Sex and Marriage: Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage?
Sex and Marriage: Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage?
Recently my husband Angus and I did our Friday Vlog about sex. He was reticent to talk about our experience in this area, but I managed to convince him to do it since this is a subject that is challenging for many couples, especially couples in long-term relationships no matter what their sexual orientation. Sex often comes up as an issue for our clients even if it has nothing to do with the coaching they signed up for.
For us, it is an area of great learning. I can see now how the quality and richness of our sex life is a litmus test for the overall intimacy in our relationship. We started out with all of the fireworks, chemistry, and wild abandon of young lovers, but as we bumped up against challenges in our relationship, my sex drive was impacted. This was not a conscious power play on my part. I never purposely manipulated and withheld. In fact, I was quite perplexed by the impact of my resentment on my arousal. Then add having two children and me being diagnosed with endometriosis to the mix. It made it easy for me to rationalize reasons for not wanting to have sex, but the truth is there were a myriad of ways to connect sexually that would have been workable. I just wasn’t into it.
What I see now is that when I fell in love with Angus, I saw his essence. I had no judgments against him. I felt free to express my love and to connect deeply with him. Over time, I started to judge him as not good enough. I would find myself faulting him and thinking he didn’t measure up. I was not intentionally cataloging all of the ways I felt disappointed, but there was a scoreboard somewhere inside of me. Eventually, rather than bouncing back after disappointments, the resentment started to build up. It was subtle and happened over time. My perception of Angus became more and more distorted until eventually, rather than seeing him, my thick layer of judgment obscured him, and I could just make out a caricature of who he was.
This distortion was invisible to me, and I didn’t always see him in this way. There would be times when the mist would clear, and I would have clarity and connect back with the loving that was present. But these times got fewer and fewer, and since my distorted thinking was invisible to me, I thought I was seeing reality clearly. I did not understand I was seeing my thinking. Also, my self-image of being a kind, loving person, made me somewhat blind to my critical, shrew-like sentiments.
However, my sex-drive told me something different. It confounded me. As a good Scorpio, I had never had issues in this department. Even if I acknowledged my resentment, it made no sense to me that this should get in the way of sex. I was all for compartmentalization, but I could not do it. It was outside of my conscious control. Very annoying for my former (somewhat former) control-freak self.
So the classic solution presented itself. I found myself attracted to another man. This resulted in Angus and I separating briefly, but as is apparent, we were able to work things out. The time apart gave us the opportunity to let go of judgments we were both harboring against each other. This allowed us to see each other more clearly and to feel the love that genuinely exists. This was enough to reunite us and have us recommit to our marriage. Our relationship was infinitely superior to where we were previously, but there were still learning opportunities.
The next shift that occurred was completely unexpected. I thought things were good enough. I had no idea that I could experience even more trust and safety in our relationship. However, when I did, the by-product of this was our sexual connection came fully back on-line. What happened was, even though I loved Angus, I had resigned myself to taking his anger personally. I was still pretty blind to the impact of my contempt and criticism toward him, but these were less than before so it felt acceptable. Then one day, Angus lost his temper with me over something, and I did not take it personally. Instead of feeling hurt and destabilized, I saw that he was suffering.
This had never happened to me before. I had never been able to stay in my loving when he was expressing anger toward me. This experience changed me, and it changed our relationship. I saw fundamentally at that moment that I create my internal experience even when Angus is angry with me. I had not been able to see that before. I always felt like my feelings came from what he was doing. I may have intellectually known this was not true, but I had not experienced it to be false. I had consistently felt like a victim when he got mad. I did not see it was my own thoughts that I was falling victim too.
However, at that moment, with me standing in the kitchen and Angus firing away at me, I felt like Neo in the Matrix. The bullets were coming at me in slow motion and none of them were hitting me. I was resilient and impervious to his words.
This time was different because I had recently had an experience of dropping deep into a feeling of wellbeing that was profound and rich. This encounter with my true nature left me with ballast. After that occurrence, things that would normally knock me out of my wellbeing were like water off a duck’s back. My mood was more stable. I found myself giving people the benefit of the doubt. I slept better. I had less on my mind, and apparently, I had also let go of my thinking about being victimized by Angus’ anger. As a result, I could feel compassion for him instead.
With my internal grounding more firmly planted in wellbeing, I was then, and am now, better able to love and accept Angus as he is. This was the natural by-product of me loving and accepting myself more as I am. I no longer have the same need for things to look the way I think they should. I am better able to live with what is without being disappointed by it. I know my wellbeing is fully present even if I am not experiencing it so I am less compelled to look outside of myself toward people or circumstances to measure up so I can be okay. This resilience has impacted all areas of my life, but my relationship is one of the areas that I am most grateful for. Angus and I can be quite fiery at times. That is probably part of what attracted us to each other, and now I can enjoy that more because I suffer less from my feelings getting hurt.
It is a blessing to be loved as I am warts and all, but it is even more of a blessing for me to love another human exactly as they are with all their strengths and imperfections. It is a demonstration of the opening of my heart and my deeper connection with my true nature.
I highly recommend looking inside to find your wellbeing so your soul can be the ballast in your life as you navigate this human experience as the expression of love that you are.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org