What a tangled ball of yarn can teach you about Marriage

I have this tangled ball of yarn that I’ve been trying to unravel for over a year now. No, I didn’t buy it tangled. But it got that way when I was unraveling it to wind it up for my next yarn project.

I made the mistake of letting my then almost 3-year-old son help me. (Sounds silly right, but there was a method or at least a reason to my madness.) When I was crocheting a blanket for him, he was unraveling my ball of yarn. (Not helpful for me making his blanket and he kept insisting on trying to hide under it while I was making it. But that’s another story).

Once I finished his blanket, I thought the perfect pandemic project would be to have him help me wind some of my balls of yarn up so I could knit some baby hats for the NICU while his then almost 4-month-old sister was napping.

But instead of unraveling it like he did with the already wound yarn, he made, as he called them, ‘tangles’, which you guessed it was knots!

And that’s how I ended up with a tangled ball of yarn.

Now I hear you, and what did this teach me about marriage? I’m sure we can all agree that it taught me don’t let your kids help you with the yarn if you’re not prepared to spend a lifetime or more untangling said yarn before you can start your project.

Yarn taught me that like marriage, it looks wonderful from the outside. No visible tangles (personality flaws), the color is right (physical appearance); it feels soft (treats you well), Machine washable (has the same values. Who has time for hand washing?)

You buy it, and take it for a spin, (we’re dating) You start your project or wind it up. Things are going well, everything is working great. They easily unraveled minor snags or tangles (slight arguments but everyone has some disagreements and hey they are getting solved, and it is a win-win. Let’s get married!)

Now you’re full into your project, you have all this beautiful yarn wound or you have a good beginning part of your project started. It’s coming together so nicely, and small tangles are easily undone. (Honeymoon phase)

Then you find these hidden tangles and they are harder to get out. (Living together for the first time, or someone keeps putting the toilet paper roll on wrong, which is down of course unless you have cats) But you look back at all the nicely wound yarn you have and all that is left that looks good. (happy times in the past and future) So you muscle through, not ready to give up and cut it. You’re determined to save the whole thing. (Does not count for abusive/toxic relationships where the “good” times are a mirage in a desert of bad.)

It seems you’re making progress (resolving fights, compromising, maybe couples counseling) but the knots keep coming. Now you’re stuck in the knots, and you can’t see the happy past and the happy future looks like a distant thing that’s lost. But around those knots (fights) there is nice useable yarn (good times) so you work it until you can’t anymore and go to sleep. But Sunken cost fallacy exists for a reason, so the next day you plunge back into the yarn, you’ve come so far and no, you still can’t move forward on your project. 

And the cycle continues. You stay up late because you keep thinking you’re almost there but end not finished, but you can’t give up and eventually (#yearslater) you made it through. It’s all done and nicely wound, and you can start/finish your project and you feel great. You didn’t give up; you worked through it. 

And if you had to cut it or scrap the whole ball and start over. You’ve learned a lot and can take it into the next relationship/project.

If you are in an abusive/toxic relationship, please seek help. No matter what your partner says, you are loveable. People will help you and are worth so much, including a partner who is worthy of your love. For Help call 1-800-799-7233 or Text START to 88788, www.thehotline.org

What have you learned about relationships? Because we all fall in love.

Looking forward to connecting with you,


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Deleyna

    Marriage is so complicated! I think the bit I didn’t understand was how much people change over a lifetime and how easy it is to change in different directions. It takes work to keep from snapping that thread. Beautiful post.

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