After being away from the workplace for eight months, I had meetings and a lunch today.
I have been nervous about this day, which is weird. I worked at this school for quite a few years and made many friends. I have been excited to see them again, and I’ve found comfort in donning the identity of teacher again.
But . . .
The place is not the same. The people are not the same.
I am not the same.
I am in a familiar place with familiar people, but the me I am now is unsure how to navigate this world that I enjoyed for a good portion of my life.
Teaching on this campus had become second nature to me. I went through seasons that were easier and some that were a challenge. Still, when other areas of my life were tough, I could find comfort in the routine of my work.
After several years away, I wasn’t sure people would remember me. I didn’t remember how to do certain things. I was nervous. Yet I knew that once I got there, I would get into the groove.
Then I wondered if people would even remember me. Would I be treated like just another part-time faculty member, or would people recognize and be happy to see me?
So last night, I tried to pick out my clothes. (Just FYI: Staring at a closet for half an hour does not make a new wardrobe magically appear.) I finally figured out what to wear, but then I didn’t remember where my nice shoes were.
This morning, I woke up before my alarm, got dressed, put on makeup, and fussed with my hair. I gave myself a pep talk. I packed my school bag. I headed off to work.
I am teaching just one class this semester. I’m as part-time as a college instructor can be. My attendance was required at only one of the many meetings today.
Really, I went through an awful lot of fuss for something that lasted such a short time.
Yet sometimes, a small amount of time requires as much mental preparation as a huge chunk of time.
~ ~ ~
For some of us, sex can be the same way. Sex doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time. Back in the day when my husband felt sexually deprived all the time, it was about a fifteen-minute commitment.
But I would spend hours getting myself worked up over the event—or even over just the possibility of the event.
Will he want sex? Of course he will. He always wants sex.
He’s going to want me to wear something sexy. I don’t have anything sexy, and even if I did, I wouldn’t look sexy in it. But I guess I’d rather have something on than nothing, because that definitely wouldn’t look good. So maybe I’ll wear my black slip. He might like that. No, that’s in the laundry . . .
I just wish he could tell me he wants sex in a way that I feel loved and not like a piece of meat. He says he doesn’t want me for just sex, but he’s just saying that to get sex.
It’s been a while, and if I don’t do something the next day or so, we’re going to end up in a big fight. I’d just as soon get it over with tonight, and then I don’t have to deal with it for the next week. Chances are pretty good that he’s going to use his go-to phrase to ask, so I better steel myself to get past the sick feeling in my stomach when he says it. Otherwise, he’ll see the look on my face and get mad at that.
One of the kids hasn’t been feeling well. Maybe he’ll get sick enough that I can beg off sex because I have to have a good night’s sleep in case the kids pukes.
Ugh. Once we get started, it’s okay—so why do I hate it so much? And why is it that just when it starts to feel good, it’s over?
I hate sex and just want to get it over with.
I would spend an entire day—and sometimes an entire week—getting myself all worked up about something that would take only fifteen minutes of my time.
I was nervous. I fretted about what to wear. I knew that once I was in the zone, everything would be fine. It was just such a struggle to get my mind to the place where I was okay being sexual. The me I had become as a resulting of parenting and other life changes was different than it used to be. The new me didn’t remember how to navigate her sexuality.
I spent far more time fussing than I did actually doing the thing I was fussing about. Had I spent even half the amount of time I spent fussing on prayer, relaxing, and thinking positively about the comfort I could find in my husband’s arms instead, life would have been so much easier.
Our marriage bed would have been a source of comfort for both of us.
Instead, our marriage bed was a source of tension and anxiety for us.
After I began to make an effort to change intimacy, the fussing and fretting began to fade away. Thinking about what to wear became a fun mental exercise rather than a reluctant staring at the lingerie drawer worried that I had nothing I would look good in. I no longer needed to give myself pep talks just to have sex.
Finding comfort in my husband’s arms became something that felt natural rather than an occasional surprise.
~ ~ ~
I took a deep breath before opening the door to campus—the same kind of deep breath I used to have to take as I walked into the bedroom when I knew sex was going to be necessary. I walked through the hall and saw unfamiliar faces. I wondered if I was really up for this.
And then I suddenly was wrapped in a big hug–and then in another one.
Throughout the day, I proceeded to receive many hugs, countless smiles, and even a kiss on the cheek. I was welcomed. I was wanted. I was home.
Once I stopped fussing about sex so much, I received a lot of hugs, smiles, and kisses, too.
And my marriage bed—and marriage—felt like home.
Are you making a lot of fuss over sex? What would your life be like if you stopped fussing and began to work on your marriage?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Luke 12:25
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