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Okay. I NEVER comment (and have been reading you for years), but this post really deserves a high five, two thumbs up, and a sigh of relief. My husband is also a Cold War expert. I can't stand it and typically give in . . . which is temporary relief at best. My husband is an awesome guy. . . let's just get that out there. We've been married for 23 years (and have four kids), and about three years ago we had this talk about the cold war episodes. My husband said he feels like I 'play games,' which I did because it was the only way I could get his attention about matters I needed attended to (or the only way I thought I could get his attention). His M.O. was to walk away, forget it, wait for it to blow over. So, on that night three years ago we made a deal that I wouldn't play games (name call, ignore him, pout) and he wouldn't walk away and would genuinely listen. Sometimes we remind each other. Like, "Hey. The deal is no walking away." But mostly it's really changed our relationship tremendously. I think we went from having a good marriage to a great one. We still have our moments of disagreement, but they are brief and respectful.

So, yeah, me too. (You rock)


I wish I had an answer for the parenting conflict situation
They only thing my husband and I EVER argue about is parenting.
I TOTALLY Disagree with him 95% of the time!

Jennifer C

Yep me too!
Why is it that we always have to give in first? I think my husband could keep it up FOREVER.
Great post Karen!!!


me too...


You are awesome for sharing. I completely commend you for posting these words, because you could easily just present the "glossy picture" version. Someone could look at your pictures and walk away believing you had a total Norman Rockwell night, feeling envious and "not good enough" - but you added your words and your experiences, and instead we walk away loving your pictures and appreciating you even more for sharing so freely of yourself with complete strangers <3


me too….me three…me four…:)) thank you Karen!


"who might possibly be the most stand-up person I've ever met in my entire life, yet sometimes I am convinced that he is my enemy." me too. and the "burning humiliation" me too.


me too....oh, and FYI--Cole looks like he is dressed as Finn from Adventure Time?


beautifully said... as always... thank you for being our 'me too' person..


I love how real you are Karen, and how honest you are. When I read other blogs where family life is so blissful, where there is no conflict...this isn't "real" life. Life is full of conflict and strife. If there weren't struggles, we would never grow as Christians. God gives us trials, so He can strengthen our faith.

Nicky from Okotoks

Nice to know we are not on this journey alone and that we all indeed have these moments in life!!!


Thanks so much for sharing. We have our own simi cold war going on after I asked my husband last night when I needed to leave for cub scouts and he said - you know where it is and when it starts - figure it out. I was feeling like we are the only ones that have this and appreciate you sharing that this is more normal than we realize and yes LOVE Brene Brown and her books on shame.


Oh I have been here!!! Nice to know we're not alone in these cold war battles!


Great post Karen, thanks for sharing! This is one problem I've had with blogs and even my own blog...sometimes it's just the good stuff and not the real life sucky stuff. And I know my marriage goes thru the same wars and sometimes they do burn but there's always that feeling of realizing how much you love him while you're hating him!:)

nicole prather

I feel like your marriage is a reflection of my marriage.
And I always go back to my mother. Some of the crap she did just really made me question love.
And every relationship other than my children I always have something with. I think it is really a trust issue.
Your enemy comment really sticks out in my mind.
I feel like you Im 36 feeling like I need to get this worked out.
Xoxo. you are in my prayers.


Thank you. I needed this reminder today that everyone else is just struggling to make it through the days too, and though it might look like a Pottery Barn life online - we are all just hanging on for the ride!

I appreciate your honesty!

Oh, and me too!


I am embarrassed to admit that I am the Cold War Dictator in our house. I'm the one that can hold a grudge for days. However, he doesn't push me to get over it - he just goes on as if nothing happened. Eventually, I give up and life goes on. I'm not sure it's a great thing because I, also, feel like the bad feelings never truly go away - they are always lingering back there waiting for the next Cold War. Not sure there is an answer but I am pretty sure we are not alone.


