A marriage is made up of so much more than sexual encounters.
Earlier this evening, my husband and I had one of those completely non-sexual lying-in-the-bed-in-our-underwear conversations. We talked about his best friend’s sister’s strange boyfriend, the service at the new restaurant we tried for dinner, the fact that he left his lunch box at work, the recent slow-down in our sex life and his concern that something medical is wrong with him beyond what we’re already aware of, some student drama I’ve been dealing with at work, my worry that the slightly embarrassing sex toy that was supposed to be delivered in yesterday’s mail had gotten delivered to a neighbor instead, the load of laundry with the jeans he needs for work tomorrow, . . .
We talked about everything and nothing. We shared facts and feelings. We both knew that we were heard and that we mattered to the other. We simply shared ourselves with each other in small ways as we took a break from changing clothes.
It struck me how intimate that time was, even without sex. There is no one else in the world I ever talk to while wearing only my underwear. (Honestly, I won’t even talk with someone else on the phone if I’m not dressed.) I felt connected in a way I’ve been needing for a while; we were fully present with only each other. It was just my husband and me together in a place we share with no one else, having a conversation that we could have only with each other, wearing something only we see each other in.
For so many years, this time together wouldn’t have happened. I would never have worn just my underwear around my husband for fear that it might make him want sex. I probably wouldn’t have even had much of a conversation in bed for the same reason.
All the walls I used to keep up between us—including clothes—kept us from so many of these unplanned non-sexual interactions that accumulate over time to build intimacy. All those years I craved the kind of emotional connection we had this evening—the very connection that I insisted was necessary before I could bring myself to engage in sex with my husband. By finally knocking down those walls, I ended up able to have what I wanted all along.