of school, work, kids, money, in laws, animals, it all gets to be a bit much at times. Hugs and wish you all the best.

  • Arick and I always say that we’d rather be miserable with each other than with anyone else….lol. Because we’d be twice as miserable without each other.

  • Definitely understand what you mean! My husband and I have been married over 15 years now, and we have had a few really rough spots in our marriage. A lot has to do with the fact that he is a Marine and has been deployed for at least half of our marriage. It has been a long and hard road so far, but we finally have gotten back to ‘us’ again just recently and it feels good again! Thanks so much for sharing your stories…you’re so not alone in your feelings and I for one truly appreciate your honesty and openness about such personal matters.:-)

  • Thanks everyone!
    and agreed Heather!

  • I love love LOVE you!! Work stress money kids… Talk about hitting close to home for me. Me and my fella aren’t married yet.. almost 3 yrs and going strong. He has become a wonderful step-father to my children, (stepped up to the plate better than the biological could have ever done).. We go rounds all the time, and it’s always lack of time together, lack of money, lack of sleep.. It’s hard. So hard. But he is and always will be my best friend.. Embroidered pillows aside, (LMAO!)I think you guys are on the right track.. And keep in mind… Fights suck ass, but make-up bow-chicka-wow-wow rocks!Keep em coming girl! I live for your blogs… and to clean house as of lately.. LOL =)

  • Lovely. Stabbiness and all. 🙂

    This: “Real, TRUE love doesn’t just fade away. It doesn’t just disappear one day when you’re not looking, never to be heard from again, never to be felt again. It is always there… but sometimes it gets lost in the mix of busy days, stress, and money problems and has to be found again. And that’s where we are now.” has just helped me get past the last 6 weeks or so and made me remember that it’s still there. Thank you!

  • rI have left this post before, but here it is again. If you can still hear him breathing you are not pressing down on the pillow hard enough. hahahah I have been married for 30 years, never thought I would say that, and besides we own a restaurant and work together. We are together 24/7. One day at work as he was standing there saying something stupid, I told him that I could just punch him in the throat. I turned to see the chief of police standing there. hmmmmm, probably not the best timing, whatever. It is a job, full time, all the time. One thing that I have learned is that they will never get it, you will always have to spell it out for them. That was the hardest thing to learn. There have been times that I wanted to leave and have secretly plotted ways to get out, but I have always survived these crazy times and stayed. Because we do need each other, rely on each other, and lean on each other. There are a million things that I want but in the end he is all that I will ever need.

  • amen to that John D. Amen to that!

  • love without stabbiness sucks. you’d get bored, seriously LOL

  • Just wanted to say that I throughly enjoy reading your blogs. I can relate sooooo much to them that it’s scary.. Everything from the marriage stuff, the monster stuff, the trapped in the mommy cage stuff and the chronic back pain stuff.. You have no idea how much you touch people’s lives with your writing. They’ve made me feel normal.lol.. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  • Did you try a dry cotton swab for the wall markings? It’s works miraculously!

  • On a card I got from a wedding guest… 15 yrs later along with many ups and downs… And they weren’t ALL in the bedroom it still hangs on the fridge… “Always be the first to say you are sorry. Be kind to one another.” And my personal favorite… “Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.” I yelled once, was a false alarm… and of course he was on the shitter anyway… And my person 2nd fave… “If it’s not going to matter in 10 yrs, it’s not worth arguing over”. A divorce would have effects much longer than 10 yrs, so yeah, it’s worth it! I look forward to being the exception and having a 25th anniversary… And may a 50th if I let him live that long… GOOD LUCK!

  • My husband and I reached our breaking point after he returned from a 15 month deployment. We too had to learn these same lessons. Though it was hard and there were a lot of tears and sleepless nights we have worked through the majority of our issues. That isn’t to say that everything is sunshine and roses, we still have our fights and our problems but as we often say “We would rather fight with each other than be with anyone else”. Last Halloween we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.
    I am glad that you and husband have found out what we did. Any relationship worth being in is worth fighting for. I wish you many more blessed years!!!!!

  • I posted this on my fb with the following. My husband and I went through this several times in our marriage before he passed in 2010.

    We all forget after a while what made us get together in the first place.

