Two Things I Simply Couldn't Do When My Marriage Fell Apart

My marriage counselor explained why they were difficult.

Exhausted Woman, pile of photographs and a dinner table behind her VladimirFLoyd, Prime Stock, Foxys_forest_manufacture | Canva

I’m the youngest of five children. I used to joke with my mom there weren’t too many pictures of me as a baby. Could I blame her? No. Her plate was full. She wasn’t a big-picture taker. It made me want to chronicle every moment of my children’s lives. I loved photos. I’m also an organizer. I like a clean house and things in their spot. It was fun for me to create the albums that held our memories. I didn’t waste any time. They were immediately chronicled.


I may not have followed in my mother’s photography steps, but I did follow her in the kitchen.

Dinners were a big deal. I made everything from scratch just as she had. No boxes or cans were going into anything I made. It was a labor of love, just as it had been for her.

RELATED: Why I Force My Family To Eat Dinner Together Every Night — No Matter How Busy We Are

While I was growing up, our family dinners were special. They were something we never wanted to miss. They could last for hours, whether it was a few of us or all of us at home. They culminated in some of our greatest memories. It’s where we share everything and all of ourselves. My children grew up knowing the same thing. They experienced the deep emotional intimacy that accompanies a shared table. 


I was my mother’s girl.  Until my marriage began falling apart and I no longer wanted to cook dinner. It didn’t happen immediately. It happened over time. It manifested during the years I remained in an impossibly futile situation. What I once loved to do, was now a chore. It took more energy than I possessed. I had zero interest.



And those pictures I once couldn’t wait to chronicle? I was still taking them. I don’t think anything could have stopped me from that. I could never have resisted the beautiful faces of my three everythings. I made sure I took photos of my boys. But they were piling up. The pictures the once organized girl had chronicled immediately, sat on a table in my master bedroom. I wanted to get to them. I wanted to stuff them in their rightful album pocket. But I avoided doing so.

RELATED: 11 Blunt Reasons Why You're Stuck In An Unfulfilling Marriage


One day I was sitting with my marriage counselor. My husband no longer went with me. He had refused to return.

“I’m not happy,” I said. “But I have energy for everything in my life. I can still keep up with everything except for two things. I don’t understand it. Why are those two things so difficult for me? Why do they feel like climbing a mountain? Why do I avoid them?”

2 Things I Couldn't Do When My Marriage Fell ApartPhoto: Ground Picture / Shutterstock


“What are they?” asked my counselor. “I don’t feel up to making dinner every night,” I said. “I used to love making dinner. I loved everything about creating a family meal.”

“What else?” he asked. “I love taking photos,” I said. “It was always my thing. I love everything about visual memories. I’m super organized. I’m not too fond of clutter. I’ve always liked taking pictures and creating albums for them. Not anymore. They are piling up on a table.”

RELATED: The Most Critical Marriage Lesson I Learned In Couples Counseling

“Well,” he said. “I can’t say with certainty, but I would guess that both of those things represent family to you. This is why it’s difficult for you to do them during this time.”


At that moment, I knew he was right. My family was falling apart. I simply rejected it.

I knew it. Despite, remaining far too many years after the demise of my marriage. I was going through the motions. But love, or I should say a healthy love, had left the building a long time ago. I might’ve allowed myself the luxury of denial. But either my heart or my head knew better. They couldn’t lie.

Family dinners and photos weren’t the same. No matter how much I wanted them to be. The mood wasn’t as joyful as it had once been. It was uncomfortable and forced.


It took my marriage counselor to expose my truth. The reason why I had no energy for two things I loved during one of my worst times. They represented the family. The one I couldn’t hold onto, no matter how hard I tried.

RELATED: I Chose Divorce For A Simple Reason

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes about love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.