Category Archives: intimacy

Would You Marry Yourself?

About a week before Captain Laser Pants popped the question, I was talking to an old acquaintance of mine. After a years- long relationship, his ex had left him because it wasn’t moving forward. He compared all other women to her. At the time of this conversation, he told me he was “casually” dating between three and five women simultaneously and wondered why none of them took him seriously enough to have a real relationship with him. I guffawed and asked him if the situation had been reversed, how he would react. He sighed dramatically and commented on my wisdom (of course) before asking me about my relationship. I told him it was awesome, which was totally true, and he asked me how I was so happy. I told him, “To find the one, you have to be the one. I may not be ‘the one’ yet, but I’m sure working on it.” He told me that I was going to make CLP a very happy man. That was the last time I’ve spoken with him.

Maybe I was too harsh with him, but, let’s be honest- no one wants to settle down with a serial dater. Did he want to date the female version of himself? No way.

It’s a good litmus test, if you’re honest. Would you marry yourself? I sure as heck wouldn’t marry me. Want some reasons why? Here you go!

-I am really forgetful about important stuff (like paying bills or renewing my driver’s license) but have an acute memory for the utterly mundane (“there are four snaps on mini Gwinn’s romper!”)
-I am moody. There, I said it.
-Sometimes my very rational brain goes nuts and shuts down. Much like a robot’s hard drive.
-I’m not really affectionate, but I like to get a hug once in a while.
-I am super critical

I’m working on the critical attitude- being forgiving and emotionally generous will be paramount as my baby grows older. My moodiness is usually as a result of something incredibly petty, like forgetting trash day. Managing my emotions isn’t my partner’s responsibility, it’s my own. There are areas of “me” that I’m working on still (like my thighs). It’s pretty obvious that if I married myself, all the bills would be forgotten, but all clothes would be organized by color and style in each closet. Dinner may be made, but if me and myself are losing the house due to foreclosure, it doesn’t really matter. I need a partner, not a clone.

This is kind of a two- point blog. Not only do we need spouses who complement us, we need to first be the kind of “work in progress” person that “the one” will want to complete. I’m not saying you have to be perfect before you’re going to find your other half. But doing things like hip- checking your own selfishness, for instance, can make or break a good day in a marriage. Sometimes it amazes me with the blatant selfishness I see displayed in marriage, and honestly, it makes me pity the other spouse. It’s always a two way street (believe me I know), but if we laid down the weapons in a relationship and tried empathizing with the other, I can’t help but wonder how much more peacefully resolution can be found as a team, and not two opposing sides.

I asked CLP if he would marry himself, and he responded with, “I’m more likely to marry a Choco Taco”. He wouldn’t marry himself because he and I are two halves to a whole. Would I marry myself? No. But are there traits in my personality that make my marriage great? Absolutely. He and I both have plenty to work on as individuals, but because we empathize with one another and connect on a daily basis, we are so much better together than we are separate.

This is all over the place, really just a stream of consciousness blog. Maybe something more coherent will come up in the future!


Letters to Your Husband, Present and Future

Last week’s blog on baggage and intimacy (as seen here) received more feedback than anything else I’ve written on here to date. Emails, text messages, and Facebook messages came pouring into my inbox. So many of us are walking around with hurt, some with the help of a significant other, and some without. One message in particular spoke volumes. Without revealing too much, she told me she is waiting for the right man to be brought into her life. I don’t know about you all, but waiting is one of many things at which I am dismally horrible. After a marriage, a child and a divorce, I cannot begin to fathom the pain of waiting that she is experiencing. So, in a brief moment of wisdom and/or clarity, I suggested that she write letters to her future husband any time she was feeling lonely or that the wait was too hard.

This morning, as CLP had his arm draped over my waist and was snoring in my ear, I thought about how devastated I would be if we were separated. We truly are two halves to one whole. A light switch turned in my head and I appreciated the snore (really), the weight of his forearm on my stomach as he slept. There are so many tiny moments of our relationships that we take for granted with one another. When he leaves the leashes next to the front door after walking the dogs, I have to check my attitude on occasion- should I be upset about the minor inconvenience of three leashes on the floor, or should I be grateful that I have a husband who takes time from his morning to walk our dogs so they’re better behaved for me later in the day?