There seem to be so many who can relate to this common struggle in marriage! I recently read the most practical book on marriage and it totally addresses this issue. It's called Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs. My husband and I have done pre and post marital counseling with a number of couples and after reading Love and Respect, we both think that it should be required reading for anyone we do premarital counseling with to help avoid problems later on, and really for any married couple who wants a happy and healthy marriage. It's pretty easy to read. I definitely recommend it!


Thank you so much for sharing this. It reminds me that we are all human and we struggle on many days. I have always been the Cold War Dictator in our house, and after 25 years, my husband did it to me last week. It freaked me out. I want so badly to give my kids an example of a loving marriage, but I fail on so many days.
A few months ago I was at a sporting event for our kids, and it was obvious and awkward that another couple was not talking to each other. At the time, I thought to myself, that is ridiculous, how can they act so childish. Later I realized that I probably do the same thing.
I wish after so many years I knew the answer. I know that I don't want to continue our bad behavior to each other, yet I'm not sure how to do it.


So I say you can LOVE SOMEONE and still HATE THEIR BEHAVIOUR!!!!

Heather B.

Oh my gosh...ME TOO! Thanks so much for this post!

Nicole Stark

Thank you and me too!!!


I'm glad that you share, because often I find myself thinking, "Phew, I'm not alone."


Me too...


Karen - Thanks for the great post, as I was reading it I was thinking about how refreshing it is that you are so honest about your marriage. Sometimes if my husband and I have a disagreement I'll share it with the girls at work but then I wonder if we sound dysfunctional and think I should be quiet. But you know what? Everybody has issues, some people just don't talk about and internalize it and others do. You are great and you adore your husband and he adores you, you're in it for the long haul and that's all that matters in the end.


Thanks for sharing. The Cold War lives on... and on for so many of our marriages. And NO enjoys it. It's crazy!

Andrea :)

Again, thank you so much for sharing your heart, Karen! "Me too..."


Me too! But we are getting better about talking about it. No kiddos left to parent, so most of our Cold Wars are about when we try to parent each other, mostly over medical stuff. But when the day is done, he does still kiss me goodnight, even if it is the back of my stubborn head.


Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too!


I'll say it, Me too. That could be my DH & me, I think we've had more of those cold war fights than you, we've been married longer. He could go on for years not speaking to. I feel exactly like you, the guilt etc etc. And it's always some little time bomb that sets the whole thing off...some tiny little bomb... ugh. Thanks for sharing. Hugs!


Oh, Karen, everything you said in this post is so right. Especially the part about Grease being the best movie ever! In our little family I am the one that stays mad and 5 minutes after an arguement (no matter how big or small) my husband will act like nothing ever happened. Drives me crazy. And sometimes it seems like everyone I know has a marriage where they never fight, which is why I don't have a Facebook account and yours is the only blog I read! Your blog inspires me with your photography and your words. I feel like I know you,and I truly wish I did. Now, go kiss those awesome and beautiful children of yours and that hot husband with the great legs.


Me, too. Thanks for sharing your struggles and successes with us so openly.


for sure "me too" friends and I were just at an adult Halloween party when another couple walked in fighting the whole way...of course, we saw them before they had a chance to put their party faces on. As it happened, we were just passing out a round of shots- and we drank to them, and to each and every one of us who have walked into a party fighting with their spouses. Cheers!


Me too!
I think if it weren't so hard, it wouldn't be worth it.
And for the record it's usually me, making faces at someone's back that ends the cold war. Usually because that someone can see me in the window reflection or mirror when I do it.
That's finn from Adventure Time! And the book idea is a brilliant one! What kid will remember where that mars bar came from? But that book will always be special!
I love that you share, it makes me love you more, because you aren't all shiny, perfect, and boring in your photos and posts, you are tarnished and have stories to tell!

Jennifer S

Me too :) xoxo - Jen

Tricia Gray

Me, too!! Thanks for honesty! Though the details are different, I think we all struggle at times with marriage and parenting and it is so nice to be able to breathe a sigh of relief and think, "Me, friggin', too!"


ohhh yeah, me too. on so many levels. Me too. And thank God that someone else feels it because I was starting to wonder. Thank you.


