This past August, I stood in front of you guys pretty damn naked. I shared some pretty difficult things about my marriage and the status of my sex life at the time. Pressing the “post” button on that piece was damn scary. People are always surprised when I tell them I’m scared to post something which makes me laugh. Y’all, just because I’m willing to be open and honest about intimate things doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to do! It’s not. It’s really hard and really scary, actually. But I do it because of this:
That August post produced a chorus of “me too’s!” that I never could’ve imagined. Out of the woodwork you came, one lonely mama after another, down the hill from the fort where we stand watch over our lives and pretend that everything’s ok. Y’all came down to me, one by one and said “I feel lonely too.” You said “I’m tired of sex feeling obligatory too.” You said “I haven’t been honest with him and I need to be too.”
Wow, you guys. Wow. Is there anything more powerful than a group of women who support each other? Is there anything more inspiring than a sisterhood where we come down the hill from our protective bunkers and say “me too”? Not as far as I know.
So in follow-up to that raw post and in fairness to all the hill runners who have asked, “So what happened after? How are you and Lumberjack now?”, here’s an update.
That post was a turning point for me and my marriage. It marked the end of a slow decline and left room for a new beginning. Why all my beginnings have to start on the proverbial and literal bathroom floor of my pain I don’t know but apparently I need to hit rock bottom to start anew. Since then, we’ve done lots of talking but mostly lots of listening. By doing that and by being as honest and truthful as possible, I’ve learned some pretty amazing things:
I learned love is actually a verb. And that the feelings of love are actually a by-product of the verb. Love is a verb first and a feeling second. I wasn’t verbing so I wasn’t feeling. Interesting…
I learned I was using sex as a band-aid for all my marital issues. That if we were ok in bed then we would be good enough everywhere else. Bad idea.
I learned by taking sex off the table, I was able to be more relaxed about spending time together. I didn’t feel pressure to pretend or perform. All I had to do was share, listen and be present. It turns out good things happen when you aren’t feeling like sex is a “should” or a “have to” at the end of a dinner or a cuddle session.
And I learned I need to keep my marriage a little bit more private. While the “me too’s” I received were a warm blanket in a cold night, I also received some rather ugly pushback. While painful to hear, I understand from the outside it might’ve looked like I was preaching one thing and yet doing another. And even though that wasn’t the case, I learned when you invite the world into your marriage, you invite both the good AND the bad comments. And right now, as Lumberjack and I move forward and work on our relationship, our marriage doesn’t need any outside commentary. I’ll still tell you what I’m doing in bed (or not doing!) and share my date nights and lots of other things. But I know you’ll understand if Lumberjack takes an even more backseat role in this crazy story than he did before.
Thank you, Flirty Girls, for understanding and, mostly, for coming down the hill for me. I promise to always run down for you, shouting “ME TOO!” as loud as my lungs will let me. Me too.