For our first anniversary gifts, we wrote letters to one another. As you can imagine, mine was long, detailed, filled with lots of commas. I poured my tired little heart out. His letter to me mentioned the fact that he tells me how much he loves me every day. While at first I was just a teensy bit sad that his letter wasn’t three pages long like mine was to him, it occurred to me that a) yes, he does tell me every day (what a lucky gal I am!) that he loves me, and b) men, no matter how cerebral and verbose, communicate differently than women. The letter is in my jewelry box, where some of my most precious, costly gifts sit.

Where am I going with this?

Write a letter to your spouse, whether or not you are currently married. If you’re writing a letter to your husband, break up the length (for his sake). Date it. Men need to know their wives respect them- tell him you do. They need to be desired- tell him you do. Does he wash your car or mow the lawn? He’s taking care of you, above and beyond the big stuff that matters. Tell him thank you. If you’re a dude, write a letter to your wife. Work to make it long (for her sake). Women need to know they are loved- tell her you do. Remind her that, of all the women in the world, you chose her. Does she make you dinner or go grocery shopping alone so you don’t have to endure the store? Thank her.

Letter writing is a lost art. If you’re stuck or you can’t find the words, copy someone else’s love letter. There are epic, legendary letters of men to women and women to men out there from some of the greatest minds ever to have lived and loved. Seek inspiration. Check our your spouse while they’re getting ready in the morning. Be inspired by the love they have given and have taken from you.

No Shakespeare? No problem.

Letter writing is not something you have to build up to doing. Working through emotional baggage, trust, respect and communication- all very important!- can be done while you’re honing your sonnet skills. A little note card with an “I love you. Let’s make out later.” written on it can be slipped into a work bag or taped to a mirror.

If you’re not married, let your spouse know you are waiting for your relationship with anticipation. When you feel lonely, writing it out to your partner is a good exercise in healing together before you’ve even begun. Let your future spouse know your triumphs, your failures, and your heart. Don’t be a stranger to the pages- someday the person who will know you best will be reading them.

Don’t be intimidated by a pen and paper. Your heart and your mind were some of the reasons the two of you fell in love in the first place.


My Bedroom is Not a Luggage Storage Closet

When Captain Laser Pants returned from his first business trip since our little duderino was born, he left his luggage in front of my closet for over a month. He tripped over it on his way to his bathroom at night, it partially blocked the mini- hallway from my closet to his, it collected dust, the dogs wrestled on it. It was totally and completely in the way. Finally, sometime in May (it had been sitting there since March), I cleaned it out and put it away in the closet where it belongs. Granted, it was only a carry on sized bag, but that one inconveniently placed piece of baggage interfered with our routine every day until I removed it. My bedroom is not for luggage storage!

Ok, this just kind of blew my mind- I in no way had any intention of starting this post about intimacy and baggage like this. Hello, epiphany, it’s nice to see you again.

Unless we lived under rocks until the day we were married, all of us are carrying around some kind of baggage from our past. Some of you have modest, backpack sized histories with neatly tied emotional packages that stow away perfectly in a shoe box in your hall closet. Others, like myself, have a cargo plane full of the baggage/ damage inflicted upon us and by us. Between the idiot ways I treated myself and the ways allowed myself to be treated by others, I am the epitome of the crazy bag lady.

Ahh, snap. That’s all my baggage. Talk about the checked baggage fees.

This stuff is about to get real, ya’ll. I have to confess some things.

Today I went to the doctor (whee) for my annual lady visit (TMI, yeah, yeah). We talked about the prospect of Team Gwinn adding another member, and I am seriously struggling with the idea of it. Pregnancy and postpartum ravaged my body. I am so, so fearful that round two will be worse than the first, and leave everything in even crappier shape than it is now.

Rewinding even further back- I’ve had someone tell me I was fat, then too skinny, crazy, hard to look at (especially without makeup, he said), and pretty much every other horrible thing you can think of to say or do to another human being. I tolerated it for four years and crawled out of the rubble that was my self esteem with little more than threads of sanity to claim for myself. Captain Laser Pants is literally a saint, it isn’t even fair to compare the two. My husband is gentle with his words, sincere, generously loving, witty and intelligent, thoughtful and discerning, immeasurably giving AND he’s freaking hot. This man would jump in front of a train to protect his family, and I can call him my own.

How unfair is it to him that I bring my baggage into our relationship?

My “for real” luggage is quite beautiful. And in no way can contain all my crazy.

