When I began this blog, I was coming off of 3 years of having a pretty troubled marriage turning better. I had learned a lot of lessons. I thought I’d be able to write about these lessons sagely, as though I had been an unbiased onlooker. Cool, calm, smart. Unruffled. Mature.
Ha. Mistakes are still being made. Lessons are still being learned.
Into every life comes a dry spell– when your work, friends or even significant other come to that bottoming out of “meh.”
Marriages have dry spells too. Some more than others. Sometimes one area of your marriage can be going along fine, while another aspect not so well.
SJ and I got caught up into the vortex of “busy.” Happens to the best of us. It’s happened too many times to count over the course of our marriage. It was either work or kids or parents or… whatever. We got busy, and we started to put our relationship on the back burner. It got to be a nasty habit to put our intimacy and connection last.
A major move and starting a new chapter in our lives made us terribly busy. It was all exciting, forward-motion, positive stuff. In the middle of it lots of other big changes took place, such as death, medical diagnoses, graduation. I try hard to keep focused on the fact that we both forged ahead in all of these things together, as partners, trying to keep each other strong. We had many blessings to count. Intimacy was quick and seldom, although not absent altogether.
Now that the busy time has passed, and we are settling into our new life, the intimacy hasn’t rebounded. Quick and seldom became the norm. And it is tough to face that elephant in our (bed)room. I love my husband, I think he’s amazing. He does so much to keep our day-to-day life humming along seamlessly. He’s amazing at staying on top of the bills and finances. The kids call him first when they need something done (for heaven’s sake, he literally pulled off the road the other day to make sure he could transfer funds into one’s account to reimburse the dental bill she’d just paid). He is healthy and fit. He loves to plan walking tours for us and fun outings. He’s smart and witty. He has character traits that make the Pope look like he’s lacking. I can’t imagine living without him! I’m sure I could do a better job to show my gratitude for all he does, but I try always to be thankful and to let him know how I appreciate him.
There are just some things that resonate for me–as is the case for many women–that don’t come naturally for him. Deep down there is this other girl, the princess who wants to be swept off her feet, a passionate lover, a kinky girl, his slut. I long for beautiful music when we make love. For candles, romance, a mood to be set. Lingering caresses, meaningful passion, grabs, holds, clutches that reassure me I am desired and enjoyed. Slow seduction. Surprises, daring thrills. I am a passionate, sensual woman who longs to have this part of me nurtured and fed, needs it, but sometimes I feel like I’m withering and dying.
Sometimes I fear it’s partly my fault. One huge mistake I own up to in the past is expecting him to read my mind. You think I’d learned my lesson. Yes, we’ve discussed this before, and yes, I think he understands this side to me. But he needs to be reminded, lovingly and gently, and I need to be able to communicate these feelings effectively while not tearing him down with my frustration. All he sees is that quiet, sad, sulky girl who is stuffing down that other girl.
I’m not easy, I am challenging. There are lots of other ladies who would change places with me in a heartbeat: a stable guy who is kind, respectful, smart and financially astute. The sex wouldn’t matter. I don’t know that I can say the same in reverse. Not sure many guys out there who’d want to take me on. But I know that SJ loves me, respects me, and enjoys being with me. I also know that he really likes the happier, bubblier, smiling, “scamp” me– and she comes out to play when her romantic heart is fulfilled by her knight.
Communication is always touted as the remedy for what ails a relationship– and it is true. But this is easier said than done. It’s hard to start a conversation like this, which essentially says, “I don’t feel loved” (when truthfully there is plentiful evidence I am well-loved). The first things that tend to fly through my frustrated brain is all the stuff that’s wrong. I have had to take a breath, step back, and consider all that is good.
And this is where we need to start our communication.