I don't EXACTLY relate, because I am the cold warrior in our house. It's the way I was brought up. Marriage counseling helped a lot. I have always been petrified of conflict so I avoid it. In counseling I was forced to talk, and I found out that what my husband was thinking was never as bad as what I imagined he was thinking.

Like so many others I am so grateful for your truthfulness. I cannot tell you how often your honesty has reassured me about my own failings.

kristi b

Thanks for your honesty.

My parents had the cold war thing going in when I grew up & it was awful! Everyone was tense & on edge waiting for the stuff to hit the fan. I think I would have preferred for them to yell & get it over with instead of dragging it out.


Marriage and Parenting are HUGE struggles... OMG you have made me feel so normal twice in the last few weeks and I thank you for that! FIrst with the story of the Oatmeal as this is me - new day, new plans to be the best mom and by the time they are heading to school its all gone to pot! This story today is also my life... We do LONG Cold wars and it slowly breaks my heart, and I can feel the love shrivel away each moment of the day. Glad you got to talk about it and maybe next time we will try talking instead of waiting for one of us to break.... Thanks Karen, we are normal!


When you feel like you are the only is awful to say....but it is refreshing to hear about others .....


Best blog post of 2013

Kellie Rogers

Me too...

emma gaughran

Me too


Making me cry at 7:30 in the morning. Thank you for this. Me too.

Tanya J.

You're amazing Karen. I'm having a pretty shitty day here, & I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. So yeah, "me too!" xoxo


Your authenticity is why I am here. Me too and thank you.


Your honestly is amazing and painful. Painful because I grew up with a Great War Dictator, my Dad. It was awful and no matter how sweet he was to us kids (4 of us), we still felt the emotional pain he was inflicting on Mom. Thank you for sharing.


"I'm baffled by how I can think so much of them and love them all so ferociously, yet still feel like I'd like to line them all up and kick them in the shins sometimes." - Me too! Thanks for being so honest Karen x


Once again, its your honesty to show us that life isn't all rainbows and lollipops. I am in a Cold War at the moment but its me who is the dictator. My feelings got hurt and I'm waiting for them to heal.


I never comment either but I just have to say that I LOVE you and your honesty. I look forward to each of your blog posts and/or emails. Keep it up, you aren't alone. :)


I cried and cried as I read this. Marriage is such hard work and parenting is so hard too. We try our best and yes my mouth gets me in trouble too. I went to a rosary meeting this morning, then called the employee hotline for a marriage counselor, then I read your blog. When I got to the end, the therapist calls and set up an appointment for today. My head is spinning and a could use a hug because I am still crying. Thanks for being honest because it helps to know I am not the only one who struggles.

Vicki A

Thank you so much for writing with such honesty; it is so refreshing. I am sure that so many of us can relate. I love my husband so much and too have vowed to spend my life with him, but there are days I look at him and the way he acts and the words he uses and I almost hate him. Marriage is definitely not for wimps; it is so hard, yet so rewarding. Thank you again for sharing; I always look forward to reading your blog. :)

Sue E

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your brutal honesty Karen and yes, I too can relate!

Wendy Molnar

Me too! We are standing right there beside you Karen!


Me too! and I just have to say that I have been reading your blog for years now and I don't often comment, but there are times when you share something that is so universal and true that I just HAVE to comment. (But I feel like I need to say that I enjoy all of your posts!) I think what really resonates in your posts is the vulnerability that you are putting out there. It's truth and it's honest and it's real-life stuff that we all struggle with, but you are being brave enough to show your vulnerability and I admire you.


and this is why you're fabulous. and human. and an amazing example.


