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I came across a self-improvement TED talk video, because… well…
I seem to be
addicted to mesmerized by this “you can be a better you” mantra.
As I hover over the “play” button, the irony hits me that the time it would take me to watch the video would be better spent on doing something to actually improve myself.
I watch the video anyway.
Because. Well. It’s like when someone says a surface is hot and you have to touch it just to make sure for yourself.
Midway through the TED talk, I waffle between two rhetorical questions:
“Do I truly want self improvement?”
“Or do I just like the idea of self improvement?”
Some days I think it is the latter. Just keeping it real.
Anyway, the self-improvement guru says, “How we do anything is how we do everything.”
I think about that.
Wonder if it’s true.
I go get some Oreos while I think it over.
“How we do anything is how we do everything.”
I’m skeptical. But need back up. So I text a friend and ask her if she thinks there’s truth ringing in that statement. She politely says it is BS and proceeds to give me a good example of someone she knows who is a phenomenal and detail-oriented baker, but not so conscientious about housework and paperwork.
Case closed. She confirmed what I think my soul already suspected. How we do anything is not how we do everything.
But the statement lingers with me a bit because it compels me to think about our capacity to be intentional about some things while disregarding detail to other things.
What in the world does this have to do with sex in marriage?
A lot actually.
Contrary to what most readers likely think about my husband and me, our sexual intimacy is not always roses and easy sailing and any other cliche that you can think of that paints a picture (sorry, another cliche) that we never face sexual struggles.
We do. We have. We still do at times. What with this thing called aging. And life. Relational stuff. Energy-sucking
spawn children. Empty milk jugs. For-the-love-of-God-can-someone-besides-me-see-the-dog-has-no-food.
And at other times we aren’t so drained. Our lovemaking is phenomenal. You know, along the lines of “I think we woke the kids, but who cares!” variety.
“How we do anything is how we do everything.” Not so, in my opinion, but there is some residual wisdom hidden in that statement.
It suggests that there are things we are intentional about. It nudges us toward the undeniable reality that we make choices about what matters to us. And what doesn’t.
When there is distance between my husband and I (sexual or otherwise), we feel it. We know. We aren’t always on the same page about how to overcome that distance, but we both recognize it nonetheless. It becomes apparent in our behaviors (particularly non-verbally).
And it becomes almost impossible for us to extend each other grace.
There are no shortcuts to authentic intimacy. When we are off track, we have to be intentional about getting back on track. And that’s hard at times. I get it. I know. Not unlike how if someone is not so conscientious about paperwork or housework, it’s going to take a bit of effort to get all that back on track.
How we do anything is not how we do everything (in marriage and otherwise). But in marriage, at least if we want a somewhat healthy relationship, we can’t ignore the struggle. And we can’t just lean into the things that come easily or that we like.
We have to acknowledge that the two people who fell in love are never going to be the same people who have to figure out how to stay in love.
I am constantly changing. So is my husband. And life is more than gracious to serve up curve balls and obstacles and valleys that you couldn’t have seen coming even if you wanted to have a heads up (which, trust me, you didn’t).
Since writing about sex is my wheelhouse (and why you came across this blog in the first place), then let me bring it back to that point.
What will it take for you to improve sex in your marriage? If that is an area struggle, then you understand that how you do anything is not how you do everything. You and your spouse possibly work well together raising the kids and balancing the finances. Life is manageable and keeps humming along.
But there’s room for growth in the area of intimacy. You know it. He knows it.
So maybe 2017 is your year to intentionally take some steps toward improving it, whatever that means for your situation. Maybe you have to resolve and heal from long-ago hurts. Maybe there are physical issues to address. Maybe you have to make lifestyle changes so you have more energy and time to make love.
How we do anything is not how we do everything. The sooner we recognize that, the more ready are hearts become to do something about the things that we aren’t doing as well as we could be doing.
There are countless Christian resource on the topic of sex. Why not pick one up today, whether it be my book, Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage (shamelss promotion, I know) or one of the several other resources out there.
It is unlikely you’ll regret trying something, because at least you will have tried to improve intimacy in your marriage. But if you try nothing? Yeah, that is going to carry more regret for sure.
How we do anything is not how we do everything. Some things come easily. And other things we have to work at.
Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.