I would consider myself an absolute authority on insecurity. Some people have swagger for days, I’ve got insecurity for months. What started out as a routine exam this morning turned into a cryfest on my way home. I felt betrayed by my body. When I stopped by to visit my husband at his office and pick up our son (he took our baby to work this morning so I could go to the doctor in peace- so thoughtful, right?!), I saw that his office has a new intern. She’s like 18, crazy thin, blah blah blah. After picking apart my own body at the doctor’s office, I see this girl (who literally has nothing to do with anything) and it makes me feel worse. In the parking lot my husband made out with me (sweet), got frisky and we said we’d see each other later, but I felt shame and insecurity hanging over me. With my perfect baby in the backseat, I boo- hooed on the way home. How ironic is it that I’m writing a blog on insecurity, baggage and intimacy when I suffer from these issues all the time?

Bringing all this baggage into my bedroom has made it very crowded. It is impossible to feel sexy and confident when my 75 year old boobs and my 14 year old face are mocking me. It’s hard to hear my husband’s sweet voice tell me he loves me and thinks I’m beautiful when words from years past still haunt my ears.

Let me tell you, reader, intimacy is a great (and I mean GREAT) remedy for insecurity, if you just put down your barriers to let it happen. There is nothing so soothing as the comfort of your spouse’s arms. There is nothing so peaceful as your partner telling/ showing you that they love you, warts (and baggage) and all. Your husband (and mine for that matter) doesn’t see the tiny imperfections you magnify. Your wife is significantly more forgiving with you than you think- you just have to let your spouse step up to the plate and prove this to you.

So, what is marriage supposed to look like, even though baggage is present? I heard a really awesome idea, and though it’s not my own, I’m going to share it with you. The act of marriage – what it looks like – is sex. Where you are vulnerable, naked, raw, honest and SAFE – that is marriage. I can remember being in high school and hearing the youth pastor condemn sex before marriage, but not really taking the time to explain why. As an adult (and you may not agree with my religious beliefs, and that’s ok) I understand that every time you give a piece of yourself away to someone that isn’t your husband or wife, you receive more baggage in return. The rejection and the abandonment that one experiences after a sexual relationship is over is deteriorating to the heart. You can’t reconcile that loss. You just end up moving on, bringing along another piece of luggage to the next relationship. In marriage we should be able to shed the past and be made new as one person in our union, but more often than not, we drag along the past rather than cutting the cords we use to tow it.

Don’t bring your baggage to your bedroom. Your spouse already knows it exists and will help you combat what needs to be defeated and will help you put away what belongs in a closet. It is easy to create a chasm between us and our partners when insecurities and baggage are standing between us. You vows included “better” and “worse”.  A friend of mine said that “emotional baggage is like wearing sunglasses” in that your perspective is impaired and colors are viewed in the wrong light. I am going to remember that when I start to skew my perception of my marriage and myself. Your partner doesn’t want to hurt you, and you owe it to your spouse to give them your trust.

Speaking of trust, once that light is on in your head, it’s easy to be intimate with someone you trust. It’s easy to be honest with your best friend when she’s never spilled the beans, right? Your spouse has earned your trust- reward that. Physical intimacy is a beautiful response to the hurt insecurity can leave. Even when I felt deflated after mini- Gwinn was born, and exhausted from the complete lack of sleep, the comfort of my husband was vital to my survival. We reconnected when I felt alone, I felt beautiful even when I could fold a Christmas present with my extra stomach skin (eww!), and I felt safe with him. It can be really difficult to find time and energy to reconnect physically after the birth of a baby (heck, it can be difficult period), especially when the mummy isn’t feeling yummy. I suggest (from personal experience) investing in some nice “in between sizes” lingerie that flows away from the body. A flowing sheer teddy is flattering and forgiving. Bring home chocolate and flowers for your wife- it’s cheesy, it’s easy, and it works. Be nice, give genuine compliments. Hug. Kiss. Kiss again. Intimacy isn’t just about taking things to the bedroom. It’s about displaying the act of marriage- where you are vulnerable, honest, open and safe- to one another regularly.

I’m going to close today by apologizing to my husband for imposing my insecurities on him and thanking him for being the rock in my life. You weather my storms, my ups and downs, you wrap your (big, manly) arms around me, you tell me you love me, and you give me unending grace that I don’t deserve. Thank you for seeing our marriage through the good and the bad and the crazy. I love you endlessly.

Coming soon: the chemical romance, and whatever else you guys tell me you want to see! Let’s see some comments on suggestions for this series. Thank you for reading!!