One of the many reasons we all love you SO much is because of your honesty & authenticity! I can't even count the number of times one of your blog posts has had me thinking to myself "me too!" I love that you share your life with us, and your feelings! It's like you trust us enough to be you....the real you!! And we love you for that Karen Russell!! ♥


me too. i love you, karen." those burning feelings of humiliation" are just what i have been feeling the last two days. when i read that-it hit me right there in the pit of my stomach. thank you, i have been feeling so alone lately

Susan Ringler

Karen, you never cease to amaze me. God loves you so much extra for your honesty, your humbleness, and just all that you are. Too much to write, but me too, is such an understatement. me too, me too.


What I so love about this blog and you Karen, is that this is REAL life - the real life that we all live. The good stuff, the great stuff, the crappy stuff - always evolving and shaping us into who we are. Life really is very good, despite the crap which is life :)


Love the girl's costumes....and the pre-molar. lol

I'm telling ya--Lonnie and Josh Downs are blood brothers!!! You just told a story right out of my life right here! :(


me too friend. anyone who says they dont know what this is like is lying :) love you.


Me too Karen. Me too.


Thank you so for sharing your photos AND your life. Have read Brene's books, and am taking her e-course now...SO full of wisdom and I am learning so much. Thanks for being you!

Ashley S.

I love your honesty and openess. You are awesome, Karen.

K Anton

I also never comment, but this one I had to. ME TOO! Brene Brown is so right - you should check out her e-course - about shame. Sometimes when you read these photography/scrapbooking blogs, it's easy to convince yourself that everybody but you has the perfect kids, perfect marriage, perfect house, etc etc and it makes you feel like crap. Thank you for being real and sharing with us


me too!!! and thank you!


Me too.

Jim R

A husband's perspective:

"Cold War" - shutting down all but necessary / polite communications - is how I tend to deal with arguments... because the alternative (to extend the Cold War metaphor) is DEFCON-1: we're at war, and the use of nuclear weapons has been authorized. This means screaming, insulting, yelling, ultimata, etc. MOST problems are not worth going to war, but they aren't so trivial that they can just be let go, either. "You've upset me, and while it isn't worth a fight, I bloody well want you to know it in the hopes that you'll get the message and stop doing whatever it was that you did."

I think that it's also worth considering that men are wired to solve problems, and when somebody (like our wives) does something that we don't like, that's a problem. Solving the problem requires considering its root cause, which can lead to some pretty nasty thoughts about the other person: frustration that she hasn't learned better than to cause the problem and even a nagging belief that she IS the problem.

One of the hardest lessons that I've never really learned is that people are who they are: while there is some reason to expect that they can change certain behaviors at the margins (learning to put dirty socks in the hamper; learning to not talk during the game), they cannot change the fundamentals of their personality, and the task is to learn to accept it, good and bad.

Erin s. (Past student)

Me too!!!!!
Sadly our last Cold War was at Disney world, freaken Disney worlds happiest place on earth!!!! Ugh it's the worst! I too have not posted any comments before until now.
The only thing that has seem to help us, is I put a 24hr rule. Although that doesn't seem to help on Halloween or vacations! :/
Thank you for having the courage to write the true story!!!!!
I've always loved ya now I love you even more! Lol

Michelle A.

Me, too!!! I love that you share and make me feel almost normal.....

Robin... the one from North Dakota... You know...the one...

ME TOO!!! So much so... it is like reading a page from my own diary! Love you Karen!


Karen, you are not a are the real deal, the most honest, caring, loving and REAL person I've ever met. Don't you change a thing about the way you live your life out loud. We are right here beside you, encouraging you from afar (although we wish we could be closer), and I'm praying for you, those kiddos of yours, and Josh all the time! Thanks for praising God in the storm.....a lesson we should all take note of! :)


Love this post! P.S. great shots of the evening despite the "war".


this is so me! it's been a long while since i've been to your blog and so glad i am getting my dose of inspiration not only through your photos, but your words... filled w/ honesty and truth. i love that and i love that you keep it real. you are no fraud!!!


Me too...

Janet K

Me too....

