good life – by cathy zielske
Part of cultivating a good life is knowing when to get help.
I’m not talking about help with the laundry. I’m talking about developmental help. Hands down, the best decision I have ever made was to start working with a therapist about four years ago.
While this may sound super new-age-y and self-congratulatory, it’s actually the hardest work I have ever done. It has not been what you would call fun. It has not felt good. It has definitely not been easy. But it has saved both me and my husband from a lifetime of unhappily ever after.
Marriage counseling. We used to toss that phrase out as the ultimate threat during arguments. It was bandied about like a catch-all last resort. If we have to argue about this one more time, then I swear, I’m calling a marriage counselor!
The funny thing is, it was the very thing we needed. It wasn’t a threat. It was a rescue; a way to finally sort out a lifetime of how we had learned to exist both as a couple and in the world at large.
At first I thought it would be akin to calling in a referee. Okay, she’s safe on first and you’re out! You need to sit in the penalty box on this one! YOU were wrong. SHE was right! I thought that finally, I could prove to him how right I’d been all this time. That he would see the error of his ways. That we could finally be a happier couple.
But it was actually not about him at all. (What? Are you serious?) It was about me and all the things I needed to look at, understand and then work to change. It was about both of us learning to understand ourselves individually and then working together to redefine what a truly positive relationship looked like.
After 22 years of marriage, we continue to work. Some days are better than others. Rather than saying we’re out of the woods, I like to think that we are simply setting up camp in them. We’re living in an immense forest of life that requires work, love, commitment, and the resolve to get up each day and with an attitude that says, “This is worth it.”
We’re also showing our children that working to create connection is ultimately the most important work you can do. That it’s okay to seek out help when you can’t seem to sort it out on your own. And that it’s the ultimate act of love to work to understand why and then make the changes that are most needed.
I understand that not every couple can or even should make it for the long haul. But I’m very grateful today that my husband and I are giving this marriage thing a run for its money.
Note from Becky
Ummm. Who wants to join me in giving Cathy the biggest squeezy cyber hug ever? I know many of you scrapbookers know her. She is a seriously funny person. And she has an incredibly warm and sentimental heart. I find Cathy to be extremely likable and talented in a hundred ways. Her eye for design is absolutely top-notch. She is a trailblazer for CLEAN + SIMPLE design in an industry that does tend to get quite … “aesthetically busy.” I have always, always been drawn to Cathy’s work and style … and personality for that matter.
I am grateful for the times that our paths have crossed and we’ve been able to chat in real life. I wish she were my neighbor in real life. But since she’s not leaving Minnesota anytime soon and I’m not leaving Arizona anytime soon, I’m really grateful for technology and social media that help us to stay even a little bit “connected.” And I am particularly grateful that Cathy has been open and willing to share something very personal that I know will resonate deeply with many who read this today. Like I said — big hugs to Cathy. And Dan! Here’s to fighting every day to keep marriages strong.