Once in a while along comes a really thoughtful post out in blogland. For me it can be a springboard for a deep discussion with blog friends or even with Sam. Last month Meredith wrote such a post.
Her Question was,
"Who carries the responsibility in a ttwd marriage?"
Back years ago now, when I convinced Sam that ttwd was something I had always wanted, we both had a lot to learn. For a very long time, I would find a post or article that spoke to me and read it aloud to Sam. It gave us a place to begin to shape our own version of ttwd.
- What were our roles?
- How do we identify the components that will carry us to where we want to be?
- Do we have to be perfect for it to be succussful?
I don't read Sam very many posts anymore. He has a lot more confidence in himself now. He knows how he wants things between us and takes care of business when there are troubled waters.
But Mere's post really got me thinking, especially when she invited her readers to ask the same question of their husbands. When Sam and I sat relaxing together after he got home that night, I read her post aloud to him. It came at a good time for us. Due to my health problems recently, ttwd could easily have been something that got pushed to the side, to be picked up whenever we both felt things were "back to normal." Instead, it was the pillar and strength that held us up as we struggled with the disappointments of another ruined vacation and the reality of searching for a diagnosis with a new doctor and a myriad of tests.
Instead of dumping ttwd for the duration, Sam stepped up to be sure that I stayed focused on the positive and the belief that this would be resolved. No crying, no silence, no distancing, and no depression. He was kind and sweet and thoughtful, but he meant what he said. There were several very serious spankings over the bed, I can tell you. They were not fun events, although the hugs and kisses afterwards were wonderful. As we look forward now with a firm diagnosis from a wonderful doctor and the prescribed medications, things are looking much rosier for us both.
Our discussion that evening went on for close to 2 hours. Sam's response was different than Jack's, but just as quick. It took him about two seconds for him to launch into an answer.
"It's right in the title, for god's sake," he said.
"It is called This Thing We Do."
He talked about it being a joint proposition and a shared responsibility - like raising our kids. If it is not shared, then any blame for it not working would be on just one partner's shoulders.
He said, "We both screw up and we both adjust. It is my job to figure out what is needed, and sometimes that takes me a bit of time. I am much better now at recognizing when you are in a funk, Ella. Like sunny days and cloudy days, there are instances where I know giving you a longer leash, so to speak, is the right thing to do."
Sam went on, "I ask myself is this a hurricane or just a few clouds? If I know that it is a superficial blip that will be gone in the morning, I do not need to spank you. I need to hug you or make you laugh."
He said to me, "Ella, one thing about you is that everything is either black or white. There is never any gray area for you. Ha! Grey! Just like that book you like. Except, for you, it is 50 Shades of Funk!"
That one really made me laugh, but Sam was far from done.
He continued, "I think I am slow to anger, but there is always an element of anger when I take a correctional course."
Believe me, I nodded my agreement here.
"It is your job to listen and obey and to watch your temper. We are so lucky. If I was a religious man, I might say we should count our blessings. Nothing pisses me off more than when you look at the dark side of things. I watch so I can prevent small bumps in the road from becoming potholes."
He reminded me that most of our "weekend adjustments" need to address bossiness. If I lose track of my responsibility to let him be the boss, then it becomes his business.
Sam was almost ready to wrap up this discussion, and there was a lot of humor here at the end. He told me that he is not telepathic. He laughed as he referred to Spock on Star Trek.
"Not able to mind meld, El. You have to talk to me."
"I will never understand why self-image is so important to women. I know you need help with that, and I am just the guy to do it." He laughed again, "Ha! I don't know about other men, but as long as the old torpedo of love can get a hard-on, I am just fine."
Long before ttwd, I always appreciated our sex life, but there is simply no comparison to the intensity of the passion and the joy it brings us now.
Sam totally agreed with Jack about never giving up ttwd.
It is here to stay.
For better and worse,
For richer or poorer,
In sickness and in health,
Until death do us part,
This Thing We Do.