Carole R

Love your blog for the honesty and complete lack of 'my perfect life' that so many blogs subscribe to.
I can only say it is lucky for me that I don't have a problem with saying 'sorry, I behaved so badly' because I say it so often! I am genuinely sorry too and feel so bad all day after, but occasionally I just seem to lose it. I have just wandered around Rome and acted like a ridiculous five year old!
Still, we are still a couple after 23 years!
You are an inspiration Karen!
Carole R


...Me too!!....Hugs dear one, for your honesty, bravery and selflessness in sharing!!

Anita Guthrie

Loved this post! Thanks for being You Karen!


Meeeeeeee toooooooo!!!

jill in mn

i needed this karen. thanks so much for sharing what is on your heart, you were absolutely right!

Michele aka Derbylea

I never comment but I love the honesty of this post and in this house I am the cold war instigator. I can go forever. Its a horrible horrible trait and yet I still resort to it on occasion. Sometimes someone needs to kick me in the shins.

amy emery

Me too.

Hanni H.

Me too!!!
Love your blog!
Greetings from Germany,

teresa b

Me too!! Love your honesty!! Your rock Karen Russell!!


Thank you, Karen. Just... thank you.


I just have to comment and tell you that you are not alone in moments like these. The only thing different between you and me is that I usually tell my one close friend weeks later and keep it to myself during the cold war! Most times I keep my mouth closed, but in those seconds of saying something mean it is usually to try and get a reaction because I really hate the quietness my husband can pull off. I on the other hand am vocal and it pains me to keep quiet lol. I guess when you live with someone for so long, there are bound to be times of fighting and silence, how can we live in perfect harmony all the time?! Hugs!!!


Me TOO! I thought I was the only one with a husband who can hold onto a silent war for days on end when we fight (and if it's my fault or not, but it's usually my fault).
I thought this wasn't common but by the comments and your post WE'RE NOT ALONE and maybe even normal?!?
Thank you for sharing - you have such a big, brave heart.

Amanda @ Click. The Good News

Once again, thank you Karen. For sharing so openly & honestly, that there is often more to the story than what's in the photos & that we are all human, all have squabbles with our spouses, all have kids that have their moments. Although I love your photos, it's your authenticity & courage to share the real mess of life that make me love your blog!

Anna from RI

Thank you for putting it ALL out there, Karen. No Cold Wars in my house, but I oh so relatable. Hugs.

Denise Armbruster

My hubs and I had done the cold war thing most of our entire marriage until about 1-1/2 years ago when we'd both had enough of a lot of stuff going on and wanted to fix/save "it". We went to counseling and it was the best thing we could have done. It was painful, it was enlightening, it was an amazing discovery, especially for him, ha!! We communicate from an "I" point of view instead of an accusing "you" point of view. It has changed us in so many ways.

Penny Maggio

You're terrific Karen. Love this post. Me too. The hubs and I have been married for almost 30 years. Sadly, I was the "cold war" expert in our relationship. I can't tell you how many times I said to my past "cold war" self during one of our disagreements - "Enough!...we've sufferend enough...make up and move on!" yet I kept it rolling. Not because I wanted to be mean (this man means everything to me and I love him dearly). I honestly felt I was right and he should apologize. I know it really, really bothered the both of us to be acting like that for sometimes days. It expended way to much negative energy - it was like a mini-implosion that totally disrupted our normally terrific relationship. I know it made both of us feel awful. So a long time ago we both decided to go easier on ourselves and treat "cold war" issues head on right away - not so passively. Passivitiy about it drove us both nuts. It's draining. Now after a cooling off period (usually the same day) we settle it and move on. Carrying it out just isn't worth the emotional turmoil and aggrevation - life is too short! :)


OMG - you described me Karen - I guess we all are just people and we just can not fake it. I love reading your blog beacause you are so honest. You are real as the rest of your readers and that is why we love you so much. I can always trust you in putting a smile on my face. You are truly wonderful.


Me too. <3


me too.

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