    As some of you know 08 & the beginning of 09 was rough, it almost destroyed me. But for all that hell, the last eighteen months we had together were a lot like the early days of our marriage. Laughter and joking while we tended to be very insular in that we focused on us to the exclusion of everyone, even family.

    I have fought to be who I am now, to live without that codependency. Yes, I can do it on my own. I try not to channel everything I’m feeling inside, so sometimes I vent here on FB.

  • chocolatelove1925 April 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I am engaged to a man I love to the very ends of my heart and soul. From the very beginning of this relationship, nothing was ever easy. Every single problem came down to us like a big block of rock falling down from the sky and I am expected to catch it and throw it out of the way to save myself. I love him, and I always remind myself how much he loves me even through the times when I feel like he doesn’t love me anymore. I always think of every problem like a slight glitch on a video game. We both constantly remind ourselves that we are for each other and that’s why we’ve gone this far, because we deserve each other’s love. Always remind yourself how much you love each other. When you are feeling like smothering him with that pillow, remind yourself about the good times you had with him. The very first time you felt his lips on yours. Remind your heart how much he’s filled your heart with his love. Never fail to remind yourself why you are in that relationship and why you risked almost everything you had. We(being me and my fiance) are both very outspoken people and it helps to be able to tell the other person when you feel like punching him/her in the face and we actually say that to each other and it does give you a big sense of relief in the end.(SMILE ABOUT IT!LAUGH ABOUT IT! NOTHING PERSONAL! (: ) I tell him when he upsets me, or whenever he’s annoying me with his childishness. 🙂 KEEP SMILING! LOVE EACH OTHER! NEVER FORGET HOW MUCH LOVE YOU HAVE FOR EACH OTHER EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE THIS THOUGHT OF SMOTHERING EACH OTHER. That love you have in your heart is the one keeping you from doing so. 🙂 I wish you both all the best. I’m pretty sure that you can overcome any trials and tribulations as long as you put all your heart to it. 🙂

  • My husbands aunt told me once that I will go through periods where I will question why I am still married to my husband. She said that its working past those feelings and remembering why I married him in the first place that will keep my marriage alive. It is so much harder than I expected but I wouldn’t trade him for world. Its nice to know that I’m not the only one out there that’s going through this.

  • Oh Lord! Where to begin? I’ll begin with it’s more than a full time job…there’s overtime involved…always. But I am so happy you two are making your way back to where you should be. Just a bit of advice…..when I was waiting on my ‘husband’s replacement’, as he called him, to be born…my Doc stopped in and asked how we were. Well, we weren’t very happy. Doc looked at me, then hubby, shook his head and told us….”This is what you wanted! And remember….it was you and him before the baby….and it will be you and him again…in about 20 years.” He was somewhat right.
    A few years ago, I contemplated walking out, I was done….just done. But we traveled the path you are now on, we made amends and continued on with who we always were. Happy as a whole bunch of clams going on 22 years of marriage.
    Then….BAM! He was diagnosed with terminal cancer….he is gone, his replacement is a teen, and I’m a widow. All within a year.
    So here is my advice…..continue the road you are on, enjoy each other, get back to being silly, sarcastic, dark. Don’t miss a microsecond of each other…..you never know when life is going to throw you the ultimate curve ball.

  • 17 years and counting. Almost divorced at least three times and several more occasions when we would throw around the”D” word more than the “L” word. Getting back to good always feels great and amazingly enough, I always remember why I don’t want to live a life without him. Thank you for reminding me.

  • I’m probably one of your youngest readers, as I’m about to turn 17, but I love that you’re willing to try and work out your problems with your husband. My parents weren’t willing to at all and they got a divorce last year, but they’d been separated for 3 years. When my mom was kicked out, my youngest sister was 6 at the time and it hit her really hard, she would come into my room when she couldn’t sleep and ask when mommy was coming home and I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to tell her, so I would just lay down with her and try to sound comforting. When I hear people talking about marital problems, a lot of the time, they’re only thinking about themselves and the other, but most(not all) don’t consider the impact that divorce has on the kids, well let me tell you, it rips our hearts out. My parents had been fighting my entire life, so I was used to living in WW3. I wish my parents had stuck it out, they only had one more year until their 20th anniversary, but they gave up too easily, so thank you for sticking through. Its nice to see that there are actually marriages that